Touch: Patient care during anesthesia requires a clinician to utilize the sense of touch for examination. The education of the student, therefore, requires a student to perform and have the ability to touch a human being of both sexes as part of learning to assess and treat, as well as to be touched by both sexes as a part of the physical examination education. The sense of touch required includes being able to discriminate through palpation of warm, cold, and normal temperatures; and normal soft and supple tissue from tissue with spasm or other restrictions. Students must be able to discern between bone, muscle, fascia, and skin to detect any abnormalities. Students must also be able to palpate the abdomen and judge for acute conditions as well as to palpate the size of internal organs and a soft abdomen from an acute and guarded abdomen. Students must also be able to palpate pulses and identify anatomical landmarks for regional line and invasive monitor placement. Therefore, students who attend the MHSA program agree to touch others and to be touched in order to acquire the skills necessary for palpation and examination of peers (classmates) