SOM MD Competencies

West Virginia University School of Medicine Outcomes for the Competent and Reflective Physician*


The West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine endeavors to educate physicians who can correctly diagnose medical problems, who can act on such diagnoses with care, compassion, understanding, and in the patient’s best interests in a moral and ethical fashion. Becoming a physician requires the earnest desire from students to learn and to think creatively because medicine is not the mere recitation of facts, but the application of vast amounts of information to solve complex problems. The medical student assumes responsibility for present and continued learning throughout one's professional career. It is the responsibility of the faculty to help the student to become a physician capable of practicing in any realm of medicine whether primary care, specialty practice, or academic medicine. To achieve this, the curriculum occurs in community and in ambulatory care settings as well as in the inpatient tertiary care setting.

The WVU School of Medicine acknowledges the work of the ACGME in developing its six core competencies and used them as a point of departure to develop the educational program objectives, below. These educational program objectives are tailored to WVU medical students and recognize the differences between the medical student and resident while maintaining a seamless transition from one phase of medical education to the next

With respect to each general competency area and the associated institutional educational learning objectives below, the graduating WVU medical student should be able to:

Patient Care: provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective and promote life-styles that promote improved health.

  1. Gather essential and accurate patient information, including a complete and appropriately organized medical history and physical examination.
  2. Evaluate patient information in order to formulate a complete and accurate differential diagnoses and apply appropriate diagnostic tests to confirm diagnosis.
  3. Develop patient management plans that are evidenced-based and considerate of cultural and ethnic preferences.
  4. Counsel and educate patients and their families about prevention strategies, diagnostic tests, treatment options/plans, and patient orders/prescriptions.
  5. Perform medical procedures appropriately and professionally.
  6. Partner with patients to prevent health problems and improve health status.
  7. Collaborate with team of health care professionals to provide patient-focused, preventive, acute, chronic, continuing, rehabilitative, and end-of-life care.

Medical Knowledge: demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, and apply this knowledge to patient care.

  1. Describe normal structure and function of the human body and each organ system over the lifespan.
  2. Describe molecular, cellular, and biochemical mechanisms of homeostasis.
  3. Describe normal cognitive and social growth and development of humans as well as diagnosis of abnormal cognitive and social development.
  4. Describe causes of altered structure and function of organ systems and tissues that result in disease (genetic, developmental, nutritional, toxic, infectious, inflammatory, neoplastic, degenerative, traumatic, and behavioral).
  5. Describe foundations of diagnostic methods, therapeutic interventions, outcomes, and prevention with respect to specific disease processes in individuals and populations.
  6. Describe genetic and physiologic basis of individual patient response to drugs.
  7. Describe foundation principles of epidemiology, statistics, and ethics as they apply to diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  8. Explain the effect of social determinants, health behaviors, and preventative measures on health status and disease of individuals and populations.
  9. Demonstrate use of scientific method and critical evaluation of scientific literature in establishing causation, diagnosis, and therapy of disease.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their role in the care of pateints, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve their role in patient care based on constant self-evaluation and learning.

  1. Locate, appraise and assimilate evidence from scientific studies including basic, clinical, translational, and community (population) based research
  2. Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to appraise studies.
  3. Use information technology to manage information and support patient care decisions.
  4. Develop the skills necessary for lifelong learning, as evidence by demonstrating independent and self-directed study.
  5. Utilize strategies to identify and analyze strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one's knowledge, collaboration skills, and professionalism.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills: demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, peers, and health professionals.

  1. Communicate effectively and demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors with patients and families across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  2. Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients.
  3. Provide an accurate and complete oral presentation of a patient encounter.
  4. Demonstrate effective communication and collaboration with all members of a health care team.
  5. Write timely, legible, accurate and complete documentation of a clinical encounter in written or electronic format.

Professionalism: demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles.

  1. Demonstrate respect, compassion, integrity, responsiveness to needs of patients, society, and profession that supersedes self-interest.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles, including provisionor withholding of care, confidentiality, informed consent, and respect for patient privacy and autonomy.
  3. Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in culture, age, gender, race, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, and health.
  4. Demonstrate timeliness and punctuality in the execution of learning and clinical duties.

Systems-Based Practice: demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to learn about other resources in the system to promote optimal health care.

  1. Define the roles of health care professionals and demonstrate how inter professional collaboration improves patient safety, patient-centered outcomes, and system performance.
  2. Describe and distinguish effective methods of organizing, financing, and providing health care.
  3. Describe how the prevention and treatment of healthcare disparities may affect individual patients, populations, and the healthcare system.
  4. Advocate for quality patient care, as evidenced by recognizing system limitations and failures and contributing to healthcare safety and improvement.