Learning Objectives

Washington University School of Medicine medical student competency-based learning objectives

Washington University School of Medicine provides students with a supportive, stimulating and challenging environment in which to acquire a thorough foundation in scientific medicine and develop skills and professional attitudes necessary for the practice of medicine at the highest possible level of excellence. In addition, the medical school fosters a commitment to collegiality, respect of individuality, community involvement and leadership through many extracurricular organizations and activities supported by the school. The educational program is designed to ensure that each student will demonstrate the following:

I. Medical knowledge

Medical students must demonstrate knowledge of core concepts and principles of human biology and genetics, the scientific foundations of medicine and the causations, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in individuals and diverse populations.

MK-1   Demonstrate knowledge of normal human structure and function at the molecular, genetic, cellular, tissue, organ-system and whole-body level in growth, development, and health maintenance.

MK-2  Describe the basic mechanisms involved in the causation and treatment of human disease and their influence on clinical presentation and therapy.

MK-3  Demonstrate knowledge of the epidemiology of common diseases.

MK-4  Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of ethnicity and culture, socioeconomic factors, and other social factors on health, disease, and individual patient approaches to health care.

MK-5  Describe the basic scientific and ethical principles of clinical and translational research.

II. Patient care

Medical students must demonstrate the ability to provide appropriate patient care in a multidisciplinary setting for the promotion of health and treatment of health problems across the human life span.

PC-1  Obtain appropriate medical histories that include psychosocial and behavioral factors that influence health.

PC-2  Perform accurate physical examinations.

PC-3  Perform basic procedures necessary for the practice of medicine.

PC-4   Apply the scientific method to the practice of medicine including the processes of problem identification, data collection, hypothesis formulation, and the application of deductive reasoning to problem solving, clinical reasoning, and decision-making.

PC-5   Integrate collected clinical information, including history, physical examination, and relevant laboratory, radiologic, and other studies, to develop and carry out with supervision, appropriate, individualized diagnostic and treatment plans for patients across the broad spectrum of acute and chronic conditions.

PC-6   Perform basic risk assessments and formulate plans to promote patient wellness across the human lifespan.

PC-7   Counsel and educate patients and their families based upon consideration of patient lifestyle, culture, concomitant medical conditions, psychosocial, and socioeconomic factors.

III. Interpersonal and communication skills

Medical students must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively with members of the medical community and with patients and their families from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. (ED-10)

ICS-1   Demonstrate respectful and effective verbal and non-verbal interpersonal communication skills with patients.

ICS-2   Discuss diagnostic and treatment options in a manner that will facilitate the participation of patients and their families in shared decision-making.

ICS-3  Communicate effectively with members, including both physician and non-physician professionals, of the health care team.

ICS-4  Maintain accurate and thorough medical records and written documents.

IV. Professionalism

Medical students must demonstrate a commitment to professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical behaviors, and sensitivity to patients of diverse backgrounds.

PROF-1  Maintain a professionally appropriate demeanor, exhibit high standards of professional integrity, and demonstrate an awareness of potential conflicts of interest.

PROF-2   Apply legal and ethical principles governing the physician-patient relationship to interactions with patients and their families.

PROF-3  Act in the patient’s best interest and serve as a patient advocate.

PROF-4   Work collaboratively and effectively in interprofessional teams.
PROF-5  Treat all patients and patients’ family members  respectfully and compassionately with respect for privacy.

V. Systems-based practice

Medical students must demonstrate an awareness of the larger context and system of health care and its impact on patients and the practice of medicine.

SBP-1  Demonstrate a knowledge  of the U.S. health care delivery system, including the impact of financing, health policy, and the regulatory structure on health care.

SBP-2   Describe how health care disparities impact access and delivery of medical care for individuals and describe strategies for addressing these disparities.

SBP-3  Recognize the need for cost awareness and the role of risk benefit analysis in patient and population-based care.

SBP-4   Define patient safety and quality improvement, and discuss strategies to maximize the safety and quality of patient care.

VI. Practice-based learning and improvement

Medical students must demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve their patient care skills based on external feedback and self-evaluation.

PBLI-1  Demonstrate the skills needed for life-long learning including the ability to identify and address personal strengths and weaknesses to incorporate formative feedback, and to self-assess knowledge and performance to develop a self-improvement plan.

PBLI-2  Apply an evidence-based approach to medical practice through selecting, appraising, and utilizing evidence from scientific studies related to clinical questions and patients’ health problems.

PBLI-3  Participate in the education of peers and other members of the health care team.

PBLI-4   Identify and address biases (both personal and in others) that may impact health care delivery.