The following competencies will serve as program level student learning outcomes for the Stephens College Physician Assistant Studies program. All course learning outcomes listed in the syllabi are linked to these competencies.


Medical Knowledge

Physician assistants must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in their area of practice. In addition, physician assistants are expected to demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

MK 1: Apply principles of evidence-based medicine to clinical scenarios

MK 2: Apply scientific principles to explain etiologies, risk factors, and underlying pathologic processes for emergent, acute, and chronic medical conditions

MK 3: Describe social, behavioral and psychological aspects of health and disease.

MK 4: Demonstrate the ability to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients across the lifespan.

MK 5: Demonstrate the ability to develop and evaluate interventions for promotion and maintenance of health.


Interpersonal + Communication Skills

Physician assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates and other individuals within the health care system. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

ICS 1: Demonstrate interpersonal skills promoting ethically sound and therapeutic relationships with patients, families, and members of the health care team.

ICS 2: Use effective communication skills to elicit and provide information in a manner that is appropriate to the context of the interaction.


Patient Care

Patient care includes patient-specific and setting-specific assessment, evaluation and management. Physician assistants must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

PC 1: Demonstrate the ability to provide patient-centered care characterized by compassionate and respectful relationships with patients and their families.

PC 2: Demonstrate the ability to make decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence and informed clinical judgment.

PC 3: Perform medical and surgical procedures appropriate to a PA entering the profession.

PC 4: Demonstrate the ability to provide health care services and education to prevent disease and promote health in patients across the lifespan.



Physician assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Physician assistants must be reflective practitioners who place their patients’ needs above their own. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

PR 1: Demonstrate professional relationships characterized by respect, compassion, accountability, and integrity with patients, families, supervisors, and other members of the health care team.

PR 2: Describe the role of the PA including professional, ethical, legal, and regulatory standards regarding the PA profession.

PR 3: Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to patients’ culture, age, gender and abilities.

PR 4: Demonstrate initiative, flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety.

PR 5: Demonstrate commitment to the education of all other learners.


Practice-Based Learning + Improvement

Physician assistants must engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self-improvement and enhancement of the practice. Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

PLI 1: Analyze practice experience and contribute to practice-based improvement activities

PLI 2: Access, select, appraise, critically evaluate, and apply scientific studies to patient cases.

PLI 3: Demonstrate self-reflection to recognize and appropriately address personal biases, gaps in medical knowledge, and limitations in themselves and others.


Systems-Based Practice

Physician assistants must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that balances quality and cost, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient. PAs should work to improve the health care system of which their practices are a part. Upon graduation from the PA program, students are expected to:

SBP 1: Discuss the components of health care delivery systems and the roles and relationships of various members of health care teams.

SBP 2: Be able to describe examples of cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of patient care.

SBP 3: Apply the concepts of population health to patient care. 

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Physician Assistant Studies

Stephanie Whyte,
Administrative Assistant

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