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Student Learning Outcomes

The National Commission on Certifying Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) both have published guidelines to communicate to the PA profession and to the public a set of competencies that all physician assistants, regardless of specialty or setting, are expected to acquire and maintain throughout their careers.  These competencies provide a road map for the individual PA, the physician-PA team, and PA-related professional organizations and mirror the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies for the medical resident.

The UTHSC PA Program evaluated both organizations’ recommendations and combined them into a single set of seven (7) domains.   

  1. Medical Knowledge and Person-Centered Care
  2. Interpersonal Communication
  3. Interprofessional Collaboration
  4. Professional, Ethical, and Legal Aspects of Healthcare
  5. Practice-based Learning and Quality Improvement
  6. Health Literature and Finance
  7. Society and Population Health

The UTHSC PA Program then critically analyzed each domain’s specific competencies from both organizations and created a set of programmatic learning outcomes (PLO) that all students from the UTHSC PA Program will obtain throughout the two-year curriculum. 

  1. Formulate a thoughtful clinical approach to diseases and conditions across the lifespan (prenatal to geriatrics).
  2. Articulate a comprehensive medical history and perform a thorough physical examination.  
  3. Identify and select components in a focused physical examination based on the history information.  
  4. Describe the underlying pathophysiology associated with the diseases and conditions across the lifespan (prenatal to geriatrics).  
  5. Compare and contrast which diagnostic modalities are most appropriate for the work-up of a specific condition or set of differential diagnoses.  
  6. Assess the pertinent positive and negative findings from the history and physical examination, laboratory findings, and radiographical studies for a disease presentation.  
  7. Interpret and recognize the significance of various laboratory and radiographical studies in relation to the disease process.   
  8. Formulate a working differential diagnosis based on the presenting signs and symptoms and argue for the most likely diagnosis.  
  9. Devise a treatment plan for disease processes that would include specific pharmacotherapeutic and/or surgical interventions based on the best available information.  
  10. Explain the indications, contraindications, and side effect profiles for the pharmacologic agents used in the treatment of diseases and conditions.  
  11. Recognize the importance of patient education and compliance as it relates to pharmacologic interventions.  
  12. Discuss and defend non-pharmacologic interventions that may be used in the treatment of diseases and conditions.  
  13. Formulate treatment plans for specific disease prevention and evaluate the success of those treatments.  
  14. Describe and perform clinical procedures used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and list the indications, contraindications, and complications of these procedures.  
  15. Provide education to patients, family members, and caregivers on disease prevention, screening guidelines, and risk factors for diseases and conditions across the lifespan (prenatal to geriatrics).  
  16. Describe the complications associated with diseases and conditions and distinguish the need for rehabilitation or long-term care.  
  17. Identify when referral to or consultation with a physician or specialist is indicated.  
  18. Recognize abnormal patient presentations and identify chronic, urgent, emergent, and life-threatening conditions across the lifespan (prenatal to geriatrics).  
  19. Compare and contrast the different healthcare professions and how they contribute to the healthcare system.  
  20. Articulate the role of PA in the healthcare system, how PAs interact with other healthcare professions, and the value the profession brings to healthcare teams. 
  21. Critically evaluate landmark research publications that lead to establishment of national and international guidelines for disease management.  
  22. Argue for patient rights and safety by identifying and avoiding risk factors that can lead to medical errors.  
  23. Discuss legal and ethical consideration in healthcare with regards to informed consent, advanced directives, end-of-life decisions, and capacity for medical decision making.    
  24. Explain the principles of billing, coding, and how medical decisions can impact the financial aspects of healthcare. 
  25. Demonstrate appropriate medical record documentation.  
  26. Evaluate the impact of the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic ramifications on health and well-being.
  27. Demonstrate ability to provide medical care to all patients regardless of disability status or special health needs, ethnicity/race, gender identity, religion/spirituality, or sexual orientation.
Apr 12, 2024