Alderson-Broaddus College Physician Assistant Studies Program students are expected to perform and be competent in many functions and tasks necessary for entry-level employment as a PA. In a professional role, the physician assistant can provide medical services with the supervision of a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy in accordance with the laws of medical practice. The services must, for the safety and welfare of the patient, be of the same professional quality that would be rendered by the supervising physician. The physician assistant must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.

Candidates for the physician assistant profession must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. Candidates’ diagnostic skills will also be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell and taste. Additionally, they must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain and temperature), and significant motor function to permit them to carry out the activities described in the sections that follow. They must be able to integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, consistently, quickly and accurately, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data.

A candidate for the physician assistant profession must have abilities and skills including observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative and quantitative, and behavioral and social.

Technical Standards

Students of the Physician Assistant Studies Program must have and maintain abilities and skills as follows:


Students must have and maintain sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, laboratory, outpatient setting, and at the patient’s bedside. Sensory and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation.


Students must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and healthcare settings. They must show evidence of effective writing and oral communication skills.


Students must be able to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g., palpation, auscultation). Students must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide care to patients. Students must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. The physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical instruction is required in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.


Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships of structures. Students must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the Physician Assistant Studies Program, students must be able to demonstrate the mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in problem solving and patient care.


Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team is essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainty in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation and interpersonal skills, and concern for others are required.

Reasonable accommodation for persons with documented disabilities will be considered on an individual basis, but students must be able to perform in an independent manner.

Failure to maintain any of these technical standards will cause review by the Program’s Student Progress Committee. The Committee will make recommendations as to the student’s continued enrollment in the program.