Each student enrolled at the Health Science Center is individually responsible for knowing current academic and administrative policies and the procedures and operational policies that apply to enrollment in his or her chosen degree program. This section of the catalog provides selected academic and administrative policies governing the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree program. Other general policies are stated elsewhere in this catalog. Academic policies and guidance are also presented in other official Health Science Center documents and specific program publications.
The Health Science Center reserves the right to amend or add to the academic policies and scholastic regulations at any time during the enrollment period. Such changes or additions are intended to improve the quality of education and are introduced in a fair and deliberate manner with timely notice provided to all students affected by the changes.
Registration is conducted each semester and consists of paying tuition and fees as well as completing the appropriate registration forms and submitting them to the Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Finance, and Student Affairs. Late fees are assessed for late registration for each day following the designated registration date. TCOM students are only permitted to attend courses and clinical rotations listed on their official schedules and/or otherwise approved by the dean of TCOM. Students are not permitted to enroll in two or more courses scheduled to meet at the same time. Only properly enrolled students will be permitted to attend classes. A check returned unpaid to UNTHSC due to no fault of the bank or institution will incur a penalty and may also result in additional charges for late registration.
Health and Technical Standards
TCOM requires each student to meet certain minimum technical standards as outlined below. Every TCOM student is required to possess those intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities necessary to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence as set forth by the faculty and necessary to treat patients of all genders, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
The DO degree signifies that the holder is a physician prepared for entry into the practice of medicine within postgraduate training programs. Therefore, every TCOM graduate must have the knowledge and skills to effectively function in a broad variety of clinical situations and be able to safely provide a wide spectrum of patient care.
Each TCOM student must be able to quickly, accurately, and consistently learn, integrate, analyze, and synthesize data while delivering full patient care. Each student must have the ability to see, hear, and touch independently to optimally assess the physical, mental, and emotional status of patients. To facilitate the acquisition of skills necessary to provide optimum patient care and safety, each student at TCOM must:
- Behave in a manner exhibiting high moral and behavioral standards reflecting the position and status of an osteopathic physician.
- Demonstrate respect for individuals and groups regardless of race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, age or disabilities.
- Meet minimal technical and ability standards.
Each TCOM student must have abilities and skills in four areas: observation, communication, motor function, and cognition. Each student must be able to meet all technical standards either with or without reasonable accommodation. The specific technical standards required by TCOM are set forth below.
Observation & Visual Integration
Each student must have sufficient visual capabilities to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic and clinical sciences. Each student must have sufficient visual capabilities to observe patients and any normal or abnormal finding the patient may exhibit.
Each student must be able to observe a patient accurately at varying distances with the ability to determine size and depth of an object in low light at 0.3 cm, and with the ability to discern non-verbal communication.
Each student must be able to speak, hear, and observe in order to effectively interact with patients to elicit information, perform physical exams, describe changes in patients’ mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communication. Each student must be able to communicate effectively in English with patients.
Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Each student must be able to effectively and efficiently communicate orally and in writing, including, but not limited to, presenting cases, reading charts, and writing prescriptions and patient care notes, and must do so in areas where there may be distractions.
Each student must have motor function necessary to execute movements required to provide general osteopathic medical care and emergency treatment. This includes but is not limited to palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers. Examples of movements reasonably required of physicians include, but are not limited to, the performance of basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), diagnostic procedures (spinal tap, fundoscopic examination etc.), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, opening of obstructed airways, suturing of simple wounds, assisting in surgery, obstetrical maneuvers and osteopathic manipulative treatment. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Tactile Sensory Skills
Each TCOM student must possess the ability to use his or her sensory skills. Sensory skills are used in palpation, osteopathic structural diagnosis, osteopathic manipulative treatment, and medical diagnosis and treatment.
Strength and Mobility
Performance of medical treatments, such as osteopathic manipulative treatments and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, often require upright posture, sufficient upper and lower extremity strength, and overall body strength and mobility to perform appropriate treatment. Each TCOM student must possess the strength and mobility to perform appropriate treatments for his/her patients.
One of the most critical skills required of a physician is the ability to solve complex problems. Problem-solving involves intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative cognitive abilities, as well as the ability to perform measurements, calculations, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem-solving in patient care means making and carrying out diagnostic and treatment decisions under a time limitation, under a reasonable amount of stress, and across diverse clinical settings where others may be present and where there is a certain degree of noise. Each TCOM student must be able to concentrate, analyze and interpret data, and make decisions within areas in which there is a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction. In addition, each TCOM student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
Where a deficiency occurs, it must be compensated with the aid of prosthetics to the extent that each student meets the technical standards. Reasonable adaptations are those that will enable the osteopathic student to function independently. Every TCOM student is required to function in a team-like fashion in an unimpaired manner with other health professionals. The use of a trained intermediary-meaning that a student’s judgment and ability to treat must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation-is not a permissible accommodation. Reasonable accommodation will be determined following TCOM’s policy.
Admitted students who have questions about whether or not they meet these Technical Standards, please contact the Director of Admissions at 817-735-2204.
In the event that accommodations (including temporary) are requested, the student must contact the Center for Academic Performance (CAP) for disability assessment at 817-735-2407.