OLOL College

Program Goals & Objectives

  1. Medical Knowledge

    Medical knowledge includes an understanding of pathophysiology, patient presentation, differential diagnosis, patient management, surgical principles, health promotion and disease prevention. 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 investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations.

    Physician assistants are expected to:
    • understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic process, and epidemiology for medical conditions
    • identify signs and symptoms of medical conditions select and interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies
    • manage general medical and surgical conditions to include understanding the indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions and adverse reactions of pharmacologic agents and other relevant treatment modalities identify the appropriate site of care for presenting conditions, including
    • identifying emergent cases and those requiring referral or admission
    • identify appropriate interventions for prevention of conditions
    • identify the appropriate methods to detect conditions in an asymptomatic individual
    • differentiate between the normal and the abnormal in anatomic, physiological, laboratory findings and other diagnostic data
    • appropriately use history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis
    • provide appropriate care to patients with chronic conditions
  2. Interpersonal and Communicative Skills

    Interpersonal and communication skills encompass verbal, nonverbal and written exchange of information. Physician assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, their patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and the health care system.

    Physician assistants are expected to:
    • create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients
    • use effective listening, nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills to elicit and provide information
    • appropriately adapt communication style and messages to the context of the individual patient interaction
    • work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
    • apply an understanding of human behavior
    • demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety
    • accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality and financial purposes
  3. Patient Care

    Patient care includes age-appropriate assessment, evaluation and management. Physician assistants must demonstrate care that is effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness.

    Physician assistants are expected to:
    • work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to provide patient-centered care
    • demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
    • gather essential and accurate information about their patients
    • 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
    • competently perform medical and surgical procedures considered essential in the area of practice
    • provide health care services and education aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health
  4. Professionalism

    Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one’s own. Physician assistants must know their professional and personal limitations. Professionalism also requires that PAs practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency or mental illness. 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 are expected to demonstrate:
    • understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant
    • professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers
    • respect, compassion, and integrity
    • responsiveness to the needs of patients and society
    • accountability to patients, society, and the profession
    • commitment to excellence and on-going professional development
    • commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care,
    • confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices
    • sensitivity and responsiveness to patients’ culture, age, gender, and disabilities
    • self-reflection, critical curiosity and initiative
  5. Systems-Based Practice

    Systems-based practice encompasses the societal, organizational and economic environments in which health care is delivered. Physician assistants must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that is of optimal value. PAs should work to improve the larger health care system of which their practices are a part.

    Physician assistants are expected to:
    • use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education
    • effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
    • understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care
    • practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care
    • advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
    • partner with supervising physicians, health care managers and other health care providers to assess, coordinate, and improve the delivery of health care and patient outcomes
    • accept responsibility for promoting a safe environment for patient care and recognizing and correcting systems-based factors that negatively impact patient care
    • apply medical information and clinical data systems to provide more effective, efficient patient care
    • use the systems responsible for the appropriate payment of services
  6. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

    Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which clinicians engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, medical literature and other information resources for the purpose of self-improvement. Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate and improve their patient care. Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which clinicians engage in critical practices.

    Physician assistants are expected to:
    • analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in concert with other members of the health care delivery team
    • locate, appraise, and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients’ health problems
    • obtain and apply information about their own population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn
    • apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
    • apply information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information, and support their own education
    • facilitate the learning of students and/or other health care professionals
    • recognize and appropriately address gender, cultural, cognitive, emotional and other biases; gaps in medical knowledge; and physical limitations in themselves and others

Physician Assistant Competences
Vers. 3.5 (3/22/05) (www.nccpa.net)


Physician Associates must have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to render a wide spectrum of patient care in a broad variety of clinical situations. Consequently, it is essential that in its admission process, the Physician Associate Program assess an applicant’s physical and emotional capabilities as well as his/her scholastic accomplishments and academic potential in order to assure that the applicant might meet the full demands of the Program’s curriculum and graduate as a skilled and effective healthcare provider. In making this assessment, the Program must consider the applicant’s current physical and emotional status, any cumulative or progressive disability, and any drug-induced impairment that may pose obstacles to the safe application of his/her knowledge and skills to the provision of quality care or prevent effective interaction with patients. Applicants will be reviewed individually in this regard on a case-by-case basis. No otherwise qualified individual with a handicap will be automatically excluded from admission. Students found in violation of the Technical Standards are at risk for dismissal from the program.

An OLOLC PA Program student must have five varieties of abilities and skills: observation, communication, motor, intellectual, and behavioral/social. Each standard is defined below and is the minimum competence in that area.

  1. Observation: Students must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the lecture hall, the laboratory, the outpatient setting, and at the patient’s bedside. Sensory skills necessary to perform a physical examination are required including functional vision, hearing, smell, and tactile sensation. All these senses must be adequate to observe a patient’s condition and to elicit information through procedures regularly required in a physical examination such as inspection, auscultation and palpation.
  2. Communication: Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, their families and clinicians in both academic and healthcare settings. They must be able to speak and hear clearly as well as show evidence of effective written and verbal communication skills in the English language including the ability to read. They must be able to describe changes in a patient’s mood, activity and posture, and perceive non-verbal communications.
  3. Motor: Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to execute movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency care to patients, including but not limited to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of wounds, and the performance of obstetrical maneuvers. They must be able to negotiate patient care environments and to move between settings, such as clinic, classroom building, and hospital. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is also required as long periods of sitting, standing and/or rapid ambulation, are essential to classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience.
  4. Intellectual - Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities: Students must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate all information received by whatever sense is employed and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of physician associates, requires that they be able to measure, calculate, and reason. In addition they must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. They must be able to read and understand medical literature. They must be able to demonstrate appropriate judgment in patient assessment, diagnosis, monitoring, evaluation and intervention including planning, time management and use of resources. In order to complete the Physician Associate Program, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in medical problem solving and patient care.

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