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.

  1. Gather and interpret a complete and appropriately organized medical history, which incorporates cultural features for comprehensive patient care.
  2. Perform accurate, relevant, comprehensive and focused physical and mental status examinations.
  3. Gather, interpret, and prioritize information for patients requiring urgent or emergent care and initiate appropriate critical interventions. 
  4. Select and interpret appropriate physical examination findings, diagnostic tests, laboratory tests, ultra-sonographic imaging and standard imaging studies to formulate a complete and accurate differential diagnosis.
  5. Develop patient treatment and management plans that are evidenced-based and consider cultural, ethnic and individual patient preferences for shared decision-making.
  6. Counsel and educate patients and their families about prevention strategies, diagnostic tests, prognostic data, treatment options/plans, evidenced-based literature and patient orders/prescriptions.
  7. Provide patient care that is compassionate, safe, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems.
  8. Perform basic medical procedures appropriately and professionally.
  9. Employ opportunities for early interventions to educate patients about disease prevention strategies taking into account barriers to change.
  10. Collaborate with an inter professional team to provide preventive, acute, chronic, rehabilitative, and end-of-life care that is patient-focused and cost-effective.

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

  1. Describe the normal structure, development, function, and relationships among the organ systems of the human body.
  2. Describe the role of biochemical, physiological, neurological and immunological mechanisms in maintaining homeostasis.
  3. Describe and recognize normal and abnormal psychosocial development and cognitive function across the human lifespan.
  4. Describe the alterations of structure and function or organ systems and tissues that characterize disease (e.g., genetic, developmental, environmental, nutritional, toxic, infectious, inflammatory, neoplastic, degenerative, traumatic, and behavioral).
  5. Describe foundations of diagnostic methods, therapeutic interventions, and prevention with respect to specific disease processes in individuals and populations.
  6. Describe genetic and physiologic basis of individual patient responses to medical therapeutics.
  7. Describe and apply foundational principles of epidemiology, statistics, and ethics to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  8. Explain the effect of social determinants, nutrition, health behaviors, and preventive measures on health status and disease of individuals and populations.
  9. Describe the scientific method and demonstrate a critical and ethical evaluation of basic, epidemiological, clinical and translational research findings and their application to societal problems and acute, chronic, rehabilitative, end-of-life and primary care.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their role in the care of patients, to appraise and assinilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve their contributions to patient care based through reflective and self-directed 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 health literacy, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  2. Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients and their families.
  3. Explain the key elements of informed consent to patients and their families, including the indications, contraindications, risks, benefits, alternatives, and potential complications of  interventions and procedures.
  4. Provide and interpret accurate, prioritized, relevant and complete oral presentations of a patient encounter to effectively transition patient care.
  5. Demonstrate effectively the following communication skills to maintain a professional and safe healthcare environment: negotiation of conflicts within a healthcare team and maintain respect for all members of a healthcare team.
  6. Communicate timely, accurate, relevant, complete, succinct and confidential documentation of clinical encounters and patient transitions 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, and responsiveness in all interactions with interprofessionals, colleagues, patients and their families and society.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to ethical principles, including provision or 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, national origin, age, gender, race, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, veteran status and health.
  4. Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients.
  5. Demonstrate the qualities and practices required to maintain personal wellness and resilience while pursuing lifelong learning and professional growth.
  6. Demonstrate honesty, timeliness, punctuality, integrity and accountability in the process of learning and completing professional and clinical responsibilities.
  7. Demonstrate a commitment to uphold and sustain the WVUSOM Code of Professionalism.

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. Describe the larger context and system of healthcare and identify how physicians may take a leadership role in its development.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and mobilize resources, interpret extant and emerging policies, and identify forces in the healthcare system that influence disparities in health, access to healthcare and promotion of optimal healthcare.
  3. Define the roles of healthcare professionals and demonstrate how inter professional collaboration improves patient safety, patient-centered outcomes, and system performance.
  4. Describe and distinguish effective methods of organizing, financing, and providing healthcare.
  5. Describe how the prevention and treatment of healthcare disparities may affect individual patients, populations, and the healthcare system.
  6. Recognize system limitations and failures, and identify ways to report patient safety concerns and potential solutions in a timely manner.