Browser warning

The PA program learning outcomes represent the knowledge, interpersonal, clinical and technical skills, professional behaviors and clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities required for graduation and entry into PA practice.

The program learning outcomes were adapted from the Association of American Medical Colleges 2014 document "Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency." This is a guidance document for medical curriculum developers and educators that combines knowledge, skills and abilities associated with the recognized competencies necessary for a medical student to enter residency. 

Additionally, the medical and PA faculty of UT's PA program (in consultation with the medical education advisory committee) reviewed, revised and approved the PLOs. This process ensures that the PLOs are representative of current standards of medical care and education and are representative of the PA program's mission and goals. 

When given a clinical scenario or other student assessment, the PA student will demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and abilities in the categories of: patient care, knowledge for practice (medical knowledge), practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, system-based practice, interprofessional collaboration and personal and professional development.  

ARC-PA Standard


Program Learning Outcome



PATIENT CARE: Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health. 


PC 1

Perform all technical skills and procedures considered essential for entry into PA practice (see list of program-identified core skills and procedures) and become certified in BLS, ACLS and PALS




PC 2

Evaluate patients of all ages by gathering essential and accurate information about the condition through history-taking, physical examination and the use of laboratory data, imaging and other tests and develop an appropriate differential diagnosis. 


PC 3

Organize and prioritize care based on presentation as preventive, emergent, acute, chronic, rehabilitative and end of life


PC 4

Interpret laboratory data, imaging studies and other tests required for the area of practice



PC 5

Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence and clinical judgment



PC 6

Develop and carry out patient management plans for patients of all ages in multiple practice settings and types



PC 7

Counsel and educate patients and their families to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making


PC 8

Provide appropriate referral of patients including ensuring continuity of care throughout transitions between providers or settings


PC 9

Provide health care services to patients, families and communities aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health



KNOWLEDGE FOR PRACTICE: Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care

B2.02 A

B2.02 B

B.2.02 E

KP 1

Apply knowledge of human genetics, molecular biology, anatomy and physiology to the clinical evaluation of patients.


KP 2

Apply established and emerging biophysical scientific principles fundamental to health care for patients and populations.


KP 3

Apply knowledge of human pathophysiology to clinical evaluation of patients.


KP 4

Apply principles of epidemiological sciences to the identification of health problems, risk factors, treatment strategies, resources and disease prevention/health promotion efforts for patients and populations.


KP 5

Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences to provision of patient care, including assessment of the impact of psychosocial-cultural influences on health, disease, care-seeking, care-compliance and barriers to and attitudes toward care.



PRACTICE-BASED LEARNING AND IMPROVEMENT: Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one's care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and lifelong learning.



Identify strengths, deficiencies and limits in one’s knowledge and expertise to set learning and improvement goals.



Locate, appraise and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to patients’ health problems.



Use information technology to search common medical databases and access medical literature to optimize learning.



Identify, analyze and implement new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcome and apply to individual patient care.



INTERPERSONAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and health professionals



Communicate effectively with patients, families and the public, as appropriate, across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.



Communicate effectively through written, electronic and spoken word with colleagues within one’s profession or specialty, other health professionals and health-related agencies.



Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty and compassion in difficult conversations. (e.g., about issues such as death, end-of-life issues, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors and other sensitive topics)



Demonstrate insight and understanding about age-specific human responses to illness, injury and/or stress that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions.



PROFESSIONALISM: Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles



Demonstrate respect for patient privacy and autonomy, abiding by the social media and HIPAA policies.



Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities and sexual orientation.



Demonstrate professional behavior that encompasses the principals of honesty, integrity, empathy and respect, advocacy, self-awareness, personal accountability, teamwork, responsibility for learning, balance and avoidance of conflicts of interest, courtesy and compassion, in a pattern of moral and ethical interactions with others. (UT program-defined professional expectations)



SYSTEMS-BASED PRACTICE: Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care



Work effectively in various health care delivery settings and systems recognizing the impact of health policy on the delivery of care in various health settings



Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate documentation of care, coding, billing and reimbursement



Participate in identifying system errors and implementing potential systems solutions



INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION: Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient and population-centered care



Work with other health professionals to establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity and trust 



Use the knowledge of one’s own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of the patients and populations served



Communicate with other health professionals in a responsive and responsible manner that supports the maintenance of health and the treatment of disease in individual patients and populations



PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth 



Recognize healthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress         



Recognize strategies to manage conflict between personal and professional responsibilities 



Demonstrate knowledge of the PA profession, its historical development and current trends



Recognize that ambiguity is part of clinical health care and respond by using appropriate resources in dealing with uncertainty



Demonstrate knowledge of PA licensure, credentialing and laws and regulations regarding professional practice


The purpose of this list is to provide information regarding core skills and procedures that the program has set as those the student must demonstrate competency in performing before graduation.

Didactic Phase: Students are exposed to the majority of skills and procedures during the didactic curriculum in both formative (non-graded) and summative (graded) experiences.

