Essential Functions and Technical Standards for Medical Assisting Students

Essential Functions and Technical Standards for Medical Assisting Students

The following standards reflect reasonable expectations of a student in the MA Program for the performance of common physical therapy functions. In adopting these standards, the MA Program is mindful of the patient’s right to safe and quality care by students.

Signature in each block represents capability of completing all skills in each block. Failure to complete any essential function may result in dismissal from the MA Program. Competence in all essential functions will be required prior to internship placement. 

Categories of Essential FunctionsDefinitionExample of Technical Standard
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving SkillsAbility to collect, interpret and
integrate information and make decisions.
Read and comprehend relevant information in textbooks,
medical records and professional literature; identify
cause/effect relationships; identify patient problems;
respond to emergencies; know when to apply universal
precautions; use effective teaching, learning and test taking strategies. 
Interpersonal SkillsAbility to collaboratively work with all
medical assisting students and with
program faculty in the classroom, lab
and clinical setting.
Establish rapport with patients/clients and colleagues;
participate in lab situation to role play both medical assistant
and patient; interact appropriately with individuals, families,
and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and
intellectual backgrounds; employ basic conflict management skills. 
Coping SkillsAbility to respond appropriately to
stressful environments or during impending
Manage academic schedules and deadlines; perform in fast
paced clinical situations; cope with psychosocial issues involving
catastrophic illness, disability, and death; able to relate and work
with ill, disabled, elderly, emotionally upset, and at times, hostile
people and patients.  
Communication SkillsAbility to communicate effectively in
English using verbal, non-verbal,
and written formats with faculty,
students, patients, families, and
health care workers.
In both oral and written format, explain and reiterate healthcare
procedures; give directions; answer questions posed by patient,
co-workers, physicians and other health care providers; keep
accurate record of diagnostic and treatment procedures and
charges using appropriate medical terminology and correct spelling;
demonstrate active listening skills; recognize,
interpret and respond to non-verbal behavior of self and others  
Mobility/Motor SkillsSufficient motor ability to execute
the movement and skills required
for safe and effective physical
therapy treatment.
Demonstrate adequate coordination, balance, and agility to assist
and safely guard patients; move, adjust and position patients or
equipment which involves bending, stooping freely to the floor,
reaching above head; provide emergency care and administer CPR;
stand, kneel, sit, or walk for 90 minutes without rest; manipulate with
sufficient dexterity the devices used in the medical office, such as
adjusting gauges, dials, small objects, and equipment settings and to
draw a blood sample and give an injection  
Sensory AbilitiesSufficient auditory, visual, and
tactile ability to monitor and
assess health needs.
Recognize and interpret facial expressions and body language,
identify normal and abnormal patterns of movement, discriminate
color changes and interpret and assess the environment up to 20 feet;
read or set parameters on medical office equipment; recognize and
respond to soft voices or voices under protective garb, auditory timers,
equipment/emergency alarms, and effectively use devices for the
measurement of vital signs; palpate a pulse and detect changes or
abnormalities of surface texture, skin temperature, body segment
contour, muscle tone and joint movement.
Behavioral SkillsAbility to demonstrate professional
behaviors and a strong work ethic.
Demonstrate initiative, flexibility, enthusiasm, honesty, cooperation
and industrious behavior; recognize personal limitations and request
assistance as appropriate; demonstrate responsibility for personal
development; acknowledge and respect individual values and
opinions in order to foster harmonious working relationships with
colleagues, peers, and patients; perform duties efficiently, willingly, and
thoroughly; present professional appearance and maintain person hygiene.

*Adapted from Greenville Technical College and Lebanon Valley College

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