Medical education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous acquisition of skills and professional attitudes and behaviors. The medical degree awarded by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine at the completion of the undergraduate medical education process certifies that the individual has acquired a broad base of knowledge and skills requisite for the practice of medicine. To this end, all courses in the curriculum must be completed successfully. In order to acquire the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care, candidates for the MD degree must have abilities and skills in five areas:
Technological compensation can be made for some disabilities in certain of these areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.
The candidate must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences including, but not limited to, physiological and pharmacological demonstrations in animals, microbiologic cultures, and microscope studies of micro-organisms 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 uses of the senses of vision and other sensory modalities.
A candidate must be able to elicit information from patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively 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.
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis, and retention of complex information. 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 to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
Candidates must possess the emotional health required for the 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 are assessed during the admissions and education process.