Medical education requires that the accumulation of knowledge be accompanied by the acquisition of skills and professional attitudes and behavior. Medical school faculties have a responsibility to society to matriculate and graduate the best possible physicians, and thus admission to medical school is offered to those who present the highest qualifications for the study and practice of medicine. Technical standards presented in this document are pre-requisite for admission, progression, and graduation from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. All courses in the curriculum are required so that students can develop the essential knowledge and skills necessary to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.
The LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and has determined that certain technical standards must be met by prospective candidates and students. A candidate for the M.D. degree must possess aptitude, abilities, and skills in the five areas discussed below. Reasonable accommodation will be made for otherwise qualified persons with disabilities. All individuals must be able to perform independently; therefore, third parties cannot be used to assist students in accomplishing curricular requirements in the five skill areas specified below.
Observation necessitates the use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities. The individual must have visual acuity to make accurate observations, both close at hand and at a distance. The individual must be able to observe physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues. The individual must have the visual acuity necessary able to read electrocardiograms, radiographs, and other diagnostic tests.
Communication includes not only speech, but reading and writing. The individual must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with patients and with members of the health care team. The individual must be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and to perceive nonverbal communications.
Motor Function and Coordination
Individuals must have sufficient motor function to obtain information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. The individual must have sufficient motor function to do basic laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.) and carry out diagnostic procedures (proctoscopy, paracentesis, etc.). An individual must be able to perform motor activities required in providing general and emergency treatment to patients, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administering intravenous medication, applying pressure to stop bleeding, opening obstructed airways, suturing simple wounds, and performing routine obstetrical maneuvers. Such actions require both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and coordinated use of the senses of touch and vision.
Intellectual Abilities: Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative
Intellectual abilities include measuring, calculating, reasoning, analyzing, and synthesizing information. Problem solving, a critical skill demanded of physicians, may require all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, individuals must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships in order to understand the spatial relationships of anatomic structures.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Individuals must possess the emotional health required for the appropriate use of their intellectual and mental abilities, including logical thinking, good judgment, impulse control, empathy, interest and motivation. These abilities should be sufficient to assure the development and maintenance of therapeutic relationships with patients and those who care for them. Individuals must be able to maintain emotional health despite stress, uncertainty, and physically taxing workloads and to adapt to changing situations while handling the responsibilities associated with medical education and patient care.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine at New Orleans will consider for admission, progression, and graduation individuals who demonstrate the knowledge and the ability to perform or learn to perform the skills described in this document. Individuals will be assessed not only on their scholastic accomplishments, but also on their physical and emotional capacities to meet the requirements of the school’s curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective practitioners of medicine. Therefore, the following technical requirements apply.
- The ability to observe and participate in experiments in the basic sciences
- The ability to analyze, synthesize, extrapolate, solve problems, and reach diagnostic and therapeutic judgments in a timely manner
- The sufficient use of the senses of vision, hearing and the somatic sensation necessary to perform a physical examination
- The ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, faculty, and peers
- The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with patients, and colleagues
- The ability to perform routine laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures
- The ability to perform appropriately in emergency situations
- The ability to display good judgment in the assessment and treatment of patients
The new medical student will find that the demands, requirements, responsibilities, and rewards of medical school far exceed those of undergraduate school. The following sections will discuss some of the students’ academic responsibilities and the means by which the curriculum is processed.
Statement of Requirements and Notification of Progress
At the beginning of each course, including electives, students will be informed, in writing, of the standard of performance expected of them by the faculty of that course. The standard of performance includes how grades are derived; and a description of the student’s responsibilities in the course such as attendance at lectures, laboratories and other course activities. A statement of these requirements is to be filed in the Office of Student Affairs and Records prior to the beginning of the academic year.
At mid-course and at other times, which may be considered appropriate, a review is to be made of each student’s performance in the course, as determined by examinations, staff reports, and other available means of appraisal. If a student’s performance is considered to be marginal or below minimal course standards, the head of the department or another faculty member designated for this purpose shall arrange for a personal conference with the student involved to discuss deficiencies observed and to suggest corrective measures to be taken. Also, by mid-course, in those courses evaluated in part by non-cognitive means, conferences are to be held with all students to apprise them of how they are performing and how they might improve their level of performance.
All of the following criteria must be met satisfactorily for a student enrolled in the School of Medicine to be eligible for promotion.
- Satisfactory completion of all course work specified for the academic level
- Fulfilling all requirements established by the faculty of each course
- Approval for promotion by the appropriate promotions committee
Removal of Deficiency Status
A grade of F (failure) in any course is indicative of an academic deficiency. All academic deficiencies must be removed before a student is eligible for promotion. This requires additional work or some corrective action on the part of the student. Permission to remove a deficiency is granted the student by the appropriate promotions committee. The manner in which a deficiency may be removed and the length of time to be allowed for the removal of a deficiency is to be specified by the department or faculty of the course in which the deficiency has occurred. The completed work is indicated on the student’s record as “Re-examination,” or “Summer Make-Up.” A grade of honors, high pass, pass, or fail may be assigned for the Summer make-up or re-examination. However, honors hours cannot be earned from honors grades achieved from Summer make-up or from re-examination.
