Program Policies

TECHNICAL STANDARDS

Physician Assistant (PA) Technical Standards:

The physician assistant must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.  They must be able to integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, consistently, quickly, and accurately, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.

Candidates for physician assistant certification offered by the Physician Assistant Studies Department at Augsburg College must have, with or without reasonable accommodation, multiple abilities and skills including: perception/observation, communication, motor/tactile function, cognition and professionalism.

Candidates for admission and progression must be able to perform these abilities and skills in a reasonably independent manner.

Perception/observation

Students must be able to perceive, by the use of senses and mental abilities, the presentation of information through:

  • Small group discussions and presentations
  • Large-group lectures
  • One-on-one interactions,
  • Demonstrations (physical exam maneuvers)
  • Laboratory experiments (cadaver dissection)
  • Patient encounters (at a distance and close at hand)
  • Diagnostic findings (EKGs, laboratory results, x-rays and ultrasound)
  • Procedures (suturing, casting/splinting, IV access))
  • Written material (powerpoints, textbooks, and readings)
  • Audiovisual material (slides, medical videos)

Communication

Students must be able to skillfully communicate (in English) verbally and in written form with faculty members, other members of the healthcare team, patients, families, and other students, in order to:

  • Elicit information
  • Convey information
  • Clarify information
  • Create rapport
  • Develop therapeutic relationships
  • Demonstrate competencies

Motor/tactile function

Students must have sufficient motor function and tactile ability to meet the competencies required for graduation and to:

  • Attend (and participate in) classes, groups, and activities which are part of the curriculum
  • Communicate in a written format
  • Examine patients (including observation, auscultation, palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers)
  • Do basic laboratory procedures and tests
  • Perform diagnostic procedures
  • Provide general and emergency patient care (airway management, placement of intravenous catheters, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and application of pressure to control bleeding)
  • Function in outpatient, inpatient, and surgical venues (standing and actively assisting the surgical team)
  • Perform in a reasonably independent and competent way in sometimes stressful clinical environments

Cognition

Students must be able to demonstrate higher-level cognitive abilities, which include:

  • Rational thought
  • Measurement
  • Calculation
  • Visual-spatial comprehension
  • Conceptualization
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Organization
  • Representation (oral, written, diagrammatic, three dimensional)
  • Memory
  • Application
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Sound judgment

Professionalism

Students 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 inherent in the clinical problems of patients. In summary, PA students must be able to:

  • Consistently display integrity, honesty, empathy, caring, fairness, respect for self and others, diligence, and dedication
  • Promptly complete all assignments and responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients
  • Develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships, not only with patients but with all members of the Augsburg community and healthcare teams
  • Tolerate physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding workloads
  • Function effectively under stress, and proactively make use of available resources to help maintain both physical and mental health
  • Take responsibility for themselves and their behaviors

DOCUMENTATION OF A DISABILITY

The Augsburg College Department of Physician Assistant Studies is pledged to the admission and matriculation of qualified students and wishes to acknowledge awareness of laws which prohibit discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.

Regarding disabled individuals, the Physician Assistant Studies department will not discriminate against such individuals who are otherwise qualified but will expect all applicants and students to meet certain minimal technical standards.

All Augsburg students have been accepted by the college based on their ability to succeed academically and are required to meet the same academic and technical standards. Disability Resources (CLASS Office) provides academic support and accommodations to students with disabilities or temporary conditions. Accessing accommodations is an ongoing and interactive process where information can be gathered from the student and from other relevant sources. We ask that students interview with a Disability Specialist to discuss their requests. We prefer students to present any documentation that describes their disability and the impact on educational experiences and in the educational environment early in the process. Each student’s requests will be evaluated on an individual basis.

The purpose of documentation is to assist in providing information and understanding about how the courses or facilities might present barriers and to what degree the disability affects the student, and to plan for accommodations to facilitate access.

Some Examples of Disabilities

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Psychiatric Disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Physical Disabilities and Systemic Illnesses
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Blindness/Low Vision
  • Disabilities that are sporadic or degenerative in nature
  • Temporary conditions

The first step in accessing services is to call CLASS to schedule an appointment with a Disability Specialist, (612) 330-1053.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING POLICY

The Augsburg College Department of Physician Assistant Studies does not award academic credit to an individual for experiential learning. Applicants desiring admission to Augsburg College’s PA Program must satisfactorily complete all prerequisite courses. Experiential learning will be considered separately from prerequisite courses. Experiential learning prior to and during admittance to the Augsburg PA Program will not substitute for any part of the clinical year or preceptorship.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT

The Augsburg College Department of Physician Assistant Studies does not offer advanced placement to admitted students. All students admitted to the Physician Assistant program must complete the entire curriculum.

EMPLOYMENT WHILE IN THE PROGRAM

Program faculty discourage outside employment while in the Augsburg College Physician Assistant Program. Faculty do recognize that employment may be an issue that some students will face. Given this recognition, realize that program obligations will not be altered due to a student’s work obligations. It is further expected that work obligations will not interfere with the PA students’ learning progress or responsibilities while in the program.

STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE

All PA students are encouraged to obtain and maintain their own health insurance coverage throughout their enrollment in the Augsburg College Department of Physician Assistant Studies. PA students may be required to provide proof of health insurance upon request by individual clinical sites. Augsburg College does not offer a student health insurance plan, however, information regarding carriers who offer student rates can be found at the Center for Wellness and Counseling. All costs related to personal health care are the responsibility of the student.

WITHDRAWAL AND READMISSION POLICIES

Withdrawal

Voluntary withdrawal from the Augsburg College Physician Assistant Program may be initiated by a student after submission of a letter to the Program Director requesting withdrawal. In the letter, the student should outline the circumstances and reasons for withdrawal. Students will be requested to conduct an exit interview with the Program Director prior to leaving the program. All students are further advised to follow the college catalog procedure for withdrawal from the College.

Readmission

Students may request readmission after voluntary withdrawal by submitting a letter to the Program Director stating the reasons the student wishes readmission and the anticipated date for readmission. The submission of a letter and previous enrollment does not constitute automatic acceptance and/or reentry into the program. Reapplication to the PA Program after dismissal from the program will be considered only under extremely unusual circumstances. Students who submit letters will be reviewed by the program faculty. Any student requesting readmission will be considered a new applicant to the program and will be required to complete the program application process as a new applicant, and may be required to repeat course work.

Reapplication does not guarantee readmission to the Augsburg College Physician Assistant Program. After careful review of the students’ previous academic record and the request for readmission, a decision will be made. Students may be required to repeat selected course work or meet new requirements of the Physician Assistant Program that became effective after the student’s withdrawal. A decision will also be rendered as to what program course work will be considered for credit as completed.