A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison must have abilities and skills in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual and behavioral/social. 

Observation

Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting and the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills adequate to perform a physical examination are required. Functional vision, hearing and tactile sensation must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination, such as inspection, auscultation and palpation.

Communication

Candidates must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and health care settings. Candidates must show evidence of effective written and oral communication skills.

Motor

The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures (e.g., palpation, auscultation) is required. Candidates must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide care to patients. Candidates must be able to negotiate patient care environments and must be able to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom and hospital.

Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing or moving are required in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.

Intellectual

Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the physician assistant degree, candidates must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and social attributes

Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team is essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills and concern for others are all required.