Statement of Satisfactory Academic Progress
A student allowed continued enrollment in the School of Medicine is considered making satisfactory academic progress. Student promotions committees meet at least at the end of each academic year and review the qualitative and quantitative academic progress of each student. A student not satisfactorily completing all course requirements during the first two years may be required to repeat an entire academic year of study, on probation. The first two years must be completed in no more than three years excluding leaves of absences. A student not satisfactorily completing all course requirements in the third and fourth years may be required to repeat an entire academic year of study, on probation. The third and fourth years must be completed in no more than three years excluding leaves of absences. Thus each student must complete the four year curriculum in no more than six years after initial enrollment excluding leaves of absences.
There is a Pre-clinical Sciences Promotions Committee which considers academic problems of students enrolled in years one and two of the curriculum. Individual third and fourth year Promotions Committees consider academic problems of students enrolled in years three and four. Each committee consists of the course directors and representative faculty of each course in the year or years represented. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Records serves as chairman of each committee.
Promotions committees have the responsibility for final action relating to student promotions. They also have an obligation to conduct a comprehensive review of the records of students who have acquired deficiencies, using all pertinent data available from any appropriate source, such as student files, and associated information from the Office of Student Affairs and Records. In order to assure that the committee has adequate information for making a proper decision, it may be indicated to seek comments from a student’s faculty advisor or any other faculty member designated by the student. In reaching a decision on action to be taken in connection with a student who has incurred deficiencies, the committee shall give due consideration to the nature, extent, and significance of the deficiencies manifested. It shall take into account the relationship of the activity and time required for completion of the measures for removal of deficiency specified by the departments involved. It shall also evaluate the influence of other factors which relate to the best interest of the student and the School. The committee may designate an appropriate course of action as described below:
- Promotion after removal of all deficiencies as specified.
- Permission to repeat the year taking the entire course work of that year on probation
- Dismissal for failure to meet the requirements in a satisfactory manner
- Special procedure, which may be indicated in exceptional cases
In the event that a student fails to remove a deficiency, the committee shall decide which of the remaining alternatives stated above is to be followed. When a student is given permission to repeat a year, grades are recorded but no hours are earned and no credit is given for honors hours for the failing year. Full credit is given when repeating and honors hours may be earned.
If the promotions committee concludes that a student be dismissed because the student has failed to meet academic requirements satisfactorily, a recommendation for dismissal will be sent to the Dean of the School of Medicine. After review, the Dean must choose either (1) to uphold the dismissal as recommended, or (2), if extenuating circumstances warrant, to reconvene the committee and investigate the student’s record further.
A student dismissed from the rolls of the School of Medicine has the right to appeal the decision of the Dean, providing such appeals occur within 15 calendar days of notification of dismissal. The student may appeal the decision for dismissal directly to the Dean. The Dean may reconvene the appropriate promotions committee if new information, not previously considered by the committee, which has bearing on the case, is revealed. At that meeting, the student may call upon a faculty advocate to support his or her case. At the conclusion of that meeting the appropriate promotions committee refers its recommendation to the Dean for final decision. In other cases, the Dean may seek counsel from a faculty committee. The student is given the opportunity to appear before a committee of three faculty members, one chosen by the Dean, one chosen by the student, and a third chosen by the first two. This committee gathers and evaluates the facts of the case, which are the substance of the appeal, and recommends an action to the Dean, whose decision is then final. The decision of appeal reached by the Dean represents the highest level of due process available in the School of Medicine.
For a student who has engaged in cheating, unprofessional conduct, or other improper behavior, occurring within or outside the confines of the teaching programs, dismissal or other specified disciplinary action may be recommended after a review by the appropriate committee and school official.
Accusations against students are to be submitted in writing to any member of the Student Faculty Council on Professional Conduct, consisting of eight active representatives: one student from each of the four classes, two faculty from the Basic Sciences and two faculty from the Clinical Sciences. An equivalent group of four students and four faculty will serve as alternates. Chairmanship of the Council is shared by one student and one faculty representative. The president of the Student Body and a faculty alternate to the Council will conduct a preliminary investigation of the allegation and three members of the Council will serve as an ad hoc panel to determine if there is sufficient cause to convene a formal hearing of the Council. If sufficient cause is determined, a formal hearing of the Student Faculty Council on Professional Conduct will be convened. If the Council finds the accused guilty, the Dean, on review of the case, specifies the action to be taken.
The student has the right to appeal a decision of the Dean, providing that the appeal occurs within five days of receiving notification of the disciplinary action. In cases of appeal, the student is given the opportunity to appear before a Student Faculty Appeals Committee of six, including: the class presidents of the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years, a faculty member chosen by the student initiating the appeal, a faculty member chosen by the Dean, and a faculty member chosen by the five other members of the committee who serves as Chairman. The Appeals Committee reviews the transcripts of the Student Faculty Council on Professional Conduct and may hear further arguments by the parties involved. Recommendation of the action of the committee is submitted to the Dean. The decision of the appeal reached by the Dean represents the highest level of due process available in the School of Medicine.