A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have the following abilities and skills stipulated by the faculty, Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), and the State of Mississippi for admission to and in continuance in the Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program. These standards have been developed as evaluative criteria for admission and continuance in the Physician Assistant Program, and are subject to continuing revision and improvement.
Candidates should be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English. Communications include the ability to speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently and observe patients accurately in order to formulate an appropriate assessment of mood and general appearance to assimilate the components of non-verbal communication. They must possess the ability to read at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements, comprehend technical materials, medical and/or laboratory reports, medical texts and journals in English to define complex problems and prepared solutions. They also must possess the capability of completing appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to the protocol in a thorough and timely manner.
Sensory, Motor, Coordination, and Function
Candidates are required to possess abilities dependent to the practice of medicine and provision of healthcare including motor skills to perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and observation. Such actions requiring coordination of gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision include but are not limited to airway management, visualization techniques of ophthalmic and otoscopic examinations, catheter placement, application of adequate pressure for bleeding control and auscultation of heart and lung sounds. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their proficiencies in these tasks.
Intellectual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities
The abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem-solving, a vitial skill of a Physician Assistant, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates must be able to independently access and interpret medical histories or files; identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnosis, prescribed medications, and therapy; and recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnosis and therapeutic planning is essential. Students must be able to identify and communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate. In addition, the candidate must be able to perform assigned duties in the appropriate time frame.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates must possess the emotional health for full utilization of their intellectual capacity, to exercise good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities, attend to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. It is required of the candidate to possess emotional stability to withstand stress, uncertainties, and changing circumstances that characterize the dependent practice of medicine. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the didactic year and during clinical training. The students must be able to use supervision appropriately and act independently when indicated. Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational process. They also must have the interpersonal skills to cooperate and interact at all levels with faculty, health care professionals, preceptors, students, staff, the public, employees, and patients.
In the first phase of the Program, all PA students are required to attend all classes and educational sessions, master physical examination skills, complete all surgery laboratory exercises, attend assigned patient interactions and complete BLS and ACLS. In the clinical phase, students must successfully complete all assigned rotations which may include extended hours of instruction, evenings, nights and weekends. Students must be able to transport themselves to all training sites. It is the responsibility of each applicant to affirm that they meet these technical standards upon entrance to the Physician Assistant Program. During enrollment, the Program’s Progress/Promotions Committee will monitor students for continuing compliance with technical standards. The faculty of the Physician Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for Program completion who have the knowledge and skills to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and to render a broad spectrum of patient care.
In addition to the above technical standards, the applicant must meet required health screening and immunization requirements to participate in supervised clinical experiences at participating hospitals and clinics.