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D.O. Technical Standards and Professional Expectations


Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is committed to the admission and matriculation of all qualified students and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or disability.
Like all other applicants and students, individuals with disabilities must have the specific qualifications necessary to promote and protect the health and safety of the patients for whom the College's students will eventually care. Those qualifications are set forth below.
The College will make reasonable accommodations when needed to enable an applicant or student to meet the College?s Technical Standards for Admission and Matriculation.
Americans with Disabilities Act

Reasonable accommodation for physical and/or learning disabilities in alignment with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines will be made when complete supporting documentation has been presented. In determining what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, the College will consider the requirements of the requested accommodation and the impact on the educational program.

PCOM will evaluate each accommodation request on an individual basis. Once accepted for admission, and prior to matriculation, students must take the responsibility for providing appropriate documentation of their need for accommodation. The documentation must clearly identify the disability and provide specific information on the manifestations of the disability and any accommodations needed to remediate those manifestations. Documentation must strictly adhere to the Guidelines for Requesting a Disability Accommodation. To request further information on the ADA, please contact the assistant dean of student affairs.

Technical Standards for Matriculation

All PCOM applicants and enrolled students must meet the Technical Standards set forth below.

The holder of a DO 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 DO degree must be able to consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received, and they must have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data in the classroom and clinical settings. All students must demonstrate the competencies required by faculty and must have the capabilities to complete their course of study in a reasonably independent manner. The standards are:

Observation and Sensory Skills: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand for proper evaluation and treatment integration.

Communication Skills: Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive non-verbal communications. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. They must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.

Motor Skills: Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function and strength and mobility to execute movements required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, 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. Additionally, to perform osteopathic manipulation, upright posture with sufficient lower extremity and body strength is required.

Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Skills: These skills include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Skills: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization 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 and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and 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 will be assessed during the admissions and the educational processes.

Technical Standards for Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Physical Diagnosis

A core component of osteopathic medical education is using touch for diagnosis and therapeutic purposes. To acquire competencies in physical diagnosis and osteopathic manipulative medical diagnosis and treatment, all students are required to touch others and to be touched.

The College realizes that emergencies may occur after matriculation, and will address these concerns as the need arises.

Professional Expectations

Students are expected to adhere to a standard of behavior and conduct consistent with the high standards of the healing and scientific profession. All students are expected to:

1. Respect the right of their fellow students to pursue their studies in a professional environment conducive to study.

2. Maintain professional interpersonal relationships by demonstrating civility and respect for each other.

3. Uphold the highest standard of academic honesty and integrity.

4. Show respect for the diversity, which exists among students, faculty and patients in regard to disability, social background, age, gender, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, and particular disease process.

5. Fulfill their responsibilities to their peers and patients in group work, including clinical clerkships and outside training assignments.

6. Adhere to all of the policies of the College, including those prohibiting discrimination or harassment.

PCOM maintains a curriculum that stresses the importance of the body as a unit, and the applicability of touch as an integral part of diagnosis and therapy for all patients of both genders. As part of this training, students will participate in physical examination and osteopathic manipulative treatment by fellow students. This physical examination is critical to learning the skills required of practicing osteopathic physicians; therefore, it is mandatory that all matriculating students understand and accept these responsibilities. These responsibilities include:

1. Adhere to appropriate dress as determined by the faculty, i.e. gym shorts, tee shirt, sports bra, as necessary to participate in the physical examination experience.

2. Allow other students to see and touch them so that all become proficient in physical diagnosis and manipulative treatment.

3. Assume the role of the patient to develop an understanding of the patient experience.

4. Demonstrate professional demeanor at all times.

Students also understand that they are required to meet all of the standards and expectations for classroom testing and assessment.