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Program Learning Outcomes

The Physician Assistant (PA) program final learning outcomes/competencies represent the knowledge, interpersonal, clinical and technical skills, professional behaviors, and clinical reasoning and problem solving abilities required for PA practice. The UT PA 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.

When given a clinical scenario or other student assessment, the graduate PA student will demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and abilities in the categories o: 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.

Patient Care

Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective...
PATIENT CARE: Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.
  • Perform all medical, diagnostic and surgical procedures considered essential for the area of practice.
  • Gather essential and accurate information about patients and their condition through history-taking, physical examination and the use of laboratory data, imaging and other tests.
  • Organize and prioritize responsibilities to provide care that is safe, effective and efficient.
  • Interpret laboratory data, imaging studies and other tests required for the area of practice.
  • Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence and clinical judgment.
  • Develop and carry out patient management plans.
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision making.
  • Provide appropriate referral of patients including ensuring continuity of care throughout transitions between providers or settings and following up on patient progress and outcomes.
  • Provide health care services to patients, families and communities aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health.

Knowledge for Practice

Knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical...
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.
  • Demonstrate an investigatory and analytic approach to clinical situations.
  • Apply established and emerging biophysical scientific principles fundamental to health care for patients and populations.
  • Apply established and emerging principles of clinical sciences to diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, clinical problem solving and other aspects of evidence-based health care.
  • 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.
  • 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

The ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients...
PRACTICE-BASED LEARNING AND IMPROVEMENT: Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their 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.
  • Set learning and improvement goals.
  • Identify and perform learning activities that address one’s gaps in knowledge, skills or attitudes.
  • Systematically analyze practice using quality-improvement methods and implement changes with the goal of practice improvement.
  • Incorporate feedback into daily practice.
  • Locate, appraise and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to patients’ health problems.
  • Use information technology to optimize learning.
  • Participate in the education of patients and families.
  • Obtain and utilize information about individual patients, populations of patients or communities from which patients are drawn to improve care.
  • Continually identify, analyze and implement new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

The effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients...
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 with colleagues within one’s profession or specialty, other health professionals and health-related agencies.
  • Work effectively with others as a member of a health care team or other professional group.
  • Maintain comprehensive, timely and legible medical records.
  • 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 emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions.


A commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities...
PROFESSIONALISM: Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles.
  • Demonstrate compassion, integrity and respect for others.
  • Demonstrate respect for patient privacy and autonomy.
  • Demonstrate accountability to patients, society and the profession.
  • 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 a commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of care, confidentiality, informed consent and business practices, including compliance with relevant laws, policies and regulations.

System-based Practice

An awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context...
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.
  • Coordinate patient care within the health care system.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of considerations of cost awareness and risk-benefit analysis in patient and/or population based care.
  • Advocate for quality patient care and optimal patient care systems.
  • Participate in identifying system errors and implementing potential systems solutions.

Interprofessional Collaboration

The ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner...
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

The qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth...
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.
  • Develop the ability to use self-awareness of knowledge, skills and emotional limitations to engage in appropriate help-seeking behaviors.
  • Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress.
  • Manage conflict between personal and professional responsibilities.
  • Practice flexibility and maturity in adjusting to change with the capacity to alter behavior.
  • Demonstrate trustworthiness that makes colleagues feel secure when one is responsible for the care of patients.
  • Provide leadership skills that enhance team functioning, the learning environment and/or the health care delivery system.
  • Demonstrate self-confidence that puts patients, families and members of the health care team at ease.
  • Recognize that ambiguity is part of clinical health care and respond by using appropriate resources in dealing with uncertainty.