Technical Standards

PAs must have the knowledge and skills to practice in a variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of care based on patient needs. In addition to academic achievements, exam results, and faculty recommendations, PA students must possess the physical, emotional, and behavioral capabilities requisite for the practice of medicine as a PA. To successfully complete the PA program, students must demonstrate proficiency in academic and clinical activities with regard to the competencies described below.


Candidates and PA students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the classroom, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and at the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. These skills require the use of vision, hearing, and touch, or the functional equivalent. All of these senses must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to accurately elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation.


Candidates and PA students must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and others in both academic and healthcare settings.
  • Communicate effectively and clearly in English with faculty and staff, patients, and all members of the health care team and record information accurately and clearly.
  • Demonstrate reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements, provide clinical care for patients, and complete appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner.
  • Perceive and describe changes in mood, posture, and activity, and interpret non-verbal communication signs.

Motor Coordination and Function

Candidates and PA students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures; and execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care and emergency care to patients, including but not limited to:

  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • administration of intravenous medication
  • application of pressure to stop hemorrhage
  • opening of obstructed airways
  • suturing of simple wounds
  • performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers
  • negotiating patient-care environments and mobility between settings, such as clinics, classrooms, laboratories, and hospital

These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine-motor neuromuscular function, and balance and equilibrium.

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of PAs, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and PA students must be able to:

  • interpret dimensional relationships, and understand the spatial relationships of anatomical structures
  • search, read, and interpret medical literature

The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. To complete the PA Program, candidates must be able to demonstrate proficiency in these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, and motivation are all personal qualities important to providing compassionate and quality patient care.

Candidates and PA students must:

  • Demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for the full use of their intellectual abilities.
  • Accept responsibility for learning, exercising good judgment, and promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
  • Demonstrate non-discriminatory, respectful behavior toward all persons regardless of cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within both the law and ethical standards of the medical profession.
  • Interact with patients, their families, and health care personnel in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner.
  • Tolerate physically taxing workloads and long work hours, to function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments.
  • Contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes.

It is our experience that a number of individuals with disabilities, as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, are qualified to study and work as health care professionals and scientists with the use of reasonable accommodations. To be qualified for health-sciences programs at MBKU those individuals must be able to meet both our academic standards and the technical standards, with reasonable accommodations if necessary.

For further information regarding services and resources for students with disabilities and/or to request accommodations, please contact MBKU Enrollment and Student Services (714-449-7444).