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Curriculum > Curriculum Goals, Objectives and Competencies
Curriculum Goals, Objectives and Competencies
The University of Connecticut School of Medicine requires its medical students to develop competency in the areas of patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based
learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. The expected level of competency attained must be sufficient to allow
these new physicians to be successful in graduate medical education programs, and must also provide them with the attitudes, skills and values requisite to continually update these
competencies over the lifetime of their careers. Students will be broadly trained and prepared to undertake advanced training for careers in patient care, academic medicine, public
health, and/or research. Faculty members, as teachers, mentors, and role models, are committed to support the development of these student competencies.
Patient Care Competency
Graduates must be able to collaborate effectively to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective both for the treatment of health problems and
the promotion of health. Our graduates will:
1. gather essential information from all
available sources, including other healthcare professionals, to
obtain an accurate and relevant medical history that is
developmentally, culturally, and age appropriate, and that
identifies the patient’s view of the problems and needs.
2. perform a relevant and accurate physical
examination, distinguishing normal and abnormal findings
3. apply their knowledge of pathophysiology to
the interpretation of history, physical examination and
4. create and prioritize a comprehensive problem
5. assess each problem appropriately,
formulating and prioritizing a differential diagnosis when
6. use decision analysis, relative costs, and
discussion with other healthcare professionals to order and
accurately interpret common diagnostic procedures (including but
not limited to blood tests, CXR, EKG, urinalysis)
7. learn and perform common medical procedures (including but not limited to obtaining a venous and arterial blood sample, insertion of a peripheral IV line, Foley
catheter, and nasogastric tube, performing basic suturing and a
8. document accurately, legibly and succinctly:
historical and physical examination data; interpretation of test
results; problem lists and management plans that include
supportive clinical reasoning; discussions with
patients/families/consultants; procedure notes; informed
consent; and discharge or follow-up plans, including
9. develop diagnostic and therapeutic strategies
for common medical conditions, acute care, emergencies, chronic
care, end of life care, and wellness
10. demonstrate the ability to work with the
health care team to identify, assess and manage pain and
suffering of patients, and provide support and comfort when cure
may not be possible
11. identify and address risk factors to prevent
disease and promote health, including the use of screening tools
to identify patients/families experiencing problems with
literacy, environmental conditions, violence, substance use,
physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse
12. be able to identify appropriate resources
and educational materials for patients, including
community-based organizations, other healthcare professionals,
support groups, Internet sources, and handouts
13. provide appropriate, accurate and timely
information when transferring a patient’s care to another
14. recognize when additional help is needed and
understand the role of a consultant as a member of the
Medical Knowledge Competency
Our graduates will know the:
1. normal structure and function of the body and
each of its major organ systems.
2. molecular, biochemical, genetic and cellular
mechanisms important to maintaining the body's homeostasis.
3. pathogenesis of disease, including but not limited to altered structure and function and the pathophysiology
4. developmental changes and milestones,
psychological development, and the differences between normal
variation and disease across the human life span.
5. etiology, epidemiology, clinical
manifestations, prognosis, and natural history of common
6. principles of contemporary therapeutics,
including but not limited to molecular, biological,
pharmacological, surgical, and complementary and alternative
7. common sources of medical error and basic
concepts of risk management in medical practice.
8. power and limitations of the scientific
method and evidence-based medicine in establishing the causation
of disease and the efficacy of traditional and non-traditional
therapies, as well as the central role of research in medicine,
including an appreciation of the contributions of basic science,
translational research, public health, and clinical studies to
the development of medical care.
9. principles of nutrition as they relate to
health maintenance and the care of acutely and chronically ill
10. principles of clinical epidemiology and
11. legal and ethical framework and principles
that govern sound clinical decision making, including adherence
to standards of care.
12. the role of communities in influencing
health and illness, and providing resources for prevention and
Practice-based Learning and Improvement Competency
Graduates should have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to evaluate their method of practice and implement strategies for improvement of patient care. Our
1. understand and utilize performance
improvement processes (including but not limited to identifying
areas for improvement, designing and implementing strategies for
improvement, and assessing outcomes).
2. demonstrate the ability to practice
evidence-based medicine by formulating clear clinical questions,
knowing where and how to find best sources of evidence,
evaluating and appraising the evidence for validity and
usefulness with respect to particular patients or populations,
and determining when and how to integrate new findings into
3. appropriately utilize information technology
and employ electronic communications to facilitate acquisition,
storage, retrieval and analysis of patient and practice data.
