Health and Technical Standards

All candidates must meet health and technical standards to be admitted and to participate in the medical education programs of TCOM. Because the doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree signifies that the holder is a physician prepared for entry into the practice of medicine within post-graduate training programs, it follows that the graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and be able to provide a wide spectrum of patient care.

A candidate for the DO degree must have abilities and skills in five areas: observation; communication; motor; conceptual, integrative and quantitative; and behavioral and social. Reasonable accommodations will be made as required by law, however, the candidate must be able to meet all technical standards with or without reasonable accommodation. The use of a trained intermediary means that a candidate’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation and is not a permissible accommodation.

1. Observation: The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including, but not limited to, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in animals, microbiologic 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 requires the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensations. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.

2. Communication: A candidate should be able to speak, hear and observe the 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 verbal and written form with all members of the health care team.

3. Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (protoscopy, paracentesis, etc.), and read EKGs and X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care, osteopathic manipulation 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 obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

4. Intellectual: Conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, including measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

5. Behavior and Social Attitudes: Candidates must have 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 under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and 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 will be assessed during the admission and education process.