Competencies

Between 2003-2004, the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) led an effort with three other national PA organizations (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), and Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) -- formerly Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP) to define PA competencies in response to similar efforts conducted within other health care professions and the growing demand for accountability and assessment in clinical practice.

The PA profession defines the specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, and educational experiences requisite for physician assistants to acquire and demonstrate these competencies. The clinical role of PAs includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. 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. Patient-centered, physician assistant practice reflects a number of overarching themes. These include an unwavering commitment to patient safety, cultural competence, quality health care, lifelong learning, and professional growth. Furthermore, the profession’s dedication to the physician-physician assistant team benefits patients and the larger community.

Miami University’s Physician Associate studies program used this professional framework as the foundation of our own model. We acknowledge that some competencies will be acquired during formal PA education, while others will be refined and mastered as the clinician progresses through their careers. Successfully meeting the program's standards, will prepare the student not only for clinical practice, but personal and professional growth- in industry.

Students will observe success in meeting the program's standards, by matriculating through the curriculum following successful completion of courses, guided by class learning objectives and course outcomes, defined within the syllabi.

Medical Knowledge (MK)

Display command of fundamental medical knowledge by:

  • Distinguishing various emergent, acute and chronic medical conditions to include etiology, pathophysiology, incidence, risk factors, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, disease course, prognosis, and treatment strategies (pharmacological or non-pharmacological) to effectively manage a patient across the life span.
  • Evaluating and treating patients across various disciplines.
  • Choose the appropriate pharmacological agent considering indications, contraindications, dosing, side effects, drug interactions and costs.
  • Constructing a preventative care plan which considers risk factors, immunization recommendations, behavior modification methods and other holistic healthcare wellness programs.
  • Possessing knowledge of distinct health care delivery systems and level of care that can be provided in various practice settings.

Clinical and Technical Skills (CTS)

Demonstrate clinical and technical skills by:

  • Eliciting and performing a comprehensive or problem focused history and physical taking into consideration any social determinants of health.
  • Distinguishing normal and abnormal physical exam findings.
  • Performing clinical procedures using aseptic technique and obtaining informed consent to include steps of the procedure, complications and follow up care.
  • Interpreting and documenting laboratory and diagnostic studies to aid in decision making.
  • Leveraging technology to improve healthcare access and outcomes such as utilizing point of care ultrasound.

Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities (CRPS)

Demonstrate clinical reasoning & problem-solving abilities by:
  • Formulating a differential, most likely diagnosis and management plan based on clinical presentation to effectively manage a patient across the life span.
  • Recognizing indications for and appropriately ordering laboratory and diagnostic testing.
  • Devising and implementing an individualized management plan for emergent, acute and chronic conditions.
  • Recognizing and distinguishing between emergent, acute and chronic conditions by appropriately triaging patients.
  • Recognizing the role of community and environmental influences on patient outcome and societal health.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills (ICS)

Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills by:

  • Creating a patient-provider relationship that considers the biopsychosocial model.
  • Summarizing patient encounters in a written and/or verbal format.
  • Communicating clinical knowledge within interprofessional healthcare teams.
  • Delivering details of the diagnosis, disease presentation, progression, diagnostic findings, treatment plans to patients and/or their families using appropriate patient centered interpersonal skills which is culturally sensitive and takes into account patient’s health literacy.
  • Considering the impact of socio-economic burdens while delivering compassionate care.

Professional Behaviors (PB)

Exhibit professionalism and ethics by:

  • Demonstrating integrity and respect for others regardless of disability status, special health care needs, ethnicity/race, gender identity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, and social determinants of health.
  • Embodying clear understanding of medical ethics and legal aspects of health care.
  • Collaborating effectively within interprofessional teams recognizing the value of each member's contribution to patient care.
  • Prioritizing patient safety strategies and reducing medical errors.
  • Modeling a commitment to research and legal standards of care.

Practice Based Learning & Improvement (PBLI)

Critically evaluate medical literature by:

  • Practicing evidence-based medicine which incorporates current clinical guidelines and a commitment to life-long learning.
  • Participating in a journal club and completing a capstone project.
  • Acknowledging one's personal growth opportunities by conducting self-performance evaluations based on standard of care.
  • Considering concepts of public health and evidence-based medicine to improve the quality of patient care.
  • Composing written scientific papers

 

Adopted 2012 by ARC-PA, NCCPA, and PAEA Adopted 2013 by AAPA
It should be noted that many drafts/versions of this have surfaced, this is the published/approved copy from the website above.