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Program Learning Objectives, Competencies and Goals

The UAB PA program faculty have established performance indicators, learning outcomes, and goals for the program. The faculty regularly monitors and evaluates progress towards meeting its stated outcomes and goals, and continually assesses student's acquisition of knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors. Student, faculty, and graduate surveys are conducted to determine satisfaction in the following areas: admissions and orientation; student services and resources; policies and procedures; and the didactic and clinical curriculum.

Didactic-Year Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the didactic year curriculum, students will be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and pathology of disease and their application in clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and manage common diseases encountered in general medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, women’s health, and behavioral medicine.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in performing a complete and problem-focused history and physical examination.
  • Demonstrate competency in the technical skills needed to perform as a surgical and primary care PA.
  • Demonstrate an ability to order and interpret laboratory tests, imaging, electrocardiograms, and other diagnostic studies utilized in primary care and surgery.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in CPR and ACLS management of acutely ill patients.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of medical literature databases, literature review, clinical research designs, basic medical statistics, and interpretation of medical literature.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of the PA profession, medical malpractice, medical practice guidelines, and medical ethics.
  • Consider cultural and human rights issues, including religion, ethnicity/race, disability, special healthcare needs, socioeconomic level, social determinants of health, gender identity, and human sexuality, as students provide medical care to patients in clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements in the PA profession.
  • Develop clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

Clinical-Year Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the clinical year curriculum, students will be able to perform the following tasks at the level of an entry-level physician assistant in clinical practice:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in obtaining and documenting patient encounters in various clinical settings, across the lifespan.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the technical and surgical skills required of an entry-level PA in clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate an appropriate level of professional behaviors, including a respectful and caring attitude toward patients and a willingness to function as a cooperative member of the healthcare team.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize subjective and objective findings to formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate the ability to select and interpret appropriate diagnostic studies to formulate a working diagnosis.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a patient-centered treatment plan for common medical and surgical disorders, based on current guidelines and standard of care.
  • Develop clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities.
  • Demonstrate an ability to interpret scientific literature and apply findings to the practice of evidence-based medicine.

Program Competencies

  • Medical Knowledge
    • Appropriately diagnose common medical and surgical disease states.
    • Appropriately manage common medical and surgical disease states.
    • Order and interpret diagnostic studies utilized in medicine and surgery.
    • Demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    • Effectively communicate information to patients and members of the healthcare team.
  • Patient-Centered Care
    • Provide age-appropriate, patient-centered care, in a safe and effective manner.
    • Demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and technical skills needed for an entry-level PA.
    • Appropriately apply medical literature to evidence-based decisions for patient care.
  • Professionalism
    • Demonstrate a high-level of professionalism, accountability, and integrity.

Program Goals

Goal 1: Admit high-quality applicants who successfully complete the program within 27 months.

Goal 2: Recruit, admit, and train a diverse cohort of students.

Goal 3: Foster a culture of service and leadership.

Goal 4: Utilizing applied learning principles incorporated through Team-based Learning (TBL) and Case-based Learning (CBL) activities, the curriculum will immerse students in practical clinical cases throughout the didactic and clinical-year, to develop clinical reasoning skills and create self-directed learners.

Goal 5: The curriculum will incorporate both academic and non-academic resources and experiential learning opportunities to cultivate interpersonal skills and behaviors that align with our program philosophy. Incorporating the additional resources listed below will help to ensure students are not only intellectually sound, technically proficient, and PANCE prepared, but also demonstrate superior character with a high-level of professionalism, communication, responsibility, accountability, ethical practices, and sensitivity to diverse populations, which are needed to provide compassionate healthcare to all.

  • Professionalism rubrics.
  • Professionalism section of student performance evaluations.
  • PA 617 Applied Behavioral Medicine.
  • PA 635 Special Populations in Medicine.
  • Poverty simulation.
  • Community service hours.
  • Develop clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities.
  • Experiential learning opportunities (Sight Savers of America, Firehouse Shelter Interdisciplinary Screening Clinic).

Goal 6: Graduates will demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and technical skills needed for an entry-level PA.

Goal 7: Graduates will indicate satisfaction with the quality of education offered by the UAB MSPAS Program.

Goal 8: Upon completion of the program, students will feel prepared to transition into clinical practice.

Goal 9: Alumni agree that the UAB MSPAS Program prepared them to transition into clinical practice.

Program goals and outcome data can be found in the 2023 UAB MSPAS Outcomes and Goals Report.