Program Competencies

Program Competencies (PAEA Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates)
UAMS Physician Assistant Program

C1.     Patient Centered Practice Knowledge

Graduates will be able to recognize healthy versus ill patients in the context of the patients’ lives and determine the stage of illness — acute, at risk of illness (emerging), or chronic. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to utilize up-to-date scientific evidence to inform clinical reasoning and clinical judgment ”


C1.1 Recognize normal and abnormal health states

C1.2 Discern among acute, chronic, and emerging disease states

C1.3 Elicit and understand the stories of individual patients and apply the context of their lives (including environmental influences, cultural norms, socioeconomic factors, and beliefs) when determining healthy versus ill patients

C1.4 Develop meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and their families

C1.5 Determine differential diagnosis, order interpret laboratory and imaging, perform necessary core duty procedures, diagnose, treat and manage illness

C1.6 Partner with patients to address issues of ongoing signs, symptoms, or health concerns that remain over time without clear diagnosis despite evaluation and treatment

Essential Skills

  • Information gathering
  • History-taking
  • Physical examination
  • Discernment of important versus extraneous information
  • Prioritization of actions and clinical care decisions based on information available and the patient’s beliefs about their care
  • Empathetic listening
  • Relationship building
  • Evidence-based decision-making
  • Basic clinical procedural competence
  • Therapeutic management and planning

C2.     Society and Population Health

Graduates will be able to recognize and understand that the influences of the larger community may affect the health of patients and integrate knowledge of social determinants of health into care decisions. ”


C2.1 Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, and socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants affecting the health of the individual and community being served

C2.2 Recognize the potential impacts of the community, biology, and genetics on patients and incorporate them into decisions of care

C2.3 Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for removing barriers to health, such as health literacy

C2.4 Understand the role of structural disparities in causing illness

C2.5 Engage members of the health care team in the surveillance of community resources to sustain and improve health

C2.6 Engage the health care team in determining the adequacy of individual and community resources

C2.7 Reflect on personal and professional limitations in providing care

C2.8 Elicit and hear the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life (including environmental influences, culture, and disease) when determining healthy versus ill patients

C2.9 Understand and apply the fundamental principles of epidemiology

C2.10 Recognize the value of the work of monitoring and reporting for quality improvement

C2.11 Use appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient care

Essential Skills

  • Patient advocacy
  • Shared decision making
  • Self-advocacy
  • Self-agency
  • Active community engagement
  • Resourcefulness
  • Relationship development
  • Self-awareness
  • Interpersonal skills including influence, empathy, and humility
  • Awareness of unconscious biases
  • Information gathering
  • Discernment of important versus extraneous information
  • Prioritization of action steps based on information available
  • Awareness of biases and attitudes towards others
  • Empathetic listening

C3.     Health Literacy and Communication

Graduates will be able to communicate with patients as partners who engage in shared decision-making and who communicate, interpret, and express themselves as individuals with unique personal, cultural, and social values.”


C3.1 Establish meaningful therapeutic relationships with patients and families that allow for a deeper connection and create space for exploration of the patients’ needs and goals to deliver culturally competent care

C3.2 Interpret information so that patients can understand and make meaning out of the information conveyed to them

C3.3 Recognize the need for and governing mandates that ensure patients have access to unbiased, professional interpreters and appropriate resources when barriers to communication arise

C3.4 Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions

C3.5 Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public

C3.6 Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs

C3.7 Organize and communicate information with patients, families, community members, and health team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible, and checking to ensure understanding

Essential Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Knowing when to consult
  • Awareness of unconscious biases
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Active listening
  • Patient education
  • Cultural competency
  • Health literacy
  • Trust-building
  • Emotional intelligence

C4.     Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership

Graduates will be able to recognize that the patient is at the center of all health care decisions and to partner with the patient to define the patient’s health care goals.”


C4.1 Articulate one’s role and responsibilities to patients, families, communities, and other professionals

C4.2 Advocate for the focus of the health care team being on the needs of the patient

C4.3 Assure patients that they are being heard

C4.4 Ensure patients’ needs are the focus over self and others

C4.5 Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of new health care knowledge and practices

C4.6 Recognize when referrals are needed and make them to the appropriate health care provider

C4.7 Coordinate care

C4.8 Develop relationships and effectively communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams

C4.9 Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available health professionals to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable

C4.10 Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize health and patient care

C4.11 Engage diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific health and health care needs of patients and populations

C4.12 Describe how professionals in health and other fields can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health interventions to optimize population health

Essential Skills

  • Interpersonal skills including humility and beneficence
  • Self-awareness
  • Effective communication
  • Empathetic listening
  • Advocacy
  • Teamwork
  • Relationship building
  • Care planning

C5.     Professional and Legal Aspects of health Care

Graduates will be able to practice medicine in a beneficent manner, recognizing and adhering to standards of care while attuned to advancing social justice”


C5.1 Articulate standard of care practice

C5.2 Admit mistakes and errors

C5.3 Participate in difficult conversations with patients and colleagues

C5.4 Recognize one’s limits and establish healthy boundaries to support healthy partnerships

C5.5 Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care

C5.6 Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest

C5.7 Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession

C5.8 Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment

Essential Skills

  • Interpersonal skills including humility, compassion
  • Empathetic listening
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Humanism
  • Responsibility
  • Help-seeking behaviors
  • Self-advocacy

C6.     Health Care Finance and Systems

Graduates will be able to articulate the essential aspects of value-based health care and apply this understanding to the delivery of safe and quality care.”


C6.1 Recognize financial implications to the provision of healthcare

C6.2 Articulate individual providers’ value-add to the health care team in terms of cost

C6.3 Appreciate the value of the collaborative physician/PA relationship

C6.4 Understand different types of health systems, funding streams, and insurance, including the role of Medicare and Medicare as payors

Essential Skills

  • Systems thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership
  • Stewardship of resources
  • Help-seeking behaviors
  • Reimbursement
  • Coding
  • Care coordination
  • Technology fluency
  • Patient and personal safety
  • Quality improvement
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Practice-based improvement