Technical Non-Academic Standards

In conjunction with the applicable academic and accreditation standards, the faculty in each of the programs at MCPHS has established certain abilities and characteristics defined as technical standards. Candidates for enrollment in programs at MCPHS must meet these technical standards, which may include but are not limited to observation, communication, sensory and motor coordination and function, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social attributes. These standards may be met with or without reasonable accommodations.

Please carefully review the technical standards below for the program to which you have applied. The standards can also be found in the MCPHS University Catalog. If you have questions regarding technical standards, please contact the Admission Office.

The School of Arts and Sciences has specified the following non-academic criteria, which all students are expected to meet, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to participate in the educational programs of the School.

Observation

Students must be able to carry out procedures involved in the learning process that are fundamental
to the courses offered at the University. Students are expected to actively participate in all
demonstrations/laboratory exercises in the basic sciences, and to learn and function in a wide
variety of didactic settings in science, humanities, social, and behavioral sciences courses. Such
observation and information acquisition requires the functional use of visual, auditory, and
somatic sensation. Students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations,
experiments, and laboratory exercises in the sciences, including computer-assisted instruction.
They must be able to view images via a microscope.

Communication

Students must be able to communicate effectively in English with faculty, students, administrators,
and peers in settings where communication is typically oral or written. They should
be able to speak, hear, and observe in order to be effectively involved in the didactic learning
process. They are expected to acquire, assimilate, interpret, integrate, and apply information
from direct observation, oral communication, written messages, films, slides, microscope,
and other media.

Motor and Sensory

Students must possess sufficient motor function, fine motor skills, and sensory skills to perform
the requirements identified in their respective professional career track. They should
possess sufficient motor function to execute the necessary movements to participate in the laboratory portion of the science courses. Such actions require coordination of both gross and
fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

Observation

Candidates and students must have sufficient capacity to observe in the lecture hall, laboratory, and diagnostic and treatment areas of outpatient and inpatient settings. Sensory skills to perform the procedures of the healthcare profession in which students are enrolled are required. In any case where a candidate’s or student’s ability to observe or acquire information through sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate or student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information conveyed in this fashion.

Communication

Candidates and students must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and healthcare settings. Candidates and students must show evidence of effective written and oral communication skills. Candidates and students must be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit and impart information.

Motor

The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures is required. Candidates and students must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to properly care for all patients. Candidates and students must be able to perform motor functions with or without assistive devices.

Intellectual

Candidates and students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of healthcare professionals, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the specific Health Sciences Program, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in healthcare problem-solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Candidates and students must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the healthcare team is essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for others are all required.

MCPHS has established the following list of technical standards for the majors of Nuclear Medicine, Radiography, and Radiation Therapy

These technical standards conform to the professional technical standards required for the safe and ethical practice of the task/skills associated with clinical nuclear medicine, medical radiography, and clinical radiation therapy. Each student, with reasonable accommodation, must be able to demonstrate that he/she is able to:

  • Reach and manipulate equipment to its highest position (Six feet).
  • Communicate in a clear and concise manner with patients of all ages, including obtaining health history and pertinent information.
  • Read and apply appropriate instructions contained in requisitions, notes, and patient charts.
  • Transfer patients from wheelchairs and stretchers and help them on/off treatment table.
  • Move a standard wheelchair and/or stretcher from a waiting area to a treatment area.
  • Understand and apply clinical instructions given by department personnel.
  • Visually monitor patients/charts/machine indicator lights in dimly lit conditions.
  • Detect audible alarms and background sounds during procedures to ensure patient/staff safety.
  • Demonstrate manual dexterity to perform necessary manipulations such as drawing doses with a syringe, manipulating locks, and putting on surgical gloves.
  • Endure an eight-hour day with a minimum of four to six hours of standing or walking.
  • Endure a minimum of two hours of didactic instructions in a classroom environment.
  • Radiation Therapy Majors Only: Demonstrate the ability to lift up to 30 pounds and position beam directional, immobilizing, and modifying devices.

A pre-licensure candidate for the BSN degree must have abilities and skills in four areas: communication, observation, motor function and endurance, and behavioral maturity. Rea­sonable accommodations may be made for some disabilities. However, pre-licensure BSN students must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner, with or without accommodations.

