PA Program Competencies

Competencies & Student Learning Outcomes


The Wagner College PA Program has developed a sequential building-block curriculum designed to prepare its graduates to practice as competent PAs and providers of quality patient-centered care.  The curriculum is based on competencies recognized by the program as important components of a comprehensive curriculum and identified as required for entering clinical practice.  The foundation of the curriculum is based on four (4) domains, and their respective ten (10) subdomains. These domains represent the highest and broadest tiers of the hierarchical structure of the curriculum with each step below narrowing in scope.  Student learning outcomes (SLOs), courses, course learning outcomes (LOs), course instructional objectives (IOs), and respective assessments are categorized under the broader competencies.

  1. Medical Knowledge for Clinical Practice:

Medical knowledge for clinical practice encompasses the knowledge in health sciences, social and behavioral sciences, clinical medicine, and population health and healthcare systems and the applicability of that knowledge to the practice of medicine. (Medical Knowledge for Clinical Practice)

Domain:               Medical Knowledge (MK) for Clinical Practice

Subdomains:      MK – Medical Science

MK – Social & Behavioral Sciences

MK – Clinical Medicine*

MK – Population Health & Healthcare Systems


  • Incorporate the concepts and scientific principles of the medical sciences into the knowledge required for clinical practice.
  • Incorporate the concepts of social and behavioral sciences into the knowledge required for clinical practice.
  • Incorporate the concepts and principles of clinical medicine into the knowledge required for clinical practice.
  • Acknowledge the roles of human sexuality, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and race; and the importance of understanding those roles in clinical practice.
  • Respond to patient needs, considering the impact of social determinants of health and their impact on clinical medicine.
  • Counsel and educate patients and families regarding population health concerns, promoting health while advocating for disease prevention.
  • Consider the needs of patients with disabilities, special needs, and religious/spiritual requirements.
  • Coordinate patient follow up for assessment of compliance, response to medication treatment, and need for modifications.
  • Recognize the importance of public health systems, health promotion, and disease prevention.
  • Understand the need for maintaining quality within the business of healthcare including economic considerations, appropriate documentation, and health policy.
  1. Clinical Practice Skills:

Clinical practice skills refer to the effective and safe performance of appropriate ‘clinical and technical skills’ while also providing quality patient centered care. (Clinical Practice Skills)

Domain:               Clinical Practice Skills (CPS)

Subdomains:      CPS – Clinical & Technical Skills*

CPS – Patient Centered Care


  • Elicit and interpret comprehensive histories from diverse patients across the lifespan in various settings , with conditions of varying severity.
  • Perform problem-oriented comprehensive physical examinations of diverse patients, in various settings, across the lifespan, with conditions of varying severity.
  • Demonstrate competency in patient care skills utilized in a variety of practice settings.
  • Order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory studies to screen for medical conditions or formulate differential diagnoses.
  • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic technical procedures associated with the management of patients’ medical presentations or conditions.
  • Formulate differential diagnoses based on evaluation of patient history and physical examination. 2.7 Develop appropriate management plans for acute and chronic conditions based on standards of care.


  1. Professional Practice:

Professional practice encompasses interpersonal and professional communication that is respectful, empathetic, and effective in the exchange of information with patients and families, as well as members of interprofessional collaborative teams.  It refers to professional behaviors that demonstrate integrity, responsibility, and compassion, while also maintaining adherence to professional standards, legal and regulatory requirements, and codes of ethics. (Professional Practice)

Domain:               Professional Practice (PP)

Subdomains:      PP – Interpersonal Communication & Interprofessional Collaboration*

PP – Professionalism & Ethics*


  • Demonstrate appropriate interpersonal communication skills with patients, family members, healthcare team members, and peers.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors with patients, family members, healthcare team members, and peers to include areas such as intellectual honesty, academic integrity, and issues affecting professional practice.
  • Utilize interpersonal skills and professional behaviors as a member of a patient-centered healthcare team.
  • Adhere to ethical standards and demonstrate sensitivity towards diverse populations.
  • Understand the importance of compliance with federal and state laws and regulations regarding clinical practice, informed consent, and other patients’ rights.


  1. Clinical Reasoning:

Clinical reasoning is the analytical approach to improvements in reasoning. It utilizes ‘clinical reasoning and problem solving’ and investigative research skills to assess clinical practices and promote effective, high quality, and equitable patient care.

Domain:               Clinical Reasoning (CR)

Subdomains:      CR – Clinical Reasoning & Problem Solving*

CR – Research & Evidence-Based Medicine


  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills during clinical case scenarios and patient-centered care activities.
  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills during supervised clinical practice experiences.
  • Search, analyze, and appraise medical evidence, including medical literature and its statistical results, and relate to clinical practice.
  • Participate in research and scholarly activities that promote the profession and best clinical practices.


The curriculum has been structured to provide the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for achieving the above competencies.  The progress of students in meeting these competencies is monitored through various assessment tools, as they progress through the curriculum.

*In addition, the summative evaluation verifies the meeting of these competencies.  This evaluation occurs within four (4) months of graduation and verifies preparedness for entering clinical practice.