Technical Standards

The education of a physician encompasses a preparatory phase in college, a rigorous undergraduate medical professional education leading to the MD degree, postgraduate or residency training and finally, lifelong continuing education after the conclusion of all formal training. The MD degree awarded at the completion of the undergraduate medical educational process certifies that the individual has acquired a broad base of knowledge and skills requisite for the practice of medicine.

Toward this end, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai requires that the educational process prepare an individual to be a physician. The educational process at the School is structured to allow the student to achieve this general goal and is in accord with the objectives defined by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the established agency in the United States for accreditation of medical schools. Admissions standards of the School, therefore, are rigorous and exacting. Admission may be extended only to those who are best qualified to meet the standards set forth below.

Candidates for the MD degree must have abilities and skills in five domains: observation, communication, motor, conceptual/integrative and quantitative, behavioral and social. Technological or other accommodations can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. Use of an intermediary for the collection of a patient’s history, including but not limited to sign-language interpretation or use of technological devices, is acceptable. Nevertheless, the candidate must be able to perform a full physical examination, must consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received by whatever sense(s) employed, and must have the intellectual ability to learn, gather information, communicate, and integrate, analyze and synthesize data.

The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including, but not limited to, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in animals, microbiologic cultures and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. A candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation requires the functional use of the senses of vision and somatic sensation.

A candidate should be able to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications in interactions with patients. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively, professionally, and sensitively with patients. In addition, the candidate must be able to communicate effectively, professionally, and efficiently with all members of the health care team in both immediate and recorded modes.

Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A candidate should be able to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.) and evaluate EKGs and X-rays. A candidate should be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the 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.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.

Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates must possess the emotional health required for full use 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 must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to 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 should be assessed during the admissions and education process.

Candidates for the MD degree must gather data from, communicate with, and care for, in a non-judgmental way, persons whose culture, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs are different from their own. Throughout the clinical curriculum, students must be able to consistently perform a complete history and physical exam on any patient regardless of the patient's race, color, national origin, marital status, military status, citizenship, disability, genetic predisposition, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age, or sexual preference.

Adherence to these technical standards is designed to ensure that the MD degree attests to the basic acquisition of general knowledge in all fields of medicine, as well as the acquisition of the basic skills necessary for medical practice.