The American Academy of Physician Assistants describes physician assistants as "health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision." Within this relationship, "physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services." Their role includes "primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings in rural and urban areas."
In order for PAs to effectively care for patients and work in a variety of healthcare delivery systems, the four national PA professional organizations define the required educational experiences, knowledge, skills, and attitudes for acquiring six core competencies-
- Medical Knowledge
- Patient Care
- Practice Based Learning and Improvement
- Systems Based Practice
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills, which are described in detail in the following
The PA profession defines the specific medical knowledge, communication skills, and attitudes required to be a successful PA. The technical standards set forth by the PA Program establish the essential qualities that are considered necessary for students in this program to achieve the knowledge, skills and levels of competency stipulated for graduation by the faculty and expected of the professional program by its accrediting agency, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). CMU will provide educational experiences as needed in order to physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate these competencies. Please refer to the Essential Standards.
Guidelines for Attire
The policy established and approved for students in the PA Program is as follows: "While in this institution and specifically in patient care areas or health care delivery settings, a student should be dressed professionally in appropriate attire." ‘Appropriate attire' is determined by societal convention and society's expectation of the medical profession. A student who is engaged in patient contact must keep in mind that members of the professional community are obligated to maintain an acceptable professional standard. Good grooming and personal hygiene are essential for professionals in a health care setting.
Students must adhere to the dress/appearance standards of their assigned clinical sites. Appearances that may potentially offend or distract patients must be avoided. Examples of these appearances include, but are not limited to:
- Easily visible body piercing (e.g., nose, lip, eyebrow, tongue, ears for men). Students with visible body piercings need to obtain the permission of the preceptor and the PA Program prior to attending any clinical site
- Unusual hair coloring or style (must obtain PA Program and preceptor permission before attending clinical sites)
- Casual clothing (e.g., jeans, shoes that are not intact, revealing or ill-fitting clothing)
- Unwashed or unkempt appearance
- Word slogans on clothing or accessories other than professional identification (e.g., cause/position buttons)
Guidelines for General Deportment
A manner of respect for all individuals and recognizing the rights of patients are fundamental to a PA student's professional conduct. Arrogance, superiority, rudeness, and/or disdain for the idiosyncrasies that often appear with illness are manifestations of unprofessional and unacceptable behavior. It is a professional obligation to respect the privacy of patients and the confidentiality of their records. Discussion of patients' problems in a public setting (for example, the elevator, the shuttle, or the cafeteria) constitutes a serious breach of patient rights.
Furthermore, it is inappropriate to be disrespectful, curt, or condescending to any staff member or patient at any time. It is generally understood that, with the exception of children, it is disrespectful to call patients or their parents by first name; rather, it is proper to confer respect by use of surname and title. Sensitivity to individuals' differences also is required.
The Oath of the Physician Assistant
I pledge to perform the following duties with honesty and dedication:
I will hold as my primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare, and dignity of all human beings.
I will uphold the tenets of patient autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.
I will recognize and promote the value of diversity.
I will treat equally all persons who seek my care.
I will hold in confidence the information shared in the course of practicing medicine.
I will assess my personal capabilities and limitations, striving always to improve my medical practice.
I will actively seek to expand my knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of advances in medicine.
I will work with other members of the health care team to provide compassionate and effective care of patients.
I will use my knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.
I will respect my professional relationship with the physician.
I will share and expand knowledge within the profession.
These duties are pledged with sincerity and upon my honor.