Mission and Goals

Our Mission

Our mission is to develop physician assistants in the Jesuit tradition who realize their full potential as excellent clinicians and national leaders. We pursue this for ad majorem Dei gloriam, the greater glory of God, and the benefit of the human community.

An ideal graduate of our program is well-rounded, clinically and intellectually competent, committed to professional growth, spiritually centered, compassionate and dedicated to doing justice in generous service to others. Our graduates will be leaders in promoting health, wellness, and preventing disease in diverse healthcare settings and in their communities.

Department of PA Studies Goals

AAPA and MU Program Competencies

Student Educational Learning Outcomes


Goal 1: The program supports students academically during their physician assistant training in order for them to achieve their academic and professional goals.

  • Students are challenged with a rigorous medical curriculum while being supported by the faculty and administration through a low student to faculty ratio, academic advising and continued support.

Goal 2: The program recognizes students learn from a variety of teaching methods and employs these methods including: lectures, problem-based learning, small group experiences, standardized patient experiences, clinical rotations and self-reflection exercises. Starting with a thoughtful and fair admission process and continued support to the students throughout the program, we maintain a low attrition and deceleration rate.

Goal 3: Graduates of the program strive for a first-time passing rate of 100% on the PANCE exam.

Goal 4: Graduates of the program strive for a 100% employment rate by six months in each graduating class.

Goal 5: Prepare our graduates to promote the PA profession through their leadership, ethical practice, scholarship and service.

  • Graduates are leaders of the profession at the local, state, and national level.
  • Graduates provide compassionate, patient-centered care to a diverse population of patients.
  • Graduates foster integrity through accountability to patients, society, and the PA Profession.
  • Graduates meet all regulatory requirements for licensure and maintain their professional certification through completion of ongoing professional development.

Read how the Marquette PA program demonstrates its success in reaching its Program Goals.


Medical Knowledge

Medical knowledge includes the synthesis 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 investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations. Physician assistants are expected to understand, evaluate, and apply the following to clinical scenarios:

  • evidence-based medicine
  • scientific principles related to patient care
  • etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic process, and epidemiology for medical conditions
  • signs and symptoms of medical and surgical conditions
  • appropriate diagnostic studies
  • management of general medical and surgical conditions to include pharmacologic and other treatment modalities
  • interventions for prevention of disease and health promotion/maintenance
  • screening methods to detect conditions in an asymptomatic individual
  • history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate differential diagnoses

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Interpersonal and communication skills encompass the verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic exchange of information. Physician assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals within the health care system. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients
  • use effective communication skills to elicit and provide information
  • adapt communication style and messages to the context of the interaction
  • work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
  • demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety
  • accurately and adequately document information regarding care for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes

Patient Care

Patient care includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management. Physician assistants must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to provide patient-centered care
  • demonstrate compassionate and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
  • obtain essential and accurate information about their patients
  • make decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and informed clinical judgment
  • develop and implement patient management plans
  • counsel and educate patients and their families
  • perform medical and surgical procedures essential to their area of practice
  • provide health care services and education aimed at disease prevention and health maintenance
  • use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education


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 acknowledge 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
  • 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 abilities
  • self-reflection, critical curiosity, and initiative
  • healthy behaviors and life balance
  • commitment to the education of students and other health care professionals

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which physician assistants engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self- and practice-improvement. Physician assistants must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care 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
  • apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical literature and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
  • utilize information technology to manage information, access medical information, and support their own education
  • recognize and appropriately address personal biases, gaps in medical knowledge, and physical limitations in themselves and others

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 balances quality and cost, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient. PAs should work to improve the health care system of which their practices are a part. Physician assistants are expected to:

  • effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
  • understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care and use the systems effectively
  • 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 and effectiveness 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 effective, efficient patient care
  • recognize and appropriately address system biases that contribute to health care disparities
  • apply the concepts of population health to patient care


MU PA Learning Outcome #1: General Physical Exam:

Students will perform a comprehensive physical examination on the geriatric patient; adult patient; and pediatric patients including toddlers and newborns. The physical examination system components include:

Vital signs, General appearance, Skin, Head/Eye/Ear/Nose/Throat, Neck, Cardiac, Pulmonary, Abdominal, Genitourinary including rectal examination, pelvic examination in women and prostate examination in men, Peripheral Vascular, Neurologic, Musculoskeletal, and Psychiatric.

MU PA Learning Outcome #2: Complete History

Students will demonstrate the ability to obtain a complete medical history on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients including the following components: Complete History, Medications, Allergies with Reaction, Family History, and Health Maintenance.

MU PA Learning Outcome #3: Documentation of Complete History and Physical Exam

Students will demonstrate the ability to properly document a complete medical history and physical exam on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients inclusive of the above components.

MU PA Learning Outcome #4: Differential Diagnosis:

Students will formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis based on information obtained through a focused history and physical examination.

MU PA Learning Outcome #5: Interpersonal Communication - Patient Education:

Students will verbally communicate patient educational information. They will do so with clarity and accuracy at a level appropriate for the patient's health literacy.

MU PA Learning Outcome #6: Interpersonal Communication - Health Care Team Member:

Students will communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.

MU PA Learning Outcome #7: Professionalism:

Students will demonstrate professionalism in their clinical interactions with patients, faculty and mentors and colleagues.

MU PA Learning Outcome #8: Practice Based Learning:

Students will demonstrate oral and written proficiency in the presentation, critique, and synthesis of evidence based medical and scientific data for the purpose of practice – based improvements.

MU PA Learning Outcome #9: Systems Based Practice:

Students will demonstrate proficiency in knowledge of patient safety and procedural safety while partnering with supervising physicians and other health care providers. They will promote a safe environment for patient care recognizing systems based factors that may negatively impact patient care.

MU PA Learning Outcome #10: Patient Care:

Students will demonstrate sound clinical decisional making skills in their abilities to order and interpret diagnostic studies and to formulate patient management plans across the lifespan using current evidence based medicine.

Students must also demonstrate incremental competence in the 10 measured learning outcomes each semester to progress in the program, and for all 10 learning outcomes in summation for graduation requirements.

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