Goals, Objectives and Competencies

  1. To prepare physician assistant students with the core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences, and with the ability to apply this knowledge effectively and appropriately to patient care. Students will be able to:
    • recall etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic processes, and epidemiology for medical conditions.
    • identify signs and symptoms of common medical conditions.
    • differentiate between the normal and the abnormal in anatomical, physiological, and laboratory findings and in other diagnostic data.
    • collaborate with the health care team in developing and implementing management and treatment plans for general medical and surgical conditions.
    • recall the indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions and adverse reactions of pharmacologic agents and other relevant treatment modalities.
    • identify appropriate interventions for the prevention of conditions.
  2. To promote in students an investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations. Students will be able to:
    • elicit a detailed and accurate medical history and perform a complete physical examination.
    • analyze a chief complaint and perform a focused physical exam.
    • select and interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies.
    • formulate a differential diagnosis, using history and physical findings and diagnostic studies.
    • make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and clinical judgment.
    • collaborate with others to solve health care problems.
  3. To develop in students interpersonal and communication skills that will enhance effective communication exchange with patients, their families, physicians, and other members of the health care team. Students will be able to:
    • use effective listening, nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills to elicit and provide information.
    • communicate and work effectively with supervising physicians and other professionals as a member of a health care team.
    • accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality assurance and financial purposes.
    • apply an understanding of human behavior across the lifespan in their interactions with patients.
    • provide patient education and counseling regarding physical and mental health, health promotion and disease prevention, normal growth and development, and family planning.
  4. To foster an attitude of professionalism and positive values such as responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to diverse patient populations and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Students will be able to:
    • work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to provide patient-centered care.
    • recall the legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant.
    • recall and apply the ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices.
    • provide care with sensitivity to patients' culture, age, gender, and disabilities.
    • recognize the impact of socioeconomic and ethnic diversity on the availability and delivery of health care.
    • understand their limitations and know when to make appropriate referrals.
    • recognize the responsibility to serve the needs of the community and to provide health care services in medically-underserved areas.
  5. To provide students with the tools to become lifelong learners and to pursue scholarly endeavors. Students will be able to:
    • apply information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information, and support their own lifelong education.
    • apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies.
    • locate and appraise clinical studies, and integrate evidence from clinical studies to patient management.
    • design an investigation that utilizes research methodology to attempt to answer a clinical question through empirical research-based analysis.
    • actively engage in scholarly activities, such as research, teaching, and professional presentations.
  6. To produce graduates with the requisite medical knowledge, competencies, and critical thinking skills to provide quality, cost-effective health care, and to be supportive advocates to all patients. Graduates will be able to:
    • extrapolate and apply the knowledge and experience accumulated in the program to successfully pass the National Certifying Examination.
    • recognize patients' health care needs and provide service and support to meet those needs