Technical Standards for the Education of Physicians with Physical Disabilities: Perspectives of Medical Students, Residents, and Attending Physicians


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Abstract

VanMatre RM, Nampiaparampil DE, Curry RH, Kirschner KL: Technical standards for the education of physicians with physical disabilities: Perspectives of medical students, residents, and attending physicians. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2004;83:54–60.ObjectiveThis pilot study assessed the opinions of medical students, residents, and attending physicians regarding the technical standards for medical school admission and the competencies required of graduates in the context of physical disability issues.DesignStudents, residents, and faculty from all specialties at a major academic medical center were surveyed regarding the concept of the “undifferentiated graduate;” the relative importance of motor, sensory, observation, and communication skills; the importance of specific technical skills; and the use of physician extenders and other accommodations to fulfill technical standards.ResultsRespondents placed higher importance on observation and communication skills compared with motor skills. Of respondents, 69.8% either disagree or strongly disagree with the idea that a medical student should be an undifferentiated candidate possessing all the technical skills necessary to enter any specialty.ConclusionsTechnical skills used in interpretation and observation were more important to respondents than those technical skills that are purely procedural. Respondents largely rejected the concept of the undifferentiated graduate. Although statistical analyses are of limited reliability because of low response rates, this study represents the most extensive sampling to date of medical professionals’ opinions on these issues. Respondents’ narrative comments also provided valuable perspectives.

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