Learning Environment

Baptist Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine (BUCOM) is committed to delivering curriculum that educates and assesses students in each of the seven osteopathic core competencies to prepare them to enter graduate medical education.  The curriculum will focus on the principles and practice of osteopathic medicine as a core foundational aspect of the profession. BUCOM curriculum will include evidence-based learning objectives linked to educational content that effectively teach the manual, cognitive and non-cognitive skills needed to develop physician competencies in the areas of Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). Principles of osteopathic medicine, examination skills, and treatment techniques are taught longitudinally over the entire four years. To engage students, faculty will employ a combination of adult learning methods including team-based learning, problem-based learning, skills labs, standardized patient examinations, simulation experiences and didactic instruction.

During the 3rd and 4th years, each student will work with DO preceptors across Baptist Memorial Health Care’s comprehensive care system and demonstrate clinical application of these OMM practices and all other medical core competencies. Third and fourth year students will also benefit from a mandatory 2-week rotation in OMM that focuses on progressively advanced OPP/OMM diagnosis, treatment and management. 

BUCOM also benefits from its proximity to and collaboration with other professional training programs at Baptist Health Sciences University (BHSU). In the pre-clinical years (OMS-1 and -2), BUCOM learners have several events where they will work in inter-professional (IP) groups. For example, students in the OMS-1 Special Topics course will have the opportunity to work alongside students in the Sonography program during certain ultrasound scanning sessions. During the spring OMS-1 Pulmonary block, students will work in IP groups to teach an anti-smoking program for elementary students across Shelby County. Groups of students teach in public, private, and under-resourced settings and are later brought together to reflect on their experiences. Additionally, BHSU sponsors an annual international mission trip open to all BHSU students, faculty and staff. This experience allows learners to not only work with other health science professionals but also explore the challenges of caring for patients in under-resourced environments.



Technical Standards for Matriculation, Retention, and Graduation

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Baptist University College of Osteopathic Medicine indicates the holder is a physician who is prepared to enter into supervised practice in a Graduate Medical Education Training Program. Therefore, all applicants and matriculated students possess certain essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the D.O. degree that consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and emotional characteristics to assure that candidates for admission, matriculation, and graduation are able to complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of medical training, with or without reasonable accommodations.  

To be qualified for the D.O. degree, future training, and subsequent licensure, the candidate must demonstrate competency in five requisite areas: observation and sensory; communication; motor; intellectual-conceptual; and behavioral and social attributes. Students are required to demonstrate said competencies to provide safe and effective medical care in a wide variety of clinical environments. 

Baptist University College of Osteopathic Medicine is committed to the admission and matriculation of qualified students and does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, gender, marital status, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, creed, or religion. Candidates with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations if needed to meet these technical standards by following the University policies and procedures and contacting Access Service (formerly the Office for Disability Services) as outlined at the end of this document. A candidate must be able to perform these outlined technical standards in an independent manner.  

National Board of Osteopathic Examiners technical requirements may have more stringent standards than outlined in this document.   

Students who accept an offer of admission from BUCOM will be required to sign an affirmation regarding compliance with the technical standards. Should a student's ability to meet the technical standards change at any point in the academic program, it is his/her responsibility to report this to the BUCOM Director of Admission and Student Affairs. 

Requisite Competency Areas 

I. Observation and Sensory

Candidates must be able to acquire a defined level of information in both the clinical and biomedical sciences. Candidates and students must be able to obtain information from demonstrations and experiments in the biomedical and basic sciences. Students must be able to assess a patient and evaluate findings accurately. The observation and information acquisition noted above will require candidates to have functional use of visual, auditory and touch sensations or the functional equivalent.  

II. Communication

A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, detect and describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; perceive nonverbal communications; and establish a therapeutic relationship. A candidate must be able to respectfully communicate effectively, efficiently and sensitively with patients, their families, faculty, peers and all other members of the health care team. Communication includes speech, reading and writing or the functional equivalent. 

III. Motor

Candidates must, after a reasonable period of training, possess the capacity to perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to respond to clinical situations in a timely manner and provide general and emergency care. These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine motor neuromuscular function and balance and equilibrium. Such actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision or the functional equivalent. 

IV. Intellectual

Candidates must possess proficient measurement, calculation, reasoning, and analysis skills. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students must be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and to understand and be able to work within the spatial relationships of structures. They must have the intellectual capability to increase their fund of information and knowledge base through various media as well as from course materials, scheduled conferences, lectures, rounds, current literature and journals; and to make appropriate evaluations of clinical circumstances. Analytical problem-solving skills are critical in medicine and candidates must be able to perform in a timely manner, tasks utilizing such skills. The practice of medicine infers the protection and safety of patients, not just the ability to pass preparatory examinations. Physicians are responsible for those who place themselves into their care and must demonstrate the ability to rapidly process information, make decisions, and perform the appropriate interventions. Certain personal characteristics are expected of a physician. These include integrity, compassion, interpersonal skills, and motivation.   

V. Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students must exercise good judgment and act professionally, complete all responsibilities promptly and effectively, attend to the diagnosis and care of patients while maintaining mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to function effectively under stressful conditions, adapt to changing environments, and function in the face of the uncertainties inherent in the clinical care of patients. Compassion, integrity, empathy, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the educational process. Candidates and students must display flexibility and a spirit of cooperation with faculty, classmates, and colleagues Candidates must be able serve (in an appropriate manner), all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person's age, class, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation (or lack thereof), gender identification, ability, sexual orientation, and value system. 

Participation in Osteopathic Principles and Practice Laboratory and Principles of Clinical Medicine Laboratory Sessions

Full and active participation in Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) and Principles of Clinical Medicine (PCM) Laboratories is a course requirement.  During OPP and PCM Laboratories, it is imperative to the educational process that the body region being examined and/or treated will need to be exposed for observation, palpation and treatment.  The examination and treatment must be conducted in a respectful and professional manner. 

The development of palpatory skills used for diagnosis and treatment is significant and required in osteopathic medical schools.  Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines “palpation” as examination with the hands and fingers, touching, feeling, or perceiving by the sense of touch. Palpation in the osteopathic educational context is the use of touch to examine the body. Palpatory skills are used in all areas of osteopathic medical practice and are especially important in the evaluation and treatment of the neuromusculoskeletal system. 

The development of palpatory skills and ability to perform osteopathic treatments are initiated in the first- and second-year labs. This learning requires active participation in all laboratory sessions where students palpate, and will experience palpation by their peers of both sexes and instructors of both sexes to enhance the development of their own palpatory skills. Each student will palpate a variety of people with different body types to simulate the diversity of patients expected in a practice setting.   Good personal hygiene is essential including fingernails which must be trimmed so as not to impair palpation or cause discomfort to the person being palpated. 

The osteopathic medical profession uses a variety of treatment models through which the student will learn the art, science and skills of osteopathic manipulative treatment.  Psychomotor skills are developed by repetition and reinforcement. Reading and observation, while helpful in understanding the didactic concepts, do not develop the skills required to perform palpatory diagnosis and manipulative treatment. Each student is required to actively participate in all skill development sessions. 

Dress code in Osteopathic Principles and Practice Laboratories and Principles of Clinical Medicine Laboratories

The dress requirement in clinical skills training sessions is designed to promote learning by providing optimal exposure of the body region being studied for diagnostic observation and palpatory experience.  (Note: body regions typically covered by undergarments will not be exposed or palpated in the OPP and PCM lab setting).   Wearing inappropriate clothing interferes with a partner’s experience of diagnosis and treatment.

Appropriate attire must be clean and includes:

  • Approved shorts with compression short liner which are several inches above the knee - (no jean shorts, cut-offs, cargo, thick-seamed shorts, spandex, short shorts or knee length shorts)
  • Approved T-shirts - both genders will be asked to remove t-shirts while acting as patients.
  • Sports bra for women - these should allow exposure of the spine and ribs (not wide T-back/racer back  styles).
  • It is expected that undergarments will be worn under clothing at all times.
  • Students may wear scrubs or BUCOM sweat shirt/pants over the laboratory attire when not in the role of the patient.  Alternatively, a thin material, loose fitting long sleeve t-shirt and leggings may be worn for modesty, but must be loose enough to allow exposure of the arm to above the elbow and the leg to above the knee. (When body areas, such as arms, legs, and abdomen are being studied, the area(s) will need to be exposed when in the patient role. T-shirt, scrubs, BUCOM sweat shirt/pants can be replaced when not in the role of the patient.) 
  • No shoes may be worn during lab when sitting or lying on the treatment tables.  (Belt buckles and shoes may tear the table upholstery)
  • Hats or head coverings (other than for religious purposes) are not permitted in lab.  
  • While acting as patients, religious head coverings must be modified or modifiable when necessary to allow observation and palpation when they would obscure the immediate area to be examined or treated (e.g., head, neck, upper back). Modifications can include:
    • adjustment of the covering permitting unobstructed palpation beneath the covering; or
    • substitution of a thinner material that allows for adequate evaluation and treatment through the material. 
  • Each student must be appropriately attired before class begins. Failure to be appropriately attired for class impedes the educational process and will not be tolerated. 
  • The wearing of street clothes or other types of clothing not specified herein, is not permitted.
  • A dedicated set of scrubs must be used for OMM labs and these cannot be the same ones used for anatomy lab.

Acute Injury or Illness

Any student with an acute injury or illness that may preclude examination and/or treatment in an OMM or PCM laboratory is required to submit a written request for limitation and/or exclusion following the established COM accommodations policy.

Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities 

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other applicable laws, Baptist University College of Osteopathic Medicine provides reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified students with verified disabilities. An accommodation will not be provided if it would result in the fundamental alteration of the college’s programs, services or activities, or if it would impose undue financial or administrative burdens on the University.  Additional information about BUCOM Access Services may be found at https://www.baptistu.edu. If student circumstances should change related to these technical standards, the student will promptly notify the Office of Student Affairs at the BUCOM and/or Access Services if reasonable accommodations are required at any point.  BUCOM has adopted these standards with due consideration for the safety and well-being of the patients for whom its graduates will eventually care.

God's Blessings

For the Lords gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding

Proverbs 2:6