Core Competencies

Program competencies

The role of the physician assistant is demonstrated in a wide range of organizational and clinical practice settings alongside physicians and other care providers. The acquisition of the following core competencies for new physician assistants is required in the profession.

The elements within each of the competency domains that appear below have been adopted by the faculty of the IU MPAS program to communicate expected entry-levels of performance by graduates.

Provide patient-centered care that is appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

  1. Gather essential and accurate information about patients and their condition through medical history taking and performing complete and focused physical examination. (PC 1)
  2. Order and interpret diagnostic studies. (PC 2)
  3. Generate a differential diagnosis and select the most likely diagnosis. (PC 3)
  4. Develop and carry out patient management plans. (PC 4)
  5. Perform the clinical and technical skills including procedures with appropriate supervision. (PC 5)
  6. Uses consultants and referrals appropriately. (PC 6)
  7. Counsel and educate patients and their families to empower them to participate in their care and enable shared decision making. (PC 7)
  8. Organize and prioritize responsibilities to provide care that is safe, effective, and efficient. (PC 8)

Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological, and social-behavior sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.

  1. Demonstrate an investigatory and analytic approach to clinical situations utilizing clinical reasoning and problem solving. (KP 1)
  2. Apply principles of medical science and clinical medicine to patient care. (KP 2)
  3. Apply principles of epidemiology to patient care. (KP 3)
  4. Apply principles of social and behavioral science to patient care. (KP 4)

Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and lifelong learning.

  1. Identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one’s knowledge and expertise. (PBLI 1)
  2. Set learning and improvement goals. (PBLI 2)
  3. Identify and perform learning activities that address one’s gaps in knowledge, skills, or attitudes. (PBLI 3)
  4. Systematically analyze practice using quality improvement methods and implement changes with the goal of practice improvement. (PBLI 4)
  5. Incorporate feedback into day-to-day practice. (PBLI 5)
  6. Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to patients’ health problems. (PBLI 6)
  7. Use information technology to optimize learning. (PBLI 7)
  8. Continually identify, analyze, and implement new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products, or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes. (PBLI 8)

Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals.

  1. Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. (ICS 1)
  2. Communicate effectively with other health professionals. (ICS 2)
  3. Maintain clear, accurate, timely and legible medical records. (ICS 3)
  4. Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in difficult conversations. (ICS 4)
  5. Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions. (ICS 5)

Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles.

  1. Demonstrate compassion, academic integrity, respect for others, intellectual honesty, and professional conduct. (PF 1)
  2. Demonstrate respect for patient privacy. (PF 2)
  3. Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession. (PF 3)
  4. Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population. (PF 4)
  5. Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles. (PF 5)
  6. Give and receive constructive feedback. (PF 6)
  7. Demonstrate basic PA professional responsibilities. (PF 7)

Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

  1. Work effectively and coordinate patient care in various health care delivery settings and systems. (SBP 1)
  2. Incorporate considerations of cost awareness and risk-benefit analysis in patient and population-based care. (SBP 2)
  3. Advocate for quality patient care and optimal health care systems. (SBP 3)
  4. Participate in identifying system errors and implementing potential system solutions. (SBP 4)

Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient and population centered care.

  1. Work with other health care professionals to establish and maintain a climate of mutual respect. (IPC 1)
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of various health care professionals. (IPC 2)
  3. Demonstrate the team approach to patient centered care beyond the traditional physician-PA team approach. (IPC 3)
  4. Participate in interprofessional teams to provide patient and population centered care. (IPC 4)

Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth.

  1. Demonstrate self-awareness and the ability to seek help to pursue personal wellness. (PPD 1)
  2. Manage conflict between personal and professional responsibilities. (PPD 2)
  3. Practice flexibility and maturity in adjusting to change. (PPD 3)
  4. Demonstrate trustworthiness when one is responsible for patient care. (PPD 4)
  5. Demonstrate self-confidence that puts patients, families, and members of the health care team at ease. (PPD 5)
  6. Respond to ambiguity in clinical health care by using appropriate resources in dealing with uncertainty. (PPD 6)


Physician assistants in Indiana are regulated through the Physician Assistant Committee of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA).

Practicing as a PA in Indiana requires the following:

  • Graduation from an accredited MPAS program
  • Passing the PANCE
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Approval of license application and required support—including identification of collaborative physician(s)