Policy on Technical Standards Required for Matriculation, Progression and Graduation: University of Virginia School of Medicine
Introduction: The practice of medicine requires a broad combination of cognitive, emotional, physical, interpersonal and other skills and personal characteristics in order to provide highly effective patient care within the system of health care. Consequently, the School of Medicine has identified minimum standards required of all students who matriculate. These standards must be met throughout medical school in order to progress and graduate; they are predicated on the school’s learning objectives that are considered essential for completion of the M.D. degree. They have been approved by the Curriculum Committee, the Dean and the Office of General Counsel and are reviewed for currency and re-confirmed on an annual basis.
Students are required to attest at the time they accept an offer to matriculate that they meet the School of Medicine’s Technical Standards, and they must attest on an annual basis that they continue to meet the standards. These standards are not intended to deter any student who might be able to complete the requirements of the curriculum with reasonable accommodations. Requests from students or prospective students for reasonable accommodations in meeting the technical standards will be considered by the Technical Standards Committee.
Resources for Students: Admitted students with physical or learning disabilities or students who develop physical or learning disabilities have access to the University’s Student Disability Access Center for an evaluation of what accommodations might be necessary for the student to succeed. The University also provides Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation services for students at the student’s expense.
Technical Standards: The standards listed below are based on the skills necessary to meet the requirements of the curriculum.
- Recall and explain facts and concepts
- Apply facts and concepts in novel clinical and research contexts
- Integrate and analyze clinical and research data and draw appropriate conclusions (measurement, calculation, reasoning, synthesis). The student must be able to execute these skills and act quickly in situations such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
- Justify one’s analysis and conclusions
- Acquire and develop clinical reasoning and judgment skills
- Create new knowledge
- Complete multiple choice, clinical skills and other assessments in a timely manner
- Communicate effectively in both oral and written formats
- Solicit and record accurately and clearly information from patients, families and others
- Demonstrate proficiency in both oral and written English language
- Demonstrate self-awareness and self-assessment of one’s abilities and deficiencies or limitations
- Self-awareness to request help when needed
Emotional, Attitudinal and Behavioral Skills
- Demonstrate empathy
- Demonstrate integrity
- Demonstrate honesty
- Demonstrate concern for others and ability to put the welfare of others before one’s own
- Demonstrate interest and motivation
- Demonstrate timely response and completion of assignments and duties
- Demonstrate adherence to universal precautions and safety standards in the laboratory and clinical settings
- Demonstrate self-awareness and self-analysis of one’s emotional state and reactions
- Modulate affect under adverse and stressful conditions and fatigue
- Modulate behavior under adverse and stressful conditions and fatigue
- Exhibit emotional resilience
- Engage in self-reflection
- Adapt to changing environments and roles
- Accept feedback, suggestions and criticism in a constructive manner
- Identify personal reactions, recognize multiple points of view and integrate these appropriately into clinical decision making
- Communicate and care for, in a non-judgmental way, persons who differ from oneself and one’s beliefs in a variety of ways, including but not limited to gender, age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, culture, creed, military status, sexual orientation and identity, and religious or spiritual beliefs
- Demonstrate freedom from impairment due to alcohol or other drugs
Physical ability to learn, perform, and become competent in the following:
- Participate consistently in learning experiences and as a member of healthcare teams in order to achieve a coherent and coordinated curricular experience
- Execute motor movements necessary for cadaver dissection and for general and emergency patient care, including conducting a full physical examination (including manual vital signs), assisting in surgery, obstetrics and emergencies such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation as well as suturing/stapling of wounds (and removal), inserting an intravenous catheter, inserting a urinary catheter, splinting and other basic general medical and surgical care
- Stand for extended periods of time
- Assist in lifting and positioning patients for procedures
- Dress in protective gowns, gloves and other garments
- Scrub one’s hands for sterile procedures
- Ability to demonstrate physical stamina to work a mid-level resident shift
- Demonstrate skills necessary to use a computer, e.g. the electronic medical record
- Use a microscope
- Perform an electrocardiogram and place a patient on a cardiac monitor
- Demonstrate physical skills and senses necessary to use a stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, otoscope, FAST ultrasound and other basic medical equipment
- Demonstrate adequate sensory function (vision, hearing, touch, equilibrium) and motor function in order to palpate, percuss, auscultate and perform other diagnostic maneuvers (to observe and differentiate normal from abnormal findings on physical and mental status examinations)
- Draw venous blood
- Ventilate a patient effectively using a bag-mask apparatus
- Establish effective working relationships with patients, families, fellow students, faculty, nurses and other professionals in a variety of work environments (classroom, laboratories and clinical settings)
- Function effectively and productively as a member of an interprofessional healthcare team
University of Virginia School of Medicine Process for Determining Compliance with the Technical Standards for Matriculation, Promotion, and Graduation
All matriculants and current students (“Candidates”) must possess the physical, cognitive, emotional and interpersonal capabilities necessary to complete the medical education program and to provide highly effective patient care within the medical education program. These capabilities are called Technical Standards, the essential functions that all medical students must demonstrate to meet the requirements of a general medical education. Candidates—whether for admission, academic promotion, or graduation—must meet these Technical Standards, with or without reasonable accommodation. ( See the “Technical Standards” for details of these capabilities .) These technical standards are predicated on the school’s learning objectives that are considered essential for completion of the M.D. degree. They have been approved by the Curriculum Committee and the Dean of the School of Medicine.
