A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills inclusive of yet not limited to the following major categories:
Strength and Mobility;
Intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities; as well as
Behavior and social attributes
Technological compensation can be made in some of these areas, but a candidate must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.
Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises held throughout the program. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.
Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear and observe in order to elicit information, examine patients, and perceive nonverbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.
Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of PAs are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, and the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, and the suturing of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of senses of touch and vision.
Since Physician Assistant candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills; it would be necessary to thoroughly evaluate for candidacy individuals who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This would include individuals with significant previous burns, sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation and many malformations of the upper extremities.
Strength and Mobility
Performing as a Physician Assistant student often requires upright posture along with sufficient upper and lower extremity and body strength. Such strength. Such strength and mobility are needed to assist in surgery, emergency situations and activities associated with daily practice as a PA.
Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion and tissue texture changes, it is necessary for candidates and students to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration.
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of Physician Assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and student should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the relationships of structures.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates and students must possesses the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and student must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the fact of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and education processes.
The Howard University Physician Assistant Program is demanding, yet yields exceptional professional rewards and opportunities.