Minimum Technical Standards

The requirements to succeed are those necessary to successfully complete the curriculum and to practice osteopathic medicine with full practice rights. Students must be able to function in a variety of learning and clinical settings and to quickly, accurately, and consistently learn and process data.

Osteopathic physicians utilize touching as part of the osteopathic approach to treatment. As part of the educational process, COM students must be able to tolerate being touched and to touch others in order to acquire the skills necessary for palpation and examination. This palpation is performed in a professional and appropriate manner. Acquiring the skills to palpate and examine patients requires a student to examine disrobed patients of both genders and is mandatory to successful completion of the curriculum at a COM.

In physical diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative medicine laboratory experiences, as well as other clinical laboratories where skills are acquired, students are required to participate in the examination of fellow students of both genders who may be partially disrobed. Students will need to wear attire such as shorts and to partially disrobe for certain laboratory experiences. These are requirements for all students, regardless of cultural beliefs, in order for the student to acquire the skills necessary to practice medicine. Students who have any concern should discuss them with the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs prior to applying.

In addition to the above, the applicant must possess abilities and skills in the following five areas:

  • Observation

    • The student must be able to visually observe laboratory demonstrations, microscopic tissue with the aid of the microscope, and published and computer based images used in laboratory demonstrations.

    • The student must be able to visually and accurately observe physical signs and symptoms of a patient used in diagnosis and management. The use of a trained intermediary in such cases would not be allowed as the observations of another could be an influence on judgment and performance.

    • Observation requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensations and is enhanced by the sense of smell.

  • Communication

    • The student must be able to communicate effectively in English as the curriculum and clinical experiences are offered in English. Students are encouraged to learn other languages for medical communication; however, all curriculum and assessment is given in English.

    • The college requires the functional ability to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit accurate medical information. The student must be able both to describe changes in behavior, mood, activity, posture, and other physical characteristics and to perceive nonverbal communication.

    • The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in verbal and in written form.

    • The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with the patient and with all members of the health care team in order to successfully complete the curriculum.

  • Motor

    • Candidates must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, percussion, and other diagnostic measures.

    • The candidate must have sufficient motor function to carry out maneuvers of general and emergency care and for performing osteopathic manipulation. Examples of emergent motor functions are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous fluids and intravenous medications, management of an obstructed airway, hemorrhage control, closure by suturing of wounds, and obstetrical deliveries.

    • In addition, the delivery of osteopathic manipulation requires the use of extremities in palpation, positioning, and carrying out maneuvers of manipulation. These actions require fine and gross motor and sensory function, as well as the senses of touch and adequate vision for inspection.

  • Intellectual

    • The candidate must have the ability to reason, calculate, analyze, measure, and synthesize information.

    • The candidate must be able to comprehend, memorize, and recall a large amount of information without assistance, to successfully complete the curriculum.

    • The candidate must be able to comprehend and understand spatial relationships to succeed in school and to administer medical care.

    • The candidate must be able to gain knowledge through all types of learning materials that the curriculum offers and must be able to perform pattern identification, and to identify and prioritize important information, to problem solve and make decisions in timed situations and in the presence of noise and distraction.

    The above intellectual abilities are necessary, as students and graduates will be expected and required to perform pattern identification, immediate recall of memorized material, identification and discrimination to elicit important information, problem solving, and decision-making as to emergent diagnosis and treatment of patients. This type of demonstrated intellectual ability must be performed in a rapid and time-efficient manner so as not to place patients in emergent conditions at risk. Such emergent situations include, but are not limited to, cardiopulmonary compromise, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, obstetrical and neonatal emergencies, trauma presentations, poisonings and toxic exposures, shock, and hemorrhage.

  • Behavioral and Social Attributes

    • Candidates must have the emotional health needed for full use of their intellectual capabilities at all times. The emotional health required for effective communication and for professional, mature, sensitive, and compassionate patient/physician or patient/student relationships must be present.

    • Candidates must be able to function effectively under stress and with physically taxing workloads.

    • Candidates must have the emotional health to be able to function without the aid of medications that are known to affect intellectual abilities and judgment.

    • Candidates must have the emotional stability and motivation to deliver patient care and to make emergent decisions at all times. The ability to adapt to changing environments and stressful situations and to display compassion and integrity, while maintaining the necessary intellectual capacity to care for patients is one that is observed during the interview process and throughout the progress in medical school. An ability to demonstrate the emotional health necessary for the delivery of quality and safe medical care is mandatory throughout medical school.

    • The COM considers addiction or the participation in substance abuse as a risk for unsafe medical care.

For more information

(317) 955-6400