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The overarching knowledge, skill and behavior competencies you are expected to achieve during the three years of the FDC are the following: ​

FDC Competencies


    • Know and use the language of physical examination structures, techniques and findings.
    • Relate the physical examination to normal anatomy and physiology.
    • Relate the physical examination to abnormal anatomy and pathophysiology.
    • Know variations in physical exam techniques for use with children and the elderly.
    • Know and use the language of medical interviewing and communications techniques, focusing on the techniques of open-ended inquiry and an empathic, humanistic approach.
    • State the goals of the doctor-patient encounter: establishing rapport, data acquisition, educating and enlisting the patient.
    • Identify the key components of the patient database gathered in the encounter: patient identification, chief complaint, history of present illness, active medical problems, past medical history, medications, allergies, habits and hazards, social history, family history, review of systems, and physical exam findings.
    • Identify the key components of the history and physical write-up, SOAP note and oral presentation.


    • Perform basic physical examination techniques on adults and children in the following areas:
        • General Assessment (Vital Signs)
        • Extremities and Back
        • Cardiovascular
        • Chest and Lungs
        • Abdomen
        • Head and Neck
        • Skin, Hair and Nails
        • Eyes
        • Neurologic and Mental Status
    • Perform sensitive/invasive physical examination techniques on adults in the following areas:
        • Gynecologic and Breast
        • Urologic and Prostate
    • Recognize some abnormal physical exam findings.
    • Obtain an accurate medical history that covers all essential aspects of the patient data base, including issues related to age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
    • Practice basic open-ended inquiry.
    • Practice building relationships with patients through empathy, eliciting their perspective, and reflective listening.
    • Practice a relationship-centered approach to the encounter, negotiating and balancing patient-centered and doctor-centered agendas.
    • Practice explaining and planning communication skills such as assessing patient knowledge, and contracting for next steps to collaborate with patients in behavior modification.
    • Communicate effectively, using a relationship centered approach, in difficult clinical encounters.
    • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with patients, patients’ families, colleagues, and others with whom physicians must exchange information in carrying out their responsibilities.
    • Practice writing a full history and physical, SOAP notes and performing oral presentations.
    • Reason deductively in solving clinical problems.


    • Practice compassionate treatment of patients, and respect for their privacy and dignity.
    • Uphold and promote the ideals of medical professionalism in all interactions with patients, colleagues, staff and faculty.
    • Understand and respect the roles of other health care professionals and the need to collaborate with others in caring for individual patients and in promoting the health of defined populations.
    • Recognize and accept limitations in one’s knowledge and clinical skills, and a commitment to continuously improve one’s knowledge and ability.
    • Recognize the importance of cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversity and its impact on society, health care delivery, and the workplace.