Technical standards

A variety of skills and abilities are required to function as a medical provider. Students must be able to meet these standards to be admitted to, continue in, and graduate from the SIU School of Medicine Physician Assistant (PA) Program.The student must be able to complete tasks in all areas below in a reasonable amount of time.

A candidate for the PA Profession must have the following abilities and skills: observation, communication, motor, intellectural-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative and behavioral social attributes. Technological compensation can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but candidates should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

The essential technical standards for the SIU School PA Program are as follows:


Successful candidates for the Program must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. Candidates’ diagnostic skills  will be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell, etc. Additionally, candidates must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, temperature), sufficient proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, vibratory) and sufficient motor function to permit them to carry out the activities described below. Candidates must be able to integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, consistently, quickly, and accurately, and must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data in a reasonable amount of time.


Candidates must be able to observe and participate in experiments in the basic sciences (for example, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues).

In order to make proper clinical decision, candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately. Candidates must be able to acquire information from written documents, films, slides or videos. Candidates must also be able to interpret X-ray and other graphic images, as well as digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena, such as EKG’s, with or without the use of assistive devices. Thus, functional use of vision is necessary.


Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Candidates must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the health care team. In emergency situation, candidates must be able to understand and convey information essential for the safe and effective care of patients in a clear, unambiguous, and rapid fashion.  In addition, candidates must have the ability to relate information to, and receive information from, patients in a caring and confidential manner.


Candidates must possess the motor skills necessary to perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers.  Candidates must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency medical care such as airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and application of pressure to control bleeding. These skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and integrated use of the senses of touch and vision.


In order to effectively solve clinical problems, candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate, and synthesize in a timely fashion. In addition, they must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. As the profession demands strong cognitive skills, students must be able to complete tasks in a reasonable amount of time.


Candidates must possess the emotional health required for the full utilization of their intellectual abilities, for the exercise of good judgment, for the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and for the development of effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stress inherent in the management of the clinical problems of patients. They must be able to function effectively in small groups to work through problem-based learning activities.