Duke PA Program Competencies

The Duke PA Program competencies represent the requisite medical knowledge, interpersonal skills, clinical and technical skills, professional behaviors, and clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities each student must satisfactorily demonstrate in order to graduate from the Duke PA Program.

The development and framework of these competencies was informed by the AAPA 2019 Draft Competencies for the PA Profession, the PAEA Core Competencies for New Physician Graduates, and guided by the mission and values of the Duke PA Program.

The Duke PA Program competencies are organized into the 5 core domains outlined below.

Medical Knowledge

Graduates of the Duke PA program will be able to apply comprehensive knowledge of biologic and clinical sciences to provide acute, chronic, urgent, and emergent, patient-centered care to include women’s health, prenatal care, and care across the life span (infants, children, adolescents, adult, and the elderly).


MK1: Apply principles of basic and clinical science, including anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and genetics to identify, diagnose, and provide patient centered care to healthy and ill patients.

MK2: Recognize the etiology, risk factors, and epidemiology of various medical conditions.

MK3: Select, interpret, and apply diagnostic studies to inform clinical decision-making related to patient care.

MK4: Differentiate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment strategies, including patient education and counseling, in caring for healthy and/or ill patients who present with various medical conditions.

Interpersonal Skills

Graduates of the Duke PA program will be able to communicate effectively with patients, families and health team members, incorporating cultural humility and compassion to build meaningful therapeutic and interprofessional relationships.


IS1 Use effective communication skills to elicit and provide information to patients, families, and health team members.

IS2 Establish rapport with patients and families to build meaningful, therapeutic relationships.

IS3 Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in order to provide care that is responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other needs.

IS4 Establish respectful working relationships and interact effectively with all members of the health care team.

Clinical and Technical Skills

Graduates of the Duke PA program will be able to demonstrate the clinical and technical skills required to provide age-appropriate assessment, evaluation and management of patients.


CTS 1 Conduct effective, patient-centered history-taking and physical examination for comprehensive and problem-focused patient visits.

CTS 2 Convey aspects of a patient encounter to all health care team members through accurate and timely written and verbal communication.

CTS 3 Perform procedural and clinical skills considered essential for entry into PA practice.

CTS 4 Counsel and educate patients and families from diverse backgrounds to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making.

Professional Behaviors

Graduates of the Duke PA program will be able to demonstrate integrity, deep understanding of the practice environment, and a commitment to lifelong learning that enables them to provide high quality, equitable care for individuals and communities.


PB1 Work collaboratively with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams to optimize team member roles and coordinate care.

PB2 Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients, including maintaining confidentiality, patient autonomy, and informed consent in the delivery of team-based care.

PB3 Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment, and laws and regulations regarding professional practice.

PB4 Approach the provision of quality care with consideration to financial impact, safety, and cost-effective resource allocation.

PB5 Recognize the impact of societal, psychosocial and cultural influences on health care and health outcomes, in order to care for patients and communities.

PB6 Utilize information technology to locate and evaluate evidence to inform clinical reasoning and medical decision-making.

PB7 Analyze practice performance and engage in quality improvement activities.

PB8 Demonstrate individual accountability and ability to recognize personal limitations, admit mistakes and errors, and accept constructive feedback.

PB9 Demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning and development, applying new knowledge and skills to patient care.

Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving

Graduates of the Duke PA program will be able to analyze and synthesize relevant clinical, diagnostic, cultural, and contextual information in order to diagnose and manage patients across the lifespan (prenatal, infant, children, adolescents, adult, and the elderly). 


CRPS1 Synthesize information acquired through all aspects of patient encounters and the medical literature to develop appropriate differential diagnoses and management plans for acute, chronic, and emergent health conditions.

CRPS2 Interpret data collected from diagnostic, laboratory, and imaging studies and procedures to accurately diagnose acute, chronic, and emergent health conditions.

CRPS3 Formulate health management strategies, including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies, and patient education, in the prevention and treatment of acute, chronic, and emergent conditions.

CRPS4 Integrate understanding of cultural, socioeconomic, environmental, and other population level impacts on health into medical decision-making and the development of individualized care plans.