Medical education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of skills and professional attitudes and behavior. Medical school faculties have a responsibility to society to matriculate and graduate the best possible physicians, and thus admission to medical school has been offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study and practice of medicine. Technical standards presented in this document are pre-requisite for admission, progression and graduation from the Morsani College of Medicine of the University of South Florida. All courses in the curriculum are required in order to develop essential skills necessary to become a competent physician.
Graduates of medical school must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. The Morsani College of Medicine of the University of South Florida acknowledges Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and PL 101-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but ascertains that certain minimum technical standards must be applied in selecting candidates.
A candidate for the M.D. degree must have aptitude, abilities, and skills in six areas: observation; communication; motor; conceptual, integrative and quantitative; and behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary would mean that a candidate's judgment must be mediated by some one else's power of selection and observation. Therefore, third parties cannot be used to assist students in accomplishing curricular requirements in the six skill areas specified. Reasonable accommodation can be made for some disabilities.
The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments in the basic sciences, including, but not limited to, physiological and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, microbiological cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. The candidate must possess reading skills at a level to be able to independently accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients.
Motor Coordination or Function
Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.) and read EKGs and X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively when stressed. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that should be assessed during the admission and educational processes.
Candidates for the M.D. degree must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. Candidates' diagnostic skills will also be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell and taste. Additionally, they must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain and temperature), sufficient proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) and sufficient motor function to permit them to carry out the activities described in the section above. They must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data.
The Morsani College of Medicine of the University of South Florida will consider for admission to medical school any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform or to learn to perform the skills listed in this document. Students will be judged not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the full requirements of the school's curriculum, and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners of medicine.
The following technical requirements apply:
- Is the candidate able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments in the basic sciences?
- Is the candidate able to analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments?
- Does the candidate have sufficient use of the senses of vision and hearing and the somatic sensation necessary to perform a physical examination? Can the candidate perform palpation, auscultation, and percussion?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to relate to patients and establish sensitive, professional relationships with patients?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to communicate the results of the examination to the patient and to his colleagues with accuracy, clarity and efficiency?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to learn and perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to perform routine invasive procedures as a part of training using universal precautions without substantial risk of infection to patients?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to perform with precise, quick and appropriate actions in emergency situations?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to display good judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to possess the perseverance, diligence, and consistency to complete the medical school curriculum and enter the independent practice of medicine?
- Can the candidate reasonably be expected to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior?