Technical Standards for Admission and Retention of Pharmacy Students

In addition to the academic requirements for admission, students must possess skills and abilities that will allow them to successfully complete the curriculum and safely practice the profession of pharmacy. The professional program leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree requires a level of cognitive, behavioral, and technical skills and abilities as well as personal and professional integrity inherent in a profession such as pharmacy. The purpose of technical standards is to delineate the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective skills and abilities deemed essential for matriculation into, continuation in, and completion of the educational program.  Technical standards are necessary to create specific expectations for student performance in the classroom, laboratory, and pharmacy practice environments.  Technical standards must be met with or without reasonable accommodations consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The primary role of a pharmacist is to provide safe and effective health care for patients.  Therefore, patient safety must be considered in the selection and education of pharmacy students.  In addition, pharmacy students must reasonably contribute to a safe environment in all educational settings through their personal and professional integrity, physical health, mental health, and social behavior. 

The School complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We are committed to assisting students with identified disabilities who are able to complete the Pharm.D. program with reasonable accommodations to meet the technical standards. However, the School reserves the right to not admit applicants or continue enrollment of students in cases where reasonable accommodations are not available to allow successful completion of program requirements.  Reasonable accommodations are those deemed to not alter the fundamental nature of the Pharm.D. program.

Acquiring Fundamental Knowledge. Students must be able to acquire fundamental knowledge effectively through a variety of modalities, including, but not limited to, classroom instruction; laboratory instruction, physical demonstrations, small-group, interdisciplinary team, collaborative activities and experiential education; individual and group study; preparation and presentation of information; and use of computer technology.

Communication. Students must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and accurately  with patients, caregivers, faculty/staff, and all members of the health care team in both educational and patient care settings.  In addition, students must be able to engage in conversation that allows for mutual understanding by all parties of information received and delivered.  Students must be able to listen, ask appropriate questions, gather information and respond appropriately.  Required skills include adequate hearing, reading comprehension, and the appropriate use of spoken and written English, including appropriate grammar and professional terminology. Additionally, students must demonstrate appropriate use and recognition of nonverbal communication cues. 

Motor. Students must have sufficient motor function and skills necessary to perform basic tasks common to the training and practice of pharmacy. Such actions require the coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses. Students must be able to accurately perform all tasks related to the practice of pharmacy, including standing for long periods, collecting medication histories and performing physical assessments and utilize adaptive technology when necessary.

Interpreting and Integrating Information. Problem solving and critical thinking are key skills required for proper performance of the responsibilities of a pharmacist. In order to develop these skills, students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, assess, synthesize, and integrate information. In the provision of patient care, students must be able to quickly evaluate and incorporate new and evolving information obtained during their education and from the practice environment.  Students must be able to self-assess their ability to interpret and integrate information, identify learning deficits, and take corrective action when improvement is needed. 

Behavioral and Social Attributes. Students must possess the emotional health, maturity, and self-discipline required for full use of personal intellectual ability, exercise good judgment and act in accordance with ethical standards to complete patient care responsibilities promptly and relate to others with compassion, maturity, and respect. The ability to contribute collaboratively as a professional team member with patients and health care providers is essential. Students must display emotional health and coping skills to function effectively during stress, which includes handling taxing workloads, adapting to and displaying flexibility with changing environments and clinical uncertainties. Students must be able to accept appropriate suggestions and constructive criticism, and demonstrate the ability to apply that information positively in their learning.   

Attainment of Technical Standards

All students are held to the same academic and technical standards from the time of admission and as they progress through the PharmD program, with or without reasonable accommodation. Disclosure of disabilities is not required; however, students who fail to comply with the standards and do not seek accommodation are in jeopardy of academic failure and possible dismissal.

Applicants are encouraged to voluntarily discuss their disabilities with the Director of Admission and the Director of the Disabilities Office in order to consider and prepare for the accommodations that may be needed. After acceptance, a student with a disability who wishes to request reasonable accommodations may directly contact the Creighton University Disabilities Office. Students are encouraged to request accommodations as soon after acceptance as possible (or as soon as the need for accommodations arises), to ensure the process can be completed in time to fully assist the student. Accommodations will not be considered reasonable if they alter the fundamental nature of the Pharm.D. program, compromise the Program’s technical standards, and/or negatively affect the safety of students and/or other people, including patients, with whom they may come into contact in the course of their studies. If accommodations are provided, this information will be kept in strict confidence.

Students must evaluate themselves for compliance with these technical standards. A signature is required prior to starting the pharmacy curriculum and once yearly while the student is in good standing in the program.  If the student’s ability to comply with these standards changes at any time during his/her enrollment in the pharmacy program, he/she has the obligation to inform the Assistant/Associate Dean for Academic Affairs immediately for a determination of the need to seek temporary or long term accommodations. Students who are not able to meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodations or have a change in their ability to meet theses standards while enrolled may be required to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the program.