Communication

  • Must be able to communicate effectively with patients, families, and members of the healthcare team through oral, written, and interpersonal means.
  • Must be able to obtain information, describe patient situations, and perceive both oral and non-verbal communication (including ability to understand normal speech with­out seeing the speaker's face).
  • Must be able to speak, comprehend, read, and write in English at a level that meets the need for accurate, clear and effective communication; examples include but are not limited to: giving clear oral reports, reading watches or clocks with second hands, read­ing graphs, reading and understanding documents printed in English, writing legibly in English, and discriminating subtle differences in medical terminology.

Observation

  • Must be able to observe a patient accurately; examples include but are not limited to:
  • listening to heart and breath sounds; visualizing the appearance of a surgical wound; detecting bleeding, unresponsiveness, or other changes in patient status; detecting the presence of foul odor; and palpating an abdomen.
  • Must be able to detect and respond to emergency situations, including audible alarms (e.g., monitors, call bells, fire alarms).

Motor Function and Endurance

  • Must have sufficient strength and mobility to work effectively and safely with patients and carry out nursing care activities; examples include but are not limited to: lifting and positioning patients (lifting up to 50 pounds, carrying up to 25 pounds), transferring patients in and out of bed, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (AHA Healthcare Provider), preparation and administration of medications (oral, injection, intravenous, includ­ing hanging IV bags at shoulder height), reading and emptying body fluid collection devices below bed level, application of pressure to stop bleeding, clearing/opening an obstructed airway, and provision of daily hygiene care.
  • Must be able to complete assigned periods of clinical practice, including up to twelve-hour shifts (including days, evenings, nights, weekends).
  • Must be able to respond at a speed and in a manner sufficient to carry out patient as­signments within the allotted time.

Behavioral

  • Must possess mental and emotional health required for total utilization of intellectual abilities.
  • Must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
  • Must be able to respond and function effectively during stressful situations.
  • Must be capable of adapting to rapidly-changing environments, and respond with flex­ibility in uncertain situations.
  • Must be able to interact appropriately with others (e.g. patients, families, members of healthcare team) in various healthcare contexts.

In order to fully describe elements required for successful completion of its professional optometric degree program, the MCPHS School of Optometry has adopted guidelines developed and adopted by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). All students are expected to demonstrate each of the competencies contained within these functional guidelines:

Functional Guidelines for Didactic and Clinical Optometric Education

To provide guidance to those considering optometry as a profession, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) has established functional guidelines for optometric education. The ability to meet these guidelines, along with other criteria established by individual optometric institutions, is necessary for graduation from an optometric professional degree program.

Our mission is to produce graduates fully qualified to provide quality comprehensive eye care services to the public. To fulfill this mission, each institution must ensure that students demonstrate satisfactory knowledge and skill in the provision of optometric care. Admission committees therefore consider a candidate’s capacity to function effectively in academic and clinical environments as well as a candidate’s academic qualifications and personal attributes.

The functional guidelines in optometric education require that the candidate/student possess appropriate abilities in the following areas: (1) observation; (2) communication; (3) sensory and motor coordination; (4) intellectual–conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and (5) behavioral and social attributes. Each of these areas is described in this document.

In any case where a student’s abilities in one of these areas are compromised, he or she must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to meet the functional requirements. It is expected that seeking and using such alternative means and/or abilities shall be the responsibility of the student. Upon receipt of the appropriate documentation, the school or college will be expected to provide reasonable assistance and accommodation to the student.

Observation Abilities

The student must be able to acquire a defined level of required knowledge as presented through lectures, laboratories, demonstrations, patient interaction, and self-study. Acquiring this body of information necessitates the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities. Examples of these observational skills in which accurate information needs to be extracted in an efficient manner include the following:

Visual abilities (as they relate to such things as visual acuity, color vision, and binocularity):

  • Visualizing and reading information from papers, films, slides, video, and computer displays
  • Observing optical, anatomic, physiologic, and pharmacologic demonstrations and experiments
  • Discriminating microscopic images of tissue and microorganisms
  • Observing a patient and noting nonverbal signs
  • Discriminating numbers, images, and patterns associated with diagnostic tests and instruments
  • Visualizing specific ocular tissues in order to discern three-dimensional relationships, depth, and color changes

Auditory abilities:

  • Understanding verbal presentations in lecture, laboratory, and patient settings
  • Recognizing and interpreting various sounds associated with laboratory experiments as well as diagnostic and therapeutic procedures

Tactile abilities:

  • Palpating the eye and related areas to determine the integrity of the underlying structures
  • Palpating and feeling certain cardiovascular pulses

