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Podiatric Medicine Technical Standards

California School of Podiatric Medicine

Minimal Technical Standards and Requirements for Admission and Matriculation

The California School of Podiatric Medicine within Samuel Merritt University reaffirms the established policy of the institution to conduct its educational program without discrimination by reason of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnic group identification, handicap or disability. In accordance with this policy, physically challenged students who otherwise meet the admissions qualifications are not precluded from consideration for admission, matriculation and continuation at the University.

The University has successfully worked with a number of students who needed accommodations because of a disability. Therefore, any student who believes that they may require accommodations or other assistance in the educational program because of a handicap or disability is encouraged to contact Diane Hansen, Coordinator of Academic and Disabled Student Support Services, for assistance.

Every applicant who seeks admission to CSPM is expected to possess those intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. Once enrolled at CSPM, each candidate for the DPM degree must be able to consistently, quickly and accurately integrate all information received, perform in a reasonably independent manner, and must have the ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize applicable data. When requested by a student who is physically challenged, the University will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations. However, in doing so, CSPM must maintain the integrity of its curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the acquisition of general knowledge in all areas of the basic medical sciences, clinical sciences, and to the demonstration of the basic skills requisite for the practice of podiatric medicine.

Therefore, in order to complete the podiatric medical curriculum the California School of Podiatric Medicine expects each student to meet certain minimal technical standards and requirements as follows:

1. Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient vision to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences, including computer assisted instruction. They must be able to view images via a microscope and to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.

2. Communication: Candidates and students should be able to speak, hear and observe in order to effectively be involved in the didactic learning process in the basic medical sciences and clinical science courses. Candidates and students must be able to elicit information, examine patients, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, perceive nonverbal communications, and be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. Therefore, they must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form in order to be adequately evaluated in all courses and clinical rotation assignments.

3. Motor: Students must be able to perform maneuvers necessary to do a proper physical examination and to perform fine motor skill tasks with proficient use of instruments such as scissors, clamps, scalpel or drill. Candidates and students should possess sufficient motor function to execute the necessary movements to participate in the laboratory portion of the basic science courses, and to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of physicians are cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways and the suturing of simple wounds. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

4. Sensory: Since podiatric medical candidates and students need enhanced ability in their sensory skills, it would be necessary to thoroughly evaluate for candidacy individuals who are otherwise qualified but who have significant tactile sensory or proprioceptive disabilities. This would include individuals with significant previous burns, sensory motor deficits, cicatrix formation and many malformations of the upper extremities.

5. Strength and Mobility: Podiatric medical treatment often requires sufficient upper extremity and body strength. Therefore, individuals with significant limitations in these areas would be unlikely to succeed. Mobility to attend to emergency codes and to perform such maneuvers as CPR is also required.

6. Visual Integration: Consistent with the ability to assess asymmetry, range of motion tissue texture changes, it is necessary to have adequate visual capabilities for proper evaluation and treatment integration.

7. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem solving and critical thinking are necessary skills for the podiatric medical student. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

8. Behavioral and Social Attributes: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and evidence mature and sensitive relationships with faculty, staff, and patients. They must be able to promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates and students must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Candidates and students are expected to possess and be able to demonstrate the highest level of ethical and professional behavior. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are also personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes.

ADA Guidelines


Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides comprehensive civil right protections for qualified individuals with
disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or
  • has a record of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

The ADA Handbook published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice states:
examples of physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to, such contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Homosexuality and bisexuality are not physical or mental impairments under the ADA.

Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are not protected by the ADA when an action is taken on the basis of their current illegal use of drugs.
Qualified individuals are defined as follows:

  • A qualified individual with a disability is one who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the program or activity offered.
  • The essential eligibility requirements will depend on the type of service or activity involved.

The stated mission of the podiatric medicine program at Samuel Merritt University is to train physicians who have the comprehensive clinical and didactic training necessary to provide highly skilled, competent health care in a wide variety of medical and surgical settings. Potential podiatrists are expected to complete all academic and clinical requirements of the professional program before they can sit for national board exams and state licensure exams and practice. The purpose of this document is to delineate the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills deemed essential to the completion of this program and to perform as a competent medical provider.

If a student cannot demonstrate the following skills and abilities it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation. The University will provide reasonable accommodation as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program offered and does not impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense, difficulty or are unduly disruptive to the educational process.

