Technical Standards

Medical education requires the acquisition of academic knowledge, clinical and specialized communication skills as well as professional attitudes and behaviors. The doctor of medicine degree certifies that the student has acquired the broad base of knowledge and skills required for the practice of medicine and for entry into specialized postgraduate training programs. Graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of educational and clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. Since the treatment of patients is an essential part of the educational program, the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM) must, at all costs, act to protect the health and safety of patients.

Candidates for the MD degree must have abilities and skills in five areas: observation, communication, motor coordination, intellectual, and behavioral/social. These five areas include, but are not limited to, the following skills and abilities:

  1. Observation: Medical students must be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and personal encounters in the classroom, small group, and clinical settings. Independently, a student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. In addition, medical students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

  2. Communication: Medical students must be able to speak, hear and observe people in a variety of settings. In particular, students must be able to interact with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture and perceive nonverbal communications. Medical students must be able to communicate effectively, sensitively, and rapidly with peers, faculty, staff, members of the health care team, and patients. They must be able to give and receive constructive feedback. Medical students must demonstrate the ability to process feedback and utilize it to conform their behavior to expected professional standards.

  3. Motor Coordination: Students must be able to independently elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must be able to execute safely motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

  4. Intellectual: Medical students must be able to integrate information received by whatever sense(s) employed. They must be able to problem-solve rapidly. This critical skill demanded of physicians requires the ability to learn, reason, integrate, analyze and synthesize data concurrently in a multi-task setting where there may be a high level of stress and distraction.

  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Medical students must possess the emotional health required for appropriate utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the timely completion of all responsibilities attendant to their academic work, team work, and patient care. They must demonstrate the ability to develop mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with peers, faculty, staff, members of the healthcare team, and patients. Medical students must demonstrate empathy, and concern for others while respecting appropriate personal and professional boundaries. Medical students must demonstrate integrity as manifested by truthfulness, acceptance of responsibility for one's actions, accountability for mistakes, and the ability to place the well being of the patient above their own when necessary. They must be able to tolerate demanding workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the medical education and clinical practice settings.


We provide equal opportunity to all students and will attempt to reasonably accommodate qualified persons with disabilities.