In the Doctor of Pharmacy program students are not only required to be successful in a rigorous academic program but must also be able to meet technical standards that are essential to practicing in the profession of pharmacy.
The technical standards include the following skills and abilities:
The student must demonstrate the ability to assimilate large amounts of detailed information, integrate that information and be capable of utilizing it for problem solving. He/she must be able to process information and demonstrate the ability to reason, comprehend, measure, calculate, analyze, memorize, organize, and synthesize complex information. In order to appreciate experiences in the laboratory and clinical settings, the student must perceive and understand visual spatial relationship structures and three dimensional relationships.
Oral and Written Communication Skills
The student must be able to demonstrate and use (in English) the knowledge acquired during the pharmacy education process to elicit, convey, clarify and transmit information (both in oral and written form) effectively, accurately, efficiently and sensitively to patients, their families and or care givers and other members of the health care team. Communication and transmission of information includes reading, writing, hearing and speech.
For example, students must be able to present legible and accurate information in oral and written form to a preceptor, professor, teammate, patients, families and other members of the health care team. Students must also be able to effectively and efficiently participate in sometimes fast paced small group discussions/interactions and in patient care settings where clinical decisions may depend on rapid communication.
Behavioral and Social Skills
The student must possess the emotional stability and the maturity necessary to interact with others in a responsible manner, to use sound judgment and to use ethical and clinical reasoning. The ability to make decisions appropriate to the care of patients; to function in a stressful and demanding environment; to adapt to new and changing situations and to cope with ambiguity is essential to the development and performance of future pharmacists. The student must be prompt in completion of all responsibilities with regard to providing pharmaceutical care to their patients. The possession of human relations skills is equally important. The student should demonstrate compassion, empathy, a caring attitude, tolerance, an acceptance of diversity and differences, personal generosity toward others, thoughtfulness and a general concern and respect for other individuals.
The pharmacy education process is both demanding and challenging. The student must have sufficient emotional and physical stamina to acquire the knowledge and skills required in the classroom, to perform the duties in the basic science and practice laboratories, to participate in activities on clinical rotations, to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function independently, competently and effectively under stress. The student must be able to complete the curriculum within the maximum time period specified by the faculty.
Motor Coordination and Sensory Abilities
Sufficient motor function, tactile ability and sensory abilities are required to attend and participate effectively in all classroom, laboratories, conferences, clinical settings, and activities that are part of the curriculum. Students must be able to remain fully alert and attentive at all times in clinical settings. Students must be able to perform some physical assessment of their patients including measurement of blood pressure using a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, perform fingersticks for the purpose of measurement of glucose for blood glucose monitoring or measurement of lipids for cholesterol screening, and subcutaneous injection, intramuscular injection or intranasal administration for the purposes of administering immunizations.
Students must be able to use fine motor skills to perform the functions necessary to compound sterile preparations in a laminar airflow hood using aseptic technique and compound non-sterile medications. Students must have sufficient motor skills to execute all aspects of the prescription process. Students must have the ability to safely and effectively operate appropriate equipment used in the laboratory and practice settings such as computers, and medical devices used in assessing a patient’s health status or for use in administering medications.
Observation and Sensory Skills
Through independent observation, the student must be able to acquire information in the PharmD curriculum, including that obtained from lectures, demonstrations, experiments and experiential education activities. Students must not lack any of the senses to the point that they cannot recognize normal versus abnormal and cannot acquire or perceive sufficient factual material to accurately assess a patient’s prescription or health information.
Meeting Technical Standards
The determination of whether an applicant or current student meets the technical standards will be done on an individual case by case basis. Upon request, qualified students with documented disabilities will be provided with reasonable accommodations to assist in learning, performing and satisfying fundamental standards of the program. Accommodation may involve an auxiliary aid but none that substitute for an essential technical skill or supplements clinical and ethical judgment. Although technological compensation and accommodations can be made for some disabilities in some of the technical areas, a student should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner without a trained intermediary or auxiliary aid. The use of a trained intermediary by a student means that a student’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection, observation, perception or cognitive support. (adapted from University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center and College of Medicine Technical and Health Standards).