School of Health Professions

Technical Standards for PA Program


Technical Standards for Admission and Graduation


It is the policy of Baylor College of Medicine that no person shall be denied admission to the school, or awarded a degree from the school on the basis of any disability, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provided that the person demonstrates ability to meet the minimum standards set forth herein. Baylor College of Medicine will reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities, provided that the standards required by the school of all graduates and the integrity of the school’s curriculum are upheld. Mastery of essential skills is required of all students.

These standards are developed as criteria to achieve the Doctor of Nursing Practice or Master of Science degree in preparation for practice as a Nurse Anesthetist or Physician Assistant. The faculty is equally cognizant of its responsibilities to patients who will be a part of the educational process and to future patients who will entrust their welfare and lives to graduates of our school. The safety of the patient, on whom the medical education process is largely focused, has been given a primary consideration in developing these standards. Therefore, the faculty must carefully consider the personal and emotional characteristics, motivation, industry, maturity, resourcefulness, and personal health of the aspiring health care professional.


Abilities and Skills Requisite for Nurse Anesthesia or Physician Assistant Program Completion


A candidate for the Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies or the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Nurse Anesthesia must have abilities and skills in six essential areas: observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative, behavioral and social, and ethical.

Technological compensation can be made for disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate must be able to perform certain basic functions in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary to observe or interpret information or to perform procedures is deemed to compromise the essential function of the health care professional and may jeopardize the safety of the patient.

The six areas of abilities/skills are detailed as follows:

1. Observation

The candidate must be able to:

  • Observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences
  • Observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand
  • Discriminate variations in human responses to disease using visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory cues 
  • Discriminate changes in monitoring devices and alarms using visual and auditory senses

2. Communication

The candidate must be able to:

  • Communicate clearly, effectively, and sensitively in English through oral, electronic, and written methods in order to communicate with other health care providers and patients of all ages in a timely manner
  • Speak, receive information in oral form, and observe patients in order to elicit information, to describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive non-verbal communications

3. Motor

The candidate must be able to:

  • Elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers
  • Execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of general care and emergency treatment reasonably required of Nurse Anesthetists and/or Physician Assistants include, but are not limited to, positioning patients, physical examination maneuvers, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, airway management, vascular access, medication administration, catheter insertions, suturing, application of pressure to stop bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc.
  • Coordinate gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision

4. Intellectual-Conceptual Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

The candidate must be able to:

  • Use reason, analysis, measurements, calculations, problem-solving, critical thinking, synthesis, self-evaluation and other learning skills to acquire knowledge, comprehend and synthesize complex concepts
  • Independently access and interpret medical histories or files
  • Identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data 
  • Provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications, therapies, and devices
  • Interpret information derived from auditory, visual, written, and other visual data to determine appropriate patient management plans
  • Recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner
  • Incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans h. identify and communicate knowledge to others when indicated
  • Identify and communicate knowledge to others when indicated

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes

The candidate must possess the emotional health required:

  • For full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities
  • For the exercise of good judgment
  • For the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients
  • For the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients
  • To tolerate physically taxing workloads
  • To function effectively under stress
  • To adapt to changing environments
  • To function flexibly and effectively in stressful and rapidly changing situations
  • To learn to function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities inherent in the clinical problems of many patients
  • To employ compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation
  • To accept criticism and respond by appropriate behavior modification
  • To use supervision appropriately, and act independently when indicated
  • To demonstrate personal and professional self-control as well as tactfulness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, integrity, empathy, and respect

6. Ethical Standards

  • The candidate must demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior, and must perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, and patients.

Certain disabilities can be accommodated without sacrificing the standards required by the school or compromising the integrity of the curriculum. The school is committed to the development of competitive and qualified candidates with disabilities. At the same time, the school recognizes the essential need to preserve the standards and integrity of the curriculum requisite for competent and effective practice as a Nurse Anesthetist or Physician Assistant. Questions about any additional program-specific technical requirements should be addressed to the respective program director. Since the treatment of patients is an essential part of the educational program, the health and safety of those patients must be protected as a first priority.


Student Disability Services


Baylor College of Medicine is committed to providing equal educational access for qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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