Annual Declaration: Each year, all Candidates must sign and return to the Office of Student Affairs a copy of the form “Declaration of Meeting Technical Standards for the University of Virginia School of Medicine.” Failure to submit the form could delay or prevent promotion or graduation. Falsification of a form is a violation of the Honor Code and could lead to dismissal from the School. Each year, the Office of Student Affairs will notify students of the deadline for filing the Declaration but it is the student’s responsibility to submit the form by the deadline. (See the form at the foot of this document.)
Review of Technical Standards: The standards are reviewed, revised as needed, and reconfirmed by the Curriculum Committee annually. This review takes into account the School of Medicine’s ongoing curriculum and clinical standards evaluation, and changes in applicable law and/or University policy.
Technical Standards Committee: The Technical Standards Committee is charged with determining whether Candidates meet the School’s Technical Standards and, if not, whether reasonable accommodation would allow them to meet the standards. If the Committee determines that a case does not fall within the scope of a technical standards issue, the Committee will triage the case to the appropriate group, e.g., the Academic Standards and Achievement Committee, the Threat Assessment Team, etc.
The Technical Standards Committee consists of the Senior Associate Dean for Education, Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Curriculum, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Assistant Dean for Medical Education. Review and advice will be sought as appropriate, and may include General Counsel for the Medical School, the UVA Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights and/or the Student Disability Access Center.
Students with Disabilities:
The University of Virginia does not discriminate against qualified applicants or enrolled students with disabilities. These Technical Standards are not intended to deter any candidate or enrolled student for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum.
Admitted and enrolled students with disabilities have access to resources at the University. See the ADA Coordinator’s website.
Request for review and/or accommodations
Candidates for matriculation: Candidates with disabilities who are offered admission should begin discussions with the Technical Standards Committee as soon as the offer is received. It is the Candidate’s responsibility to provide sufficiently current information that documents the general nature and extent of the disability, the functional limitations that would need to be accommodated, and the accommodations that are requested. Guidelines as to when information and documentation are deemed sufficiently current vary by type of disability and may be found on the University’s Student Disability Access Center website. The Technical Standards Committee is responsible for determining whether Candidates meet the School’s Technical Standards and, if not, whether reasonable accommodation would allow them to meet the standards. In making that determination, the Committee may seek additional information about a candidate’s disabilities and about possible accommodations from knowledgeable persons within or outside the School. The Committee may require a candidate to undergo examination by appropriate specialists. Such examination will be at the candidate’s expense.
The Committee will review each candidate case by case, with careful consideration of all the candidate’s skills and attributes. Candidates currently abusing alcohol or other substances are not suitable candidates for enrollment.
Reasonable/unreasonable accommodation: An accommodation is unreasonable if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the Candidate or others, if making it requires a substantial modification in an essential element of the curriculum, if it lowers academic standards, or if it poses an undue administrative or financial burden on the School. No disability can be accommodated with an auxiliary aid or intermediary that provides a selective function, cognitive support, or medical knowledge. Aids and intermediaries also may not act as a substitute in performing essential skills, or supplement clinical and ethical judgment. That is to say, accommodations cannot eliminate essential program elements.
Candidates for academic promotion or graduation: Enrolled Candidates who develop a disability or condition shall provide current information documenting the general nature and extent of the disability, the functional limitations that would need to be accommodated, and the accommodations that are requested. Guidelines as to when information and documentation are deemed sufficiently current vary by type of disability and may be found on the University’s Student Disability Access Center website.
Review by the Technical Standards Committee: The Committee will review the enrolled Candidate’s disability and possible reasonable accommodations by applying the same standards and following the same procedures used for candidates for matriculation, as described above. Enrolled Candidates who develop a disability or condition that places patients or others at risk and/or that jeopardizes the ability to complete medical student education, and that cannot be eliminated with a reasonable accommodation, will be dismissed from the School. Candidates currently impaired by alcohol or other substance abuse are not suitable for promotion or graduation.
University of Virginia School of Medicine Declaration of Meeting Technical Standards for Enrollment, Promotion, and Graduation
Note: It is the Candidate’s responsibility to complete and submit the document.
Are you capable of meeting the School of Medicine’s Technical Standards as described in the attached document?
___ Yes, without accommodations
___ Yes, with existing accommodations as approved by the Technical Standards Committee
___ No; review and accommodations are needed
Reminder: It is your responsibility to (a) notify the Office of Student Affairs in writing if you can no longer meet the Technical Standards without accommodation and (b) provide adequate current documentation of the nature and extent of the condition and/or functional limitations to be accommodated.
I certify that I have answered all questions accurately and truthfully.
Print full name: ____________________________________________
Sign full name: __________________________________________ Date ________________
Reviewed and reaffirmed by the Curriculum Committee June 2019; July 2020.