University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The Ophthalmology Competencies

Description of the Competencies

Patient Care

Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health. Residents are expected to:

  • communicate effectively and demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
  • gather essential and accurate information about their patients
  • make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment
  • develop and carry out patient management plans
  • counsel and educate patients and their families
  • use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education
  • perform competently all medical and invasive procedures considered essential for the area of practice
  • provide health care services aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health work with health care professionals, including those from other disciplines, to provide patient-focused care

Medical Knowledge

  • This includes knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral) sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.
  • Investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations
  • Knowledge and application of the basic and clinically supportive sciences which are appropriate to their discipline

Practice-based Learning & Improvement

  • Investigate and evaluate patient care practices; appraise and assimilate scientific evidence; and improve patient care practices. This includes:
  • analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology.
  • locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to patients’ health problems.
  • obtain and use information about the practitioner's own population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn.
  • apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.
  • use information technology to manage information and access on-line medical information.
  • facilitate the learning of students and other health care professionals.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Competent interpersonal and communication skills result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their patients families, and professional associates. To this effect, practitioners should:

  • create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationships with patients.
  • use effective listening skills and elicit and provide information using effective nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills.
  • work effectively with others as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group.


  • A commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities.
    • Respect compassion and integrity
    • Responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that supercedes self-interest
    • Accountability to patients society, and the profession
    • Commitment to excellence and on-going professional development.
  • Sensitivity to a diverse patient population; sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and disabilities.
  • A commitment to ethical principles pertaining to providing or withholding clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices.

Systems-Based Practice

Practitioners need an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal value. To this end, the practitioner should:

  • understand how their patient care and other professional practices affect other health care professionals, the health care organization, and the larger society and how these elements of the system affect their own practice
  • know how types of medical practice and delivery systems differ from one another, including methods of controlling health care costs and allocating resources
  • practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care
  • advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • know how to partner with health care managers and health care providers to assess, coordinate, and improve health care and know how these activities can affect system performance.

Status of Existing Tools

Brief summaries of some available tools with the current status of validity, reliability, and feasibility data from the current literature. Several of these tools can be accessed on the ACGME site.

Progress and plans for developing tools to assess & demonstrate competencies

PowerPoint Presentations

Related Information

Read more about the Competencies in Ophthalmology at "Academic Ophthalmology"


last updated: 5/29/2016
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