Physician Assistant Program Competencies

The following are the Stanford School of Medicine Master of Science in PA Studies program’s competencies.  These competencies were developed based on the framework of the program’s mission and goals along with awareness of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA)’s Core Competencies for New PA Graduates and the Physician Assistant Competencies which were written collaboratively by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and The National Commission on Certification of the Physician Assistant (NCCPA), and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC- PA.) 

The Stanford School of Medicine Master of Science in PA Studies program uses achievement of the following competencies as a guide for curriculum development and evaluation of the success of the program and its graduates. Upon completion of the Stanford School of Medicine Master of Science in PA Studies program, graduates are expected to achieve the following competencies:


1. Medical Knowledge and Clinical Skills

a.   Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal health states across all organ systems. 

b.   Discern among acute, chronic, and emergent disease states. 

c.   Demonstrate knowledge of the anatomy, disease etiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, differential diagnoses, management, and appropriate interventions for general medical and surgical conditions.

d.   Demonstrate ability to obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination.

e.   Demonstrate ability to conduct a virtual encounter.

f.    Perform basic primary care diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

g.   Order appropriate diagnostic laboratory and radiographic tests and provide or obtain accurate interpretations.

h.   Develop differential diagnosis and treatment plans that include pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions.

i.    Implement appropriate strategies for disease prevention and health care maintenance. 

j.    Utilize evidence-based medicine to guide clinical decision-making.

k.   Demonstrate ability to provide appropriate patient education.


2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

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

b.   Apply the core principles of medical ethics to medical and health care decisions.

c.   Provide medical care that is respectful, ethical considerate, empathetic, and equitable.

d.   Demonstrate the ability to provide effective verbal and nonverbal communication with patients. 

e.   Review medical records, complete written documentation, and communicate diagnostic findings and management strategies in a timely manner.


3. Health Care Finance

a.   Demonstrate understanding of the basics of coding and billing.

b.  Understand different types of health systems and insurance types.

c.   Recognize the financial implications of clinical decision making and treatment plans.


4. Professionalism and Leadership

a.  Demonstrate understanding of professional responsibilities around licensure, credentialing, reimbursement, advocacy, and laws, policies, and regulations regarding medical practice.

b.  Demonstrate understanding of emotional intelligence and communication skills that establish a personal leadership style.

c.   Demonstrate understanding of the ability to shift leadership style to meet specific professional challenges.

d.  Demonstrate strong reading, writing and analytic skills.

e.   Demonstrate professionalism, integrity, honesty, and respect for patient privacy and confidentiality.

f.    Understand the risk factors for burn out and the importance of one’s own health and well-being.