Medical Competence as a Multilayered Construct

Enduring - This is a virtual, asynchronous educational session that is part of the Center for Faculty and Professional Development’s Foundations in Medical Education Grand Rounds series.

About the Speaker: Olle ten Cate, PhD is a Professor of Medical Education at University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands, and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. After medical school (MSc) and a PhD in social sciences, he served four decades at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, contributing to curriculum innovation, educational research, and faculty development in health professions education locally, nationally and internationally. He founded and led the Center for Research and Development of Education at UMC Utrecht (2005-2017), was president of the Netherlands Association for Medical Education (2006-2012), and published (450+ manuscripts) and presented widely, and mentored twenty-five PhD students. He received the J.P. Hubbard award of the US NBME, the Ian R. Hart award, the NVMO Han Moll medal and a Dutch Royal Distinction and is a fellow of AERA. His interests include, among others, competency-based education, entrustable professional activities and entrustment decision making in HPE.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists and social workers.  Other learner groups, such as. residents, fellows, medical students, non-clinician educators, GME program administrators and other education staff would also benefit from this education.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, the participant should be able to:

  • describe the history of medical competence
  • define 'competent' in educational and legal connotations
  • describe the standards of competence and their criticisms
  • explore the reconceptualization of medical competence in three layers
    • canonical competence
    • contextual competence
    • personalized competence
  • identify implications of the work described above
    Course summary
    Available credit: 
    • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
    • 1.00 ANCC
    • 1.00 Participation Credit
    Course opens: 
    Course expires: 

    Medical Competence as a Multilayered Construct

    This is an asynchronous enduring material activity.
    Activity Director
    Robert Cooney, MD, MSMedMEd
    Associate Dean, Faculty Development
    Geisinger Medical Center
    Geisinger Faculty
    Olle ten Cate, PhD
    Professor, Medical Education
    University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands


    In support of improving patient care, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.




    Credit Designation 

    Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the educational activity. 

    Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine designates this live activity for 1 contact hours for nurses. Nurses should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the educational activity.


    This Geisinger continuing education activity is designed for use by healthcare professionals for educational purposes only.  Information and opinions offered by the contributors represent their viewpoints.  Conclusions drawn by the participant should be derived from careful consideration of all available scientific information. Prescription information and use of medical devices should be undertaken only after confirmation by consulting the FDA-approved uses and information.

    While Geisinger makes every effort to have accurate information presented, no warranty, expressed or implied, is offered.  The participant should use his/her clinical judgment, knowledge, experience, and diagnostic decision-making before applying any information whether provided here or by others, for any professional use.

    Terms of Approval

    November 3, 2023 - November 3, 2026

    Original release date

    November 3, 2023

    Peer Review

    On November 3, 2023, this continuing education online material was reviewed by Gregory Titman, MEd, Senior Education Specialist, Educational Technology, Center for Faculty and Professional Development, Geisinger, Danville, PA. To ensure the scientific relevance of this enduring material, its contents will be reviewed again in November 2026.


    Faculty and all others who have the ability to control the content of continuing education activities sponsored by the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine must disclose to the program audience whether they do or do not have any real or apparent conflict(s) of interest or other relationships related to the content of their presentation(s).

    If at any time during this activity you feel that there has been commercial or promotional bias, please inform us by using the commercial bias comments box on the evaluation form.  Please answer the questions about balance on the CE activity evaluation form candidly.

    The following individual(s) have reported no financial or other relationships with commercial entities who products/services may relate to the educational content of this activity:

    Gregory Titman, MEd, Olle ten Cate, PhD, Nicole Woll, PhD, MEd, Rob Cooney, MD, MSMedEd, Kristi Shirk, BA, Rebecca Stoudt, DNP, PhD, CRNA, and Annie Seif, BS

    Available Credit

    • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
    • 1.00 ANCC
    • 1.00 Participation Credit


    Please login or register to take this course.