Program Competencies

Adapted from the PA profession competencies, the CDU PA program competencies* are the overarching summative qualities required of all graduates upon completion of the program in order to be prepared for clinical practice. To ascertain the acquisition of program competencies, the program continuously assesses student learning outcomes. Student learning outcomes are specific and measurable building blocks that need to be attained over the 27 months of study.

Medical Knowledge [MK]
PAs must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in their area of practice. In addition, PAs are expected to demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations.

Interpersonal & Communication Skills [ICS]
PAs must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals within the health care system.

Patient Care [PC]
PAs must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable.

Professionalism [Prof]
PAs must express positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, professionalism involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one’s own. PAs must acknowledge their professional and personal limitations. PAs must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.

Practice-Based Learning & Improvement [PBLI]
Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices.

System-Based Care [SBC]
PAs must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care. PAs should work to improve the health care system of which their practices are a part.

*Adopted from “Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession”(originally adopted 2005; revised 2012) which serves as a road map for the development and maintenance of competencies among PAs and the PA profession. Competencies will be acquired during the course of the 27-months of study and will be evaluated using a variety of instruments including, but not limited to: written and practical examinations, student projects and presentations, preceptor evaluations, faculty observations, graduate surveys and PANCE results.

Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLO)
Graduates of the CDU PA Program will demonstrate entry-level proficiency necessary to perform the following functions and tasks:

  • PLO1: Elicit, efficiently and effectively, pertinent information in a medical history and perform an appropriate physical exam for patients of various ages and clinical settings [MK, ICS, PC]
  • PLO2: Select, order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic studies [MK, PC]
  • PLO 3: Integrate data obtained through history, physical examination and laboratory/diagnostic studies to develop a differential and final diagnosis [MK, PC]
  • PLO 4: Select and perform routine technical skills and clinical procedures [MK, PC]
  • PLO 5: Develop and implement patient management plans based on evidence-based clinical judgement and respect for patient preferences and cultural values [MK, PC, ICS, Prof, PBLI, SBP]
  • PLO 6: Record and orally present clinical findings in a clear, concise, and organized manner to patients, families and members of the healthcare team [ICS, PC, Prof]
  • PLO 7: Demonstrate professionalism, honesty and integrity in all interactions with colleagues, patients and families [Prof, PC, ICS]
  • PLO 8: Appraise, integrate and apply scientific and medical research to the practice of medicine [MK, PC, Prof, PBLI, SBP]
  • PLO 9: Incorporate the concepts and principles of the social and behavioral sciences to identify and address health disparities and advocate for underserved populations [MK, PC, Prof, PBLI, SBP]

Program competencies and learning outcomes were revised in fall, 2020