Cognitive Learning Skills
The student must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Receive, interpret, remember, reproduce, and use information in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains of learning to solve problems, evaluate work, generate new ways of processing or categorizing similar information.
  2. Evaluate patient status and make responsible decisions regarding appropriate courses of action/treatment within given time constraints.
  3. Effectively synthesize data from the patient, charts, verbal reports, medical history and observation for the purpose of recommending or maintaining treatment.
  4. Solve practical problems and deal with a variety of variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.
  5. Differentiate multiple patient situations simultaneously.
  6. Interpret and implement a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
  7. Apply critical reasoning and independent decision making skills.
  8. Apply quantitative methods of measurement, including calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis.
  9. Comprehend three-dimensional relationships and spatial relationships of structures.

Psychomotor Skills
The student must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Sitting: Maintain upright posture.
  2. Standing: Maintain upright posture.
  3. Locomotion: Ability to:
    1. Get to lecture, lab and clinical locations, and move within rooms as needed for changing groups, partners and work stations, and perform assigned clinical tasks;
    2. Physically maneuver in required clinical settings, to accomplish assigned tasks, to respond to emergency codes.
  4. Manual tasks:
    1. Maneuver or move an individual's body parts or clinical equipment to effectively perform evaluation and treatment techniques, including palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers.
    2. Maintain an object in a constant position for an extended period.
    3. Competently perform advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) using guidelines issued by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.
    4. Pushing/Pulling ability to exert force against a small or large object to move it closer or further away.
    5. Coordination of both gross and fine motor movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the special senses sufficient to provide general care and emergency treatment for patients including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administration of intravenous medication, application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, and the suturing of simple wounds.
  5. Small motor/hand skills:
    1. Legibly record/document history and physical examinations, patient care notes, consultations, etc., in standard medical charts in hospital/clinical settings in a timely manner and consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
    2. Legibly record thoughts for written assignments and tests within reasonable time expectations.
    3. Apply a firm grasp.
    4. Operate a push-button telephone.
    5. Perform precision movements (i.e. venipuncture, catheterization, IV regulation, dressing changes, instrument usage) which may further include invasive procedures into the central circulation or highly specific body cavities/spaces.
    6. Sense through palpation changes in an individual's muscle tone, soft tissues, skin quality, and temperature and sense responses to environmental changes and treatment.
    7. Manipulate a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, thermometer (digital, tympanic, glass); insert catheters, IVs, NG tubes; perform injections and adjust IV drips or other equipment as required.
  6. Visual acuity to:
    1. Legibly record/document evaluations, patient care notes, referrals, etc., in standard medical charts in hospital/clinical settings in a timely manner and consistent with the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
    2. Perform precision movements.
    3. Identify tiny markings and inscriptions (i.e.., on syringes, thermometers, IV bags, etc.).
    4. Identify color changes and codings.
    5. Observe demonstrations, experiments and laboratory exercise in the basic medical sciences including computer assisted instruction.
    6. Identify images through a microscope
    7. Accurately observe a patient at a distance and close at hand.
    8. Assess asymmetry, range of motion, and tissue texture changes
  7. Exteroceptor and proprioceptor senses sufficiently intact to:
    1. Evaluate changes in patients' body temperature, muscle tone, turgor, position, etc
  8. Hearing or ability to receive and:
    1. Effectively respond to verbal requests from patients and team members.
    2. Interpret the language used to communicate lectures, instructions, concepts, narratives, questions and answers.
    3. Auscultate and percuss for internal body sounds, e.g. heart, bowel, lungs.
  9. Communication Ability:
    1. Effectively communicate to other students, teachers, patients, peers, other staff and personnel to ask questions, explain conditions and procedures, and teach home programs in a timely manner and within the acceptable norms of academic and clinical settings.
    2. Receive, send, and interpret written information in both academic and clinical settings in an effective and efficient manner.
    3. Receive and send verbal communication in a timely manner within the acceptable norms of clinical settings.
    4. Receive and interpret nonverbal communication such as mood changes, activity and posture.
    5. Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients.
  10. Self Care:
    1. Maintain general good health and self care in order to not jeopardize the health and safety of self and
    individuals with whom one interacts in the academic and clinical settings.

Affective learning skills
The student must be able to:

  1. Demonstrate appropriate affective behaviors and mental attitudes in order not to jeopardize the emotional, physical, mental and behavioral safety of other individuals in the academic and clinical setting.
  2. Sustain the mental and emotional rigors of a demanding educational program which includes academic and clinical components that occur within set time constraints, and often concurrently and under stressful conditions.
  3. Acknowledge and respect individual values and opinions in order to foster harmonious working relationships with colleagues, peers, and patients/clients.
  4. Demonstrate the emotional health required for full utilization of intellectual resources, the exercise of good judgement, 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, colleagues, faculty, and the public.
  5. Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function with the ambiguities inherent in the clinical problems of patients.
  6. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior including compassion, integrity, concern for others, and appropriate interpersonal skills.