Aptitudes, Abilities & Skills
A candidate for the MD degree must have aptitude and abilities in five areas: (1) observation; (2) communication; (3) sensory and motor coordination and function; (4) conceptual, integrative abilities; and (5) behavioral and social attributes.
The student must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in those experiments in the basic and clinical sciences determined essential by the respective faculties. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and closehand, noting non-verbal as well as verbal signals. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.
A student must be able to speak intelligibly, to hear adequately and to observe closely patients in order to elicit and transmit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive non-verbal communications. A student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. In addition, the student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. A student must possess reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients. The student must be capable of completing appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol and in a complete and timely manner.
Sensory & Motor Coordination & Function
A student must have sufficient sensory and motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Candidates for the MD degree must have somatic sensation and the functional use of the senses of vision and hearing. The student's diagnostic skills will be lessened without the functional use of the senses of equilibrium, smell and taste. Additionally, a student must have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain and temperature), sufficient proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) and sufficient motor function to permit him or her to carry out the activities described above. The student must be able to consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received by whatever senses are employed, and the student must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data.
Clinical training may require the ability to transport oneself to a variety of off-site settings in a timely manner. Rounds and patient care may require prolonged and/or rapid ambulation or movement. Reasonable accommodations will be determined on an individual basis and at the discretion of the Committee on Admissions or the Advancement Committee, with faculty consultation.
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative & Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities and often must be performed quickly, especially in emergency situations. A student must be able to identify significant findings from history, physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, prescribe appropriate medications and therapy and retain and recall information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgement in patient assessment and in diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential; students must be able to identify and communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
The student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgement and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Students must exhibit the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, colleagues, clinical and administrative staff, and all others with whom the student interacts in the professional or academic setting, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or other attributes or affiliations which may differ from those of the student. The student must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively when under stress. The student must be able 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. A student is expected to accept appropriate suggestions and criticism and, if necessary, respond by modification of behavior. Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.
The University of Maryland School of Medicine will consider for admission to medical school any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform, or to learn to perform within a reasonable time, the skills listed in this document.