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Medical students in classroom The White Coat Ceremony Dr. Carson Schneck with anatomy students

medical education

Technical Standards for the Doctor of Medicine Degree


The curriculum, as established by the faculty, represents a core curriculum essential to all physicians. Therefore, Temple University School of Medicine expects that each student admitted will be capable of completing the full curriculum of required courses and electives under the established School policies. In the admission of students, all individuals are considered on the basis of total personal and academic qualifications. This includes assessment of prior academic achievements, scores on standardized national examinations, and such personal qualifications as motivation and interest in medicine, resourcefulness, leadership, problem-solving ability, personality and character. Applicants to Temple University School of Medicine are considered without regard to handicap but with the expectation that all parts of the curriculum can be completed. The presence of a handicap may impede that individual’s ability in one or more of these areas. In these cases, the School must be fully satisfied that the applicant can make normal progress through the curriculum.


As outlined by the Association of American Medical College’s Advisory Panel on Technical Standards, candidates for the MD degree must have 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 and smell. Additionally, they must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain and temperature), and sufficient motor functions to permit them to carry out the activities described in the sections that follow. They must be able to integrate consistently, quickly and accurately all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, and they must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze arid synthesize data.


A candidate for the MD degree must have abilities and skills of five varieties, including: observation; communication; motor, conceptual; integrative and quantitative; and behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain of these areas but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s powers of selection and observation, and is not acceptable.


I. Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences, including but not limited to physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of micro-organisms 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. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.


II. Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, to hear and to observe patients in order to elicit both verbal and non-verbal information, and must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with and about patients. Communication therefore includes speech, reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with the patient, the patient’s family, and all members of the health care team, including referral sources such as agencies and other physicians.


III. Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to carry out basic laboratory techniques and to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Candidates must be able to perform anatomical dissections. They must have sufficient motor ability to use a microscope. A candidate should have the motor skills which will allow him/her to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, gram stain, preparation of a blood smear. etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.), perform and read EKGs and read 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, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple, general gynecologic procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.


IV. 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.


V. Behavioral and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess the physical and emotional health required for full utilization of his/her 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 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. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission and education process.