4. understand the role and limitations of
practice guidelines and clinical pathways to improve the quality
of care for populations of patients.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills Competency
Graduates must demonstrate the skills and attitudes that allow effective interaction with patients, families and all members of the healthcare team. Our graduates will
be able to:
1. demonstrate empathy and respect for others,
including sensitivity to cultural, gender and sexual orientation
differences, personal preferences and level of understanding.
2. demonstrate an appreciation of the impact of
an illness and its treatment on patient, family, and significant
3. demonstrate effective interviewing skills,
including attentive listening, eliciting a patient’s concerns,
establishing rapport, skilled use of open and closed questions,
appropriate use of verbal and nonverbal facilitation techniques,
clarifying and summarizing information, and exploration of a
patient’s context/ perspective/ beliefs/ emotions.
4. demonstrate the ability to provide
information with sensitivity and clarity and in a language
understood by the patient/family, while checking for
understanding and encouraging questions (including but not
limited to such skills as giving bad news, discussing risks and
benefits of treatments, discussing medical errors and utilizing
5. share decision-making and negotiate
management plans with patients, families and other healthcare
professionals, incorporating information about patients’
perspectives, experiences and available supports and resources
(including end-of-life decisions, behavioral counseling,
informed consent and discussion of alternative treatment
6. demonstrate effective oral presentation
skills (e.g., accurate content and efficient process).
7. critique in oral and/or written format
scientific publications (e.g., basic science, educational or
clinical research articles, case reports, consensus guidelines).
8. demonstrate the ability to constructively
give feedback to, and receive feedback from, preceptors, peers,
and team members.
9. appropriately engage faculty, peers, or other
healthcare providers to elicit and/or clarify information.
10. use appropriate techniques for collaborating
with and teaching other students (e.g., effective participation
in small learning groups).
Graduates must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary to promote the best interests of patients, society and the medical profession. Our
graduates will demonstrate:
1. honesty and integrity with patients/families, peers, the healthcare team, community members, faculty and others.
2. reliability and responsibility by completing duties in a timely fashion and not engaging in patient care responsibilities if emotionally or physically impaired.
3. the ability to maintain appropriate confidentiality.
4. respect for others, including appropriate grooming, punctuality, courtesy, non-derogatory backroom discussions, inclusiveness, and use of socially acceptable
language and humor.
5. compassion and empathy in words and deeds when dealing with patients/families, peers, the healthcare team, community members, faculty and others.
6. awareness of appropriate professional boundaries and the inappropriateness of the exploitation of patients for any sexual advantage, personal financial gain, or
other private purpose.
7. a commitment to self-improvement, including being open and responsive to feedback, reflection and self-evaluation, and actively setting and pursuing learning goals
and applying knowledge gained.
8. the ability to accept responsibility for errors and evaluate failures in education and patient care.
9. recognition and acceptance of personal limitations in knowledge, skill and behavior, seeking guidance and supervision when appropriate.
10. the ability to recognize the role of personal wellness, values and priorities in their practice of medicine.
11. the ability to identify and appropriately respond to unprofessional behavior in others.
12. the willingness and capability to work collaboratively and resolve conflicts in a variety of settings to achieve common patient care and educational goals of all
13. altruism and advocacy demonstrated by a commitment to promoting health care needs of patients and society, and to improve quality and access to care and a just
distribution of finite resources.
14. recognition of and sensitivity to culture, race, disabilities, age and other differences in order to prevent health care discrimination.
15. the ability to identify potential conflicts of interest arising from the influence of marketing and advertising, as well as financial and organizational
16. the ability to apply legal and ethical principles to patient care, clinical research, and the practice of medicine.
17. participation in defining, organizing and evaluating the educational process for current and future students.
Systems-based Practice Competency
Graduates must demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to provide high quality care for their patients within the context of the larger healthcare
system. Our graduates will:
1. demonstrate knowledge of various approaches to the organization, financing and delivery of healthcare.
2. demonstrate an understanding of biological, social, psychological and environmental risk factors for inadequate healthcare or inadequate access to healthcare.
3. advocate for patients and/or communities by implementing strategies to access healthcare services and assistance.
4. demonstrate collaborative practice by identifying key personnel, understanding the role of each healthcare team member, and participating in a coordinated effort to
optimize patient care.
5. consider cost-effectiveness and resource allocation in developing diagnostic and treatment strategies that promote quality of care.
6. understand the nature of systems errors and strategies to minimize them, such as failure modes/effects analysis, root cause analysis, electronic medical records and