Minimum Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation

The College will not discriminate against disabled individuals who are otherwise qualified while expecting applicants and students to meet certain technical standards as set forth herein. In adopting these standards, the College believes it must keep in mind the ultimate safety of the patients for whom its graduates will eventually care. The standards reflect what the College believes, in its professional and academic judgment, are the minimum expectations of osteopathic medical students (and physicians) necessary for the safe, efficient, and effective delivery of medical care.

A candidate for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree must have multiple abilities and skills, including observation, communication, motor, conceptual, integrative, quantitative, behavioral, and social. This policy is applicable to all matriculated students who have documented physical, learning, and/or psychological disabilities. Technological compensation can be made for handicaps in some of these areas, but a candidate must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

The development of palpatory skills used for diagnosis and treatment is a significant distinction between the educational programs in osteopathic and allopathic medical schools. Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines palpation as examination with the hands and fingers, touching, feeling, or perceiving by the sense of touch. Palpation in the osteopathic educational context is the use of touch to examine the body. Palpatory skills are used in all areas of osteopathic medical practice and are especially important in the evaluation and treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Active participation in the Osteopathic Clinical Skills Laboratory is an admission, matriculation, and graduation requirement.

The osteopathic medical profession uses a variety of treatment models, and through the skills development process, the student learns the art and skills of manipulative treatment. Psychomotor skills are developed by repeated practice. Reading and observation, although helpful, do not develop the skills required to perform palpatory diagnosis and manipulative treatment. Each student is required to actively participate in all skill development laboratory sessions. These skills are taught by treating and being treated by a cadre of students of all genders and with varying body types to simulate a medical practice setting.

The holder of a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate all information received and have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.

Student applicants must meet the following minimum technical standard requirements for admission and matriculation:

  • Communication – Communicate effectively (in English) with patients and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Motor Function, Strength and Mobility – Sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Mobility to attend to emergency codes and to perform such maneuvers as CPR is required. Significant limitations in these areas would negatively impact likelihood to succeed and place patient safety at risk.
  • Observation/Sensory Skills – Sufficient to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the biomedical and clinical sciences. Must have adequate capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration to be able to assess asymmetry, range of motion and tissue texture changes. Individuals who are otherwise qualified and who may have significant tactile sensory or proprioception disabilities may require a thorough evaluation.
  • Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities – Must be able to perform cognitive functions in a time- sensitive environment in diverse clinical settings where others may be present. Must be able to draw on their store of knowledge in emergency situations.
  • Behavioral and Social Attributes – Sufficient personal qualities to effectively and professionally engage in team-based patient care. Promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.

Participation in Osteopathic Clinical Skills Laboratory
By participating in osteopathic clinical skills laboratory, students will palpate a variety of people, genders, and body types to simulate the diversity of patients expected in a practice setting. Peer-to-peer palpation enhances the student’s educational experience and provides the opportunity for feedback from a patient’s perspective.

The development of palpatory skills needed to diagnose and treat problems of the musculoskeletal system requires dress attire to maximize the ability to evaluate tissue texture changes, bony and soft tissue landmarks, tenderness, and range of motion.

Noorda-COM will attempt to develop creative ways of opening the medical school curriculum to competitive, qualified disabled individuals when possible. In doing so, however, the College must maintain the integrity of its curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the education of an osteopathic physician.