Program Learning Competencies and Outcomes

Learning Outcomes and Core Competencies

In 2003, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) initiated an effort to define PA competencies in response to similar efforts being conducted within other health care professions and growing demand for accountability and assessment in clinical practice. The following year, representatives from three other national PA organizations, each bringing a unique perspective and valuable insights, joined NCCPA in that effort. Those organizations were the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the body that accredits PA educational programs; the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP), the membership association for PA educators and program directors; and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the only national membership association representing all PAs. Professional competencies for physician assistants include the effective and appropriate application of medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice. The mission of the PA department is to prepare physician assistant students to become highly competent and qualified physician assistants who practice collaboratively in a professional and inclusive manner. Upon completion of the Duquesne University PA Program, each student will meet the following Learning Outcomes and Core Competencies.

1. Students will perform an accurate, problem-focused and/or comprehensive history and physical examination in patients of ages across the lifespan.

2. Students will be able to communicate with patients, patients' families and other members of the healthcare team in a supportive and effective manner

3. Students will document relevant patient data using various formats including written, oral and electronic modalities while being mindful of legal ramifications and overall patient safety.

4. Students will be able to order and interpret pertinent diagnostic studies to develop an appropriate, prioritized differential diagnosis.

5. Students will accurately integrate medical knowledge to implement treatment plans in order to comprehensively manage both medical and surgical patients.

6. Students will competently perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures across the lifespan in various disciplines of medicine.

7. Students will compassionately provide education and counseling while serving as a patient advocate.

8. Students will maintain an understanding and respect for the patients' culture and provide inclusive care for all patients.

9. Students will work collaboratively with all members of the healthcare team to provide safe and exceptional patient care.

10. Students will engage in ethical and professional behavior with the patient, patient families and other members of the healthcare team.

11. Students will analyze and interpret current, evidence-based medical literature and contribute via scholarly work to benefit the profession and society as a whole.

12. Students will develop the skills necessary to become lifelong learners and demonstrate commitment to stay current with medical knowledge.

13. Students will participate in scholarly activities to further the profession and provide service to the communities at large.