Professional Performance Policy

MBKU and SPAS require PA Students to demonstrate that they are capable of becoming competent and effective physician assistants. They must display good judgment, a sense of responsibility and morality, sensitivity and compassion for individual needs, and the ability to synthesize and apply knowledge. Professionalism implies that students serve the interests of patients above self-interest. A habit of self-reflection on one’s attitudes and behaviors is critical to responding appropriately to feedback from faculty, preceptors, and patients.

PA students are expected to act with honesty and maturity when interacting with faculty, peers, patients, colleagues, other health professionals, and the general public, always displaying sensitivity and respect for others Professional behavior requires compliance with the AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession (See Appendix B), and the standards set by the MBKU Code of Conduct.

The importance of professionalism in the practice of medicine is of such critical importance that it is a dimension that is regularly evaluated as students progress through the program. Any concerns raised by a faculty, staff member, preceptor, or other invested individual, regarding unprofessional behavior by a student, will be addressed either internally and informally within the School (minor/first-time violations) or referred to the University Conduct Committee (refer to Ethical Misconduct).


The Physician Assistant student is expected to demonstrate the following characteristics of professional behavior:

  • Integrity – Acknowledges any collaboration and its extent in all submitted work. Communicates in a truthful manner, displays honesty, maintains patient confidentiality, and follows the rules.
  • Respect – Listens attentively to others, demonstrates care and concern for others, and displays unbiased consideration for other cultures and beliefs. Establishes and maintains appropriate boundaries, uses cultural sensitivity, refers to professionals with appropriate titles, and communicates politely and respectfully with faculty, peers, staff, healthcare team members, and patients and their families.
  • Personal Demeanor & Appearance – Personal image reflects neatness of dress and good hygiene. Identifies self as a student with appropriate attire (name badge and short white lab coat in clinic environments). Adapts style and content of communication appropriately to match the interaction. Maintains composure during difficult interactions with others.
  • Accountability – Assumes responsibility for own actions and performance. Arrives on time prepared for learning activities and meets deadlines. Attends all activities. Abides by the schedule. Accepts responsibility for participation in group projects and team efforts, and other program activities.
  • Commitment to Excellence – Demonstrates initiative in seeking out additional learning opportunities, and seeks feedback and input on performance. Displays willingness to modify behavior based on feedback. Demonstrates an awareness of skills and limitations and asks for help when needed. Committed to lifelong learning.
  • Empathy – Demonstrates body language and tone of voice that reflects a caring, compassionate, and respectful attitude toward others. Acknowledges the concerns and distress of patients and their families and allows time for difficult conversations.
  • Team-Player Qualities – Demonstrates willingness to take on a leadership role as well as a member role in team activities. Shares knowledge, skills, and ideas with others and makes valuable contributions during class. Acknowledges the value of each team member and integrates the opinions, views, knowledge, and skills when engaged in group activities. Accepts constructive feedback willingly and provides constructive and supportive feedback to team members. Participates in professional activities and projects a positive image of the Physician Assistant profession.
  • Self-Reflection – Evaluate personal learning and performance to identify strengths and weaknesses. Identifies limitations, and behaviors that may affect others. Communicates insight into personal behavior and attitude. Recognizes deficiencies in skill and knowledge at appropriate points in their education that allow time for intervention to improve medical knowledge and performance.