1. Professional Diversity: Graduates will act in a professional manner, acknowledging the physician assistant as one member of the health care team, recognizing the privilege of serving others regardless of color, social, ethnic, religious or economic status. (UCPAP, Goal One).
Two purposes are served by the first goal. Of paramount importance to the physician assistant (PA) concept is the team approach to health care. The student will be educated with the understanding that the patient is best served by the convergence of expertise from various sources within the health care system. Because of technological and intellectual advancements, one individual cannot provide adequate care in today's complex and comprehensive medical practice. The PA lends his or her expertise, joined by others as indicated, to provide the best standard of care.
The second purpose of this goal is to identify the population served by the PA graduate from Union College. Because of the cultural diversity of Nebraska's capital city, UCPAP is able to provide the student with a broad exposure to people of various color; social strata; and ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. The Union College campus itself brings a broad international student population together, claiming the benefits of diversity. This emphasis will go beyond the PA's duty to provide care to all walks of life, and will stress that it is a rewarding privilege to be able to provide care for such a rich diversity of people.
2. Clinical Relevance: Graduates will proficiently perform the more routine duties of personal health care management typically provided by primary care physicians. (UCPAP, Goal 2).
The curriculum of UCPAP is designed to meet defined technical standards and competency skills, providing the student with sufficient education and experience to master the routine and common health care services at the equivalent proficiency of a family practice physician.
3. Academic Excellence: Graduates will possess competence in a balanced core of knowledge drawn from the fields of medical and behavioral sciences, which enables lifelong learning, critical thinking and effective communication. (UCPAP, Goal 3).
No program can boast that a student will learn all facets of medicine upon graduation. UCPAP will foster the concept of lifelong learning, providing a solid foundation of both medical and behavioral sciences. Students will gain refined decision-making skills, problem-solving techniques, and medical research concepts leading to the accrual of further knowledge. Perhaps most importantly, the UCPAP student will also acquire the appropriate communication of medical knowledge so that the intellect can be applied usefully to the clinical domain.
4. Responsible Servanthood: Graduates will render service in the spirit of compassion and self-refraining love demonstrated by Christ in His ministry on earth. (UCPAP, Goal 4).
Union College believes that an attitude of altruistic service is instrumental to a genuinely rewarding career. The PA profession is a natural example, as the hallmark of service is evidenced by the PA's role both to the physician employer and to the community at large. Students will be apprentices to a number of role models who demonstrate generous humility in providing clinical care. The best illustration of this character is Jesus Christ, and His pattern of responsible servanthood will be nurtured.
These four goals: professional diversity, clinical relevance, academic excellence and responsible servanthood will be the practical standards used by UCPAP to secure the success of the program and its graduates.