Communication Abilities

The student must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently, and sensitively with patients and their families, peers, staff, instructors, and other members of the healthcare team. The student must be able to demonstrate established communication skills using traditional and alternative means. Examples of required communications skills include the following:

  • Relating effectively and sensitively to patients, conveying compassion and empathy
  • Perceiving verbal and nonverbal communication such as sadness, worry, agitation, and lack of comprehension from patients
  • Eliciting information from patients and observing changes in mood and activity
  • Communicating quickly, effectively, and efficiently in oral and written English with patients and other members of the healthcare team
  • Reading and legibly recording observations, test results, and management plans accurately
  • Completing assignments, patient records, and correspondence accurately and in a timely manner

Sensory and Motor Coordination Abilities

Students must possess the sensory and motor skills necessary to perform an eye examination, including emergency care. In general, this requires sufficient exteroception sense (touch, pain, temperature), proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibration) and fine motor function (significant coordination and manual dexterity using arms, wrists, hands, and fingers). Examples of skills required include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Instillation of ocular pharmaceutical agents
  • Insertion, removal, and manipulation of contact lenses
  • Assessment of blood pressure and pulse
  • Removal of foreign objects from the cornea
  • Simultaneous manipulation of lenses, instruments, and therapeutic agents and devices
  • Reasonable facility of movement
  • Injections into the eye, lids, or limbs

Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

Problem solving, a most critical skill, is essential for optometric students and must be performed quickly, especially in emergency situations. In order to be an effective problem solver, the student must be able to accurately and efficiently utilize such abilities as measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, judgment, investigation, memory, numerical recognition, and synthesis. Examples of these abilities include being able to:

  • Determine appropriate questions to be asked and clinical tests to be performed
  • Identify and analyze significant findings from history, examination, and other test data
  • Demonstrate good judgment and provide a reasonable assessment, diagnosis, and management of patients
  • Retain, recall, and obtain information in an efficient manner
  • Identify and communicate the limits of one’s knowledge and skill

Behavioral and Social Attributes

The student must possess the necessary behavioral and social attributes for the study and practice of optometry. Examples of such attributes include the following:

  • Satisfactory emotional health required for full utilization of one’s intellectual ability
  • High ethical standards and integrity
  • An empathy with patients and concern for their welfare
  • Commitment to the optometric profession and its standards
  • Effective interpersonal relationships with patients, peers, and instructors
  • Professional demeanor
  • Effective functioning under varying degrees of stress and workload
  • Adaptability to changing environments and uncertainties
  • Positive acceptance of suggestions and constructive criticism

Domain: Communications

Performance Standards

A) Must have functional English speaking, reading and writing abilities necessary to communicate clearly and professionally with faculty, staff, peers, patients, and healthcare professionals in a mature and professional manner that reflects the core values of the University.

B) Communication includes both verbal and non-verbal expression, reading, writing, and computer skills

Essential Functions

  • Ability to participate in class discussions/group projects/practical labs for the purpose of the delivery and receipt of medical information
  • Ability to recognize both verbal and non-verbal communication including facial expressions and body language
  • Ability to demonstrate awareness of and appropriately communicate both verbally and non-verbally
  • Ability to report accurately and legibly in patients’ charts demonstrating the knowledge of the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar
  • Ability to explain to other healthcare team members, patients, and/or caregivers reason for treatment, preventive measures, disease process and need for referral
  • Ability to use computers and other technology to accurately record information and convey critical health-related documentation
  • Ability to recognize and respond to physical and psychological needs of patients

Domain: Intellectual/Performance Standards

A) Must have critical and logical thinking ability sufficient to engage in clinical judgment and problem-solving to address issues and problems within all learning environments

B) Must have ability to multi-task and to perform work in a logical and sequential manner

Essential Functions

  • Must be able to memorize, perform scientific measurement and calculation, reason, analyze, and synthesize information
  • Demonstrate ability to retrieve (electronically and manually), read, understand, and interpret medical, scientific and professional information and literature
  • Demonstrate the intellectual and reasoning abilities required to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Demonstrate ability to learn effectively through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to classroom instruction, small group discussion, individual study of materials, preparation and presentation of written and oral reports, and use of computers and other technology
  • Demonstrate ability to prioritize and complete tasks in laboratory, clinical, and patient care settings with time constraints
  • Perform a variety of duties accurately, often changing from one task to another without loss of efficiency or composure

Domain: Behavioral/Social

Performance Standards

A) Must possess ability to interact with and relate to faculty, staff, peers, patients, and healthcare professionals in a mature and professional manner that reflects the core values of the University.

