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Technical and Health Standards for the PA Program

Technical Standards

The Ohio University Division of Physician Assistant Practice has developed technical standards that all candidates must meet prior to admission to the OHIO PA Program.

A candidate for the OHIO PA program must have abilities and skills in five areas:

  1. Observation
  2. Communication
  3. Motor and sensory
  4. Intellectual-conceptual
  5. Behavioral and social

In addition, candidates must be able to comply with patient safety measures. Technological compensation can be made for certain disabilities; however, a candidate is expected to perform the following abilities and skills in a reasonably independent manner.

Abilities and Skills


The candidate must be able to observe lab activities that may include, but are not limited to, microbiological cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and pathological tissues, and imaging. Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately. Observation requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensations such as touch, pressure and temperature, augmented by the functional use of smell.


A candidate must be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, document changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. Communication includes speaking, reading and writing. Effective communication shall occur with patients, patients' families and all members of the health care team.

Motor and Sensory

Candidates must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. Candidates shall perform basic laboratory tests and carry out diagnostic and treatment procedures including, but not limited to, urinalysis, CBC, Pap smears, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medications, intubation, and wound closure techniques. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine motor skills, equilibrium, and functional use of touch and vision.


Candidates must possess conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities that are required to analyze and synthesize patient information. Problem-solving, critical thinking and spatial ability are demanded of physician assistants.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Candidates must possess the mental health necessary for full integration of intellectual abilities, sound judgment, responsibility, and the development of mature and sensitive relationships with patients. Candidates must tolerate physically taxing workloads and function well under stress. The ability to adapt to change while maintaining compassion, empathy and integrity are qualities that will be assessed throughout academic and clinical training.

Ohio University is committed to making its OHIO PA program accessible to people with disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, the student must document the need and make a request through the college's Office of Student Accessibility Services. The request should be submitted at least one semester before the accommodations are needed. Reasonable accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain technical areas. With reasonable accommodation, a student still must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner, the essential functions and tasks required in the five ability and skill areas.

Patient Safety Measures


The Ohio University Division of Physician Assistant Practice has developed health standards that are established for the student's protection as well as that of patients. All candidates must meet these health standards upon admission and prior to clinical placement.

Tuberculosis (TB)1Option 1: If a TB skin test has been administered within the past 12 months, a one-step (i.e., single TB skin test) is acceptable.
Option 2: If a TB skin test has NOT been administered within the past 12 months, a two-step (i.e., two skin tests) is required.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)Option 1: Written documentation of vaccination with two doses of live measles or MMR vaccine administered at least 28 days apart.
Option 2: Evidence of a positive Serum Anti-Body Titer within the past 12 months is acceptable.
Td (Tetanus/Diphtheria)One vaccination within the past 10 years is required.
HepB (Hepatitis B)Three doses of HepB along with Titer. Titer, confirming immunity, must be within the past 12 months. Series and Titer must be completed prior to patient contact.
VaricellaIf positive personal history of disease cannot be obtained from physician, documentation of two vaccines or a positive Titer are required.
Annual FluEach student must provide documented proof of an annual flu shot. If there is a medical reason that contraindicates a flu vaccination, a medical waiver signed by the PA student's family physician must be provided.

1 A chest X-ray is required if a position skin reaction is detected.

Criminal Background Check and Toxicology Screen

Ohio law mandates criminal records checks for all prospective employees in positions where the individual will be caring for older adults or children. Additionally, a mandatory criminal record check and toxicology screening for all clinical students are standard criteria in affiliation agreements with clinical training sites. Therefore, all students are required to obtain a criminal background check and toxicology screening prior to each academic year.