Clinical Rotations: Skills and procedures appropriate to the specific rotation will be identified on the syllabus. Students will complete the listed skill/procedure with competency assessed by their preceptor.

PA Competency/Senior Summative: Selected skills/procedures will be assessed for competency by PA faculty during the PA competency course during objective structured clinical experiences.

The following represent the skills/procedures that all UT PA graduates will be able to demonstrate at the end of their training.

1. The student will obtain and record a complete and accurate medical history from patients across the life span in any setting (Program Learning Outcome PC2).

Outcomes: The student will: 

  • Establish effective rapport with patients and their families in a manner that will enhance the history taking process
  • Obtain and record a complete and accurate chief complaint
  • Obtain and record a complete and accurate history of the present illness that includes the symptom location, quantity, quality, timing, setting, aggravating and relieving factors and other associated factors
  • Obtain and record a complete past medical and surgical history, psychosocial history and family history
  • Obtain and record a comprehensive review of systems noting pertinent positive and negative findings as they relate to the history of present illness
  • Obtain and record interval history pertaining to ongoing disease states
  • Obtain a problem-focused history
  • Obtain and record a follow-up history of an improved or deteriorating patient condition
  • Obtain and record the medical history components from patient friends or family when necessary

2. The student will perform a complete or problem-focused physical examination on patients across the life span in any setting (Program Learning Outcome PC2).

Outcomes: The student will:

  • Demonstrate techniques of gaining patient confidence and providing reassurance about the examination in a manner that will enhance the collection of data and maintain patient dignity
  • Distinguish normal from abnormal physical examination findings for males and females of any age group
  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of medical equipment for the physical examination with proper techniques that incorporate universal precautions when appropriate
  • Perform and record the findings from a comprehensive physical examination
  • Demonstrate ability to alternate the sequence and content of the physical examination to correspond with the special needs of the patient and the presenting complaint
  • Perform and record a problem-focused physical examination utilizing conventional formats and nomenclature 

3. The student will interpret and synthesize the information derived from the history, physical examination and other patient related data to guide the formulation of a thorough differential diagnosis (Program Learning Outcome PC2).

Outcomes: The student will: 

  • Formulate a problem list and a differential diagnosis for each patient problem identified during patient encounters
  • Demonstrate deductive reasoning skills in processing clinical data in the development of a differential diagnosis

4. The student will order and interpret appropriate diagnostic procedures and laboratory tests based upon the findings from the medical history and physical examination (Program Learning Outcome PC4).

Outcomes: Utilizing the data collected from the medical history and physical examination findings, the student will be able to:

  • Utilize a problem list or differential diagnosis to identify the diagnostic procedures and laboratory studies that are indicated to aid in establishing the diagnosis
  • Educate the patient about the benefits and risks associated with specific laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures
  • Order, interpret the results and discuss the implications of laboratory tests including but not limited to:
  • Urinalysis by dipstick and microscopic examination
  • Glucose testing
  • Vaginal specimen
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Rapid strep screen
  • KOH prep for fungal infection
  • Prostate specific antigen
  • Complete blood count with differential
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive proteins
  • Stool for blood, ova and parasites
  • Cardiac enzymes
  • Coagulation studies
  • Electrolytes, liver enzymes, serum lipid profiles, hemoglobin A1c and other commonly utilized blood chemistries
  • Order, interpret and discuss the implications of diagnostic procedures, including but not limited to:
    • 12 Lead EKG
    • Rhythm strips
    • Pulmonary function testing
  • Order and interpret plain film radiologic studies
  • Outline the indications for and analyze the information provided by the following imaging modalities:
    • CT scans
    • MRI and MRA
    • Fluoroscopy
    • Angiography
    • Nuclear medicine studies
    • Ultrasound
    • DEXA scan
    • Mammography
  • Identify the indications for bronchoscopy, upper endoscopy, colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Outline the indications for thoracentesis, paracentesis, and lumbar puncture
  • Outline the indications for an excisional biopsy, endometrial biopsy, arthrocentesis and joint injection
  • Outline the required preparation for imaging studies and office procedures

5. The student will be able to identify, discuss and order appropriate therapy and treatment modalities for the management of commonly occurring primary care events (Program Learning Outcome PC6).

Outcomes: The student will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the various electrolyte solutions for intravenous therapy and indications for their use
  • Outline the use of blood and blood products, indications, risks and potential complications
  • Administer injections intra-dermally, subcutaneously, intravenously and intramuscularly
  • Educate patients about nutritional requirements and the treatment of nutritionally related health problems
  • Identify medications used for the treatment of medical conditions and their mechanism of action, metabolism, excretion, indications, contraindications, drug-drug interactions and potential side effects
  • Manage non-pharmacologic treatment and follow-up of common medical conditions
  • Prescribe medications as a part of patient management
  • Identify and manage medication interactions and adverse effects
  • Outline common complementary and alternative medicine modalities

6. The student will be able to recognize life-threatening conditions (Program Learning Outcome PC1, PC3).

Outcomes: The student will be able to:

  • Recognize emergency cardiovascular conditions, including life-threatening dysrhythmias, in patients of any age in any setting and initiate standard treatment according to Advanced Cardiac Life Support recommendations
  • Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation according to ACLS guidelines
  • Establish hemostasis or control blood loss of hemorrhaging patients  
  • Assist with or perform commonly encountered emergency procedures including but not limited to:
    • Endotracheal/nasogastric intubations
    • Defibrillation or cardioversion
    • Arterial and venous line placement

7. The student will be able to clearly and effectively communicate with patients, their families and other medical personnel in a professional manner (Program Learning Outcome ICS1, ICS2).