B) Demonstrate sensitivity to people from a variety of cultural backgrounds

C) Must possess ability to interact with and respond to needs of patients and caregivers from a variety of cultural backgrounds and with a diversity of emotional, intellectual, and physical health issues

Essential Functions

  • Must be of sufficient emotional and mental health to utilize fully intellectual abilities to exercise good judgment, to complete patient care responsibilities appropriately, and to relate to faculty, staff, peers, patients, and healthcare professionals with courtesy, compassion, maturity and respect for their dignity
  • Must be able to effectively function when faced with the challenges and uncertainties in classroom, laboratories, and experiential settings
  • Must accept constructive criticism and be able to respond and modify behavior accordingly
  • Must be able to interact with faculty, staff, peers, patients, and members of the healthcare team in a mature and professional manner that reflects the core values of the University.

Domain: Visual/Auditory

Performance Standards

A) Must possess sufficient visual and auditory abilities to gather data from written reference material, oral presentations, illustrations, diagrams, and patient observation

Essential Functions

  • Ability to gather data from written reference material, computer-based programs, and from oral presentations
  • Ability to observe and/or conduct demonstrations and experiments
  • Ability to utilize various types of physical assessment skills required for patient-centered care including reading digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena
  • Ability to execute movements reasonably required to properly participate in the activities of a laboratory or an experiential rotation that are components of pharmacy practice
  • Have vision sufficient to read and interpret prescriptions, prescription labels, and drug labels

Domain: Tactile and Motor Competencies

Performance Standards

A) Must possess sufficient tactile and motor abilities to prepare pharmaceutical products, evaluate patients, and perform basic laboratory tests

Essential Functions

  • Possess manual dexterity necessary to manipulate and control laboratory equipment and materials
  • Possess manual dexterity sufficient to accurately compound and prepare pharmaceutical products for dispensing to patients
  • Possess manual dexterity and sense of touch sufficient to perform basic patient assessments including, but not limited to palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers
  • Possess sufficient manual dexterity to conduct laboratory diagnostic tests and administer non-oral medications

Observation

Candidates and students must have sufficient capacity to observe in the lecture hall, laboratory, and diagnostic and treatment areas of outpatient and inpatient settings. Sensory skills to perform the procedures of the healthcare profession in which students are enrolled are required. In any case where a candidate’s or a student’s ability to observe or acquire information through sensory modalities is compromised, the candidate or student must demonstrate alternative means and/or abilities to acquire and demonstrate the essential information conveyed in this fashion.

Communication

Candidates and students must be able to communicate effectively in both academic and healthcare settings. Candidates and students must show evidence of effective written and oral communication skills, and must be able to communicate with patients in order to elicit and impart information.

Motor

The ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures is required. Candidates and students must have sufficient motor function to execute movements reasonably required to properly care for all patients, and must be able to perform motor functions with or without assistive devices.

Intellectual

Candidates and students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem solving, one of the critical skills demanded of healthcare professionals, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able to read and understand medical literature. In order to complete the specific Health Sciences program, students must be able to demonstrate mastery of these skills and the ability to use them together in a timely fashion in healthcare problem solving and patient care.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Candidates and students must possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities. The development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the healthcare team is essential. The ability to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, flexibility, compassion, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and concern for others are all required.

Intellectual and Communication Skills

Intellectual skills include the ability to recall and comprehend large amounts of didactic information and to apply this information to the examination, evaluation, and management of intervention with patients/clients who have complex occupational performance problems. Effective communication skills enable the occupational therapist to elicit appropriate information from patients/clients and to effectively explain assessment and intervention processes and procedures. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Communicate clearly and in a timely manner with patients/clients, families and care providers, physicians and other health professionals, community and professional groups, and colleagues.
  • Document clearly, and in a timely manner in patient/client records, reports to physicians, insurance reports, and order forms.
  • Respond to emergency situations.
  • Participate in group meetings to deliver and receive information and to respond to questions from a variety of sources.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must demonstrate the ability to practice in a professional and ethical manner and possess the emotional maturity to practice in a stressful work environment. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and motivation are all personal attributes associated with the practice of occupational therapy. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Recognize and respond appropriately to individuals of all ages, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Cope with the stress of heavy workloads, demanding patients/clients, and life-threatening clinical situations.
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to potentially hazardous situations.

