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Minimum Technical Standards

The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) is committed to training future doctors of osteopathic medicine who are prepared to participate in the continuum of medical training.  All candidates therefore must meet the technical standards required for providing diverse activities necessary for patient care, with consideration of the patient and interprofessional health care team member safety, welfare, and well-being.

Minimum Technical Standards

The Technical Standards encompass a spectrum of physical and mental activities and skills that all candidates and students must possess with or with out reasonable accommodation for performing on practice partners such as standardized patients or classmates as well as patients in a clinical setting.  Candidates and students must also be able to perform these abilities and skills in a reasonably independent manner.  Activities and skills include the following categories: 

  • Sensory (visual, hearing, tactile)
  • Motor
  • Intellectual
  • Communication
  • Behavioral and Social


a) Visual: Candidates and students must have sufficient visual capabilities for the purposes of observation. Observation includes the ability to visualize educational demonstrations and laboratory activities related to basic sciences and clinical activities.  Visual acuity includes but is not limited to the ability to observe a partner and patient at varying distances, being able to interpret diagnostic reports such as electrocardiograms and x-rays, and perform tasks in setting that may have visual distractions, such as crowds.  Observation includes non-verbal communication and is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.                          

b) Hearing: Candidates and students must have sufficient auditory ability to monitor and assess partners and patients for the purposes of acquiring necessary health information and working as a team in educational and health care settings. Auditory acuity includes skills such as auscultation, listening to monitors, and responding to verbal calls for assistance in urgent health care situations.  Candidates are expected to be able to perform skills in environments with a certain degree of background noise. 

c) Tactile: Candidates and students must have sufficient tactile sensory and proprioceptive abilities for the purposes of both gathering data in physical examinations and for practicing and performing medical procedures safely. Tactile acuity includes clinical skills such as palpation and percussion.

Motor Skills

Candidates and students should have sufficient motor function to coordinate both gross and fine motor movements, maintain equilibrium, and have the functional use of the senses of touch and vision in an educational and clinical setting.  This includes sufficient postural control and eye-hand coordination to perform clinical skills and tasks.  Candidates and students should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency care to patients.  This includes being able to safely and independently lift 20 pounds and work with a health care team in lifting patients.  Other activities which require sufficient motor activities include, but are not limited to: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of wounds, the performance of obstetrical maneuvers and performance of osteopathic manipulative techniques.  Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.


Candidates and students should be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and in a sensitive manner both verbally and non-verbally in order to interact with all members in both educational and clinical settings.  Verbal communication includes speaking, reading and writing.  English is the primary language used for all educational activities, including classroom and clinical settings.  Candidates and students must be able to communicate verbally, in writing, and by reading in English. Non-verbal communication includes those perceived behaviors, movements, postures and other physical characteristics that are interpreted as well as performed by the candidate and student.


Candidates and students must be able to conceptualize, integrate and qualitatively analyze information derived empirically and rationally.  This includes abilities to reason, calculate, analyze, measure and synthesize information in a variety of settings, including those that may be urgent with increased transient stress and distractions.  Candidates and students must comprehend three-dimensional relationships, and understand spatial relationships of structures, including anatomical structures.  

Behavioral and Social

Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities that include the exercise good judgment, prompt completion of all educational and clinical responsibilities, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with patients.  Candidates and students must be able to tolerate mentally and physically taxing workloads and 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 admissions and educational processes.