Outcomes: The student will:

  • Present a systematic, clear and concise description of the patient's chief complaint, history of present illness, pertinent positive and negative findings, laboratory findings and diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Discuss information and counsel patients regarding the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of common disorders in a manner that promotes understanding
  • Instruct patients about a variety of health education and disease prevention issues
  • Create medical documentation using a widely accepted format including but not limited to:
    • Admit history and physical exam
    • Discharge summary
    • Progress notes
    • SOAP notes 

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technical Skills

Upon completion of the program, physician assistant students should have a familiarity and be able to demonstrate/perform the following technical skills:


  • Venipuncture (EM)
  • Arterial puncture (Didactic)
  • Peripheral IV/IO catheterization (Didactic)
  • External Jugular catheterization (Didactic)
  • Intramuscular, subcutaneous, intradermal and intravenous injections (EM/FM/PM)


  • Interpret aerobic and anaerobic cultures (EM)
  • Interpret blood glucose testing (EM/FM)
  • Obtain and interpret fecal occult blood testing (EM/FM/IM/SM)
  • Obtain/interpret arterial blood gas (Didactic)
  • Interpret complete blood count with differential (All)
  • Perform throat swab (EM/PM/FM)
  • Interpret dipstick urinalysis (EM/FM/IM/PM)
  • Interpret urine pregnancy (HCG) testing (EM/FM/WM)
  • Interpret microscopic examination of a KOH wet prep (EM/FM/PM/WM)
  • Interpret plain film radiographic images (EM/SM)


  • Foreign body removal from skin, eyes, nose, and/or ears (Didactic)
  • Visual acuity and color vision screening (Didactic)
  • Eye irrigation examination (w/fluorescein staining) (Didactic)
  • Hearing acuity screening (Didactic)
  • Irrigation of the external auditory canal (Didactic)
  • Anterior/posterior nasal packing (Didactic) 


  • Perform and interpret 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and rhythm (EM/FM)
  • Identify the following heart sounds: S1, S2, gallops, and murmurs (All rotations)
  • Doppler assessment of peripheral pulses and/or prenatal fetal heart rate (EM/WM)


  • Peak flow testing (Didactic)
  • Pulmonary function testing (spirometry) (Didactic)
  • Pharyngeal suctioning (Didactic)
  • Tracheal and bronchial suctioning (Didactic)
  • Endotracheal intubation (Didactic)
  • Laryngeal mask airway (LMA) placement (Didactic)
  • Chest needle decompression/chest tube insertion (Didactic)


  • Urinary bladder catheterization (Didactic)
  • Naso-/oro- gastric intubation and lavage (Didactic)
  • Digital rectal/prostate exam (Didactic, EM/FM/IM)
  • Pelvic exam with specimen collection (Didactic, WM/EM/FM)


  • Splinting and casting (Didactic, EM/SM)
  • Arthrocentesis/intraarticular injection of the large joints (knee) (Didactic)
  • Bursa aspirations and injections (Didactic)


  • Lumbar puncture (Didactic)


  • Vaginal newborn delivery (Didactic)
  • Collection of urethral, vaginal and/or cervical specimens for STI testing (EM/WM/FM)
  • Collection of vaginal and cervical specimens for cytologic (PAP) examination (WM) 
  • Clinical breast exam (Didactic, WM)        


  • Aseptic technique (SM)
  • Administration of local anesthesia and/or digital nerve blocks (EM/SM)
  • Wound closure with sutures, liquid skin adhesive, steri-strips and/or staples (EM/SM)
  • Superficial wound incision and drainage and packing (EM/SM)
  • Wound care and dressing (EM/SM)
  • Skin punch, excisional and/or shave biopsy procedures (Didactic)
  • Subungual hematoma trephination (Didactic)

LIFE SUPPORT SKILLS - Demonstrated through successful certification process

  • Basic life support (BLS) procedures
  • Advance cardiac life support (ACLS) procedures
  • Pediatric cardiac life support (PALS) procedures

Rotation Key:

EM = Emergency Medicine

FM = Family Medicine

IM = Internal Medicine

SM = Surgical Medicine

PM = Pediatric Medicine

WM = Women’s Medicine

BM = Behavioral Medicine 


Reviewed and approved by PA faculty July 25, 2017

Revised and approved by PA faculty March 5, 2018

Next review: July 2020 (faculty retreat)