Observational Skills

Observation is integral to effective occupational therapy practice. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Observe and interpret patient/client participation in a wide variety of occupations applying a broad range of biopsychosocial knowledge and perspectives.
  • Read and interpret patient/client records, specialized equipment, patient/client assessment data, professional literature, and notes from patients/clients, physicians, and other health professionals.

Motor Skills

The practice of occupational therapy requires that practitioners possess the ability to perform evaluative and therapeutic procedures, requiring specific physical skills and stamina. An occupational therapist must be able to use vision and somatic sensation in the evaluation and treatment of patients/clients. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include but are not limited to the ability to:

  • Lift, carry, and push patients (150 lbs.) in bed or wheelchairs, heavy equipment, and patients/clients transferring from one surface to another using proper body mechanics.
  • Walk and balance well enough to help patients/clients walk and transfer with or without equipment, and prevent injury to patient/client and self.
  • Exhibit sufficient manual dexterity to manipulate small equipment, provide support and resistance as needed during the performance of complex occupations, perform CPR, and treat acutely ill patients without disturbing sensitive monitoring instruments and lines.
  • Provide for patient/client’s safety and well-being in all intervention activities.

Professional Behaviors

In addition to knowledge and skill acquisition, the process of becoming a professional involves developing competence in professional behavior. Students are expected to display professional behavior at all times including during fieldwork experiences. This includes displaying a professional demeanor in interactions and boundaries with patients/clients and their families, clinical/school/healthcare staff, peers, faculty and the public at all times in consideration of their representation of the profession of occupational therapy and MCPHS University.

Intellectual-Communication Abilities

Intellectual skills include the ability to recall and comprehend large amounts of didactic information and to apply this information to the examination, evaluation, and management of routine and complex physical therapy problems. Effective communication skills enable the physical therapist to elicit appropriate information from patients and to effectively explain examination and treatment procedures. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Communicate clearly and in a timely manner with patients, physicians, other health professionals, community or professional groups, and colleagues;
  • Report clearly, legibly, and in a timely manner through progress notes in patient charts, reports to physicians, insurance forms, and order forms;
  • Respond to such things as a patient calling from behind a curtain, warning calls from anyone, and machine alarms; and
  • Participate in group meetings to deliver and receive information and to respond to questions from a variety of sources.

Behavioral-Social Attributes

Students must demonstrate the ability to practice in a professional and ethical manner and possess the emotional stability to practice in a stressful work environment. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and motivation are all personal attributes associated with the practice of physical therapy. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Recognize and respond appropriately to individuals of all ages; genders; races; and socioeconomic, religious, and cope with the stress of heavy workloads, demanding patients, and life-threatening clinical situations
  • Recognize and respond appropriately to potentially hazardous situations

Observational Skills

Observation is one of the key tools that a physical therapist possesses. To gather data on patient/client condition and to appropriately manipulate machinery are critical to being an effective physical therapist. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Observe and interpret patient movement, skin condition, safety hazards, and changes in appearance
  • Read and interpret equipment dials; assessment graphs; patient charts; professional literature; and notes from patients, physicians, and other health professionals

Motor Skills

The practice of physical therapy requires that the practitioner possess the ability to perform basic evaluative and therapeutic procedures that require specific physical skills and stamina (e.g., palpation, transfers, gait training). A therapist must be able to use vision and somatic sensation in the evaluation and treatment of patients. Some of the skills an individual must be able to demonstrate include, but are not limited to, the ability to

  • Lift, carry, and push patients (150 pounds) in beds or wheelchairs, heavy equipment, body parts, and patients transferring from bed to chair or mat, or be able to instruct others in the activity, including proper body mechanics
  • Walk and balance well enough to help patients walk and transfer with or without equipment, and prevent injury to patient and self
  • Palpate anatomical structures and handle injured body parts without causing injury to the subject
  • Exhibit sufficient manual dexterity to manipulate very small equipment, provide support and resistance as needed through complex exercise movements
  • Perform CPR, manipulate dials, and treat acutely ill patients without disturbing sensitive monitoring instruments and lines
  • Provide for the patient’s safety and well-being in all therapeutic or transporting activities

Professional Behaviors

In addition to knowledge and skill acquisition, the process of becoming a professional involves developing competence in professional behavior. Students are expected to display professional behavior at all times including during clinical education experiences. This includes displaying a professional demeanor in interactions and boundaries with patients and their families, clinical staff, peers, faculty, and the public at all times in consideration of their representation of the profession of physical therapy and MCPHS. Any student demonstrating unprofessional behavior will be referred to the PT Professional and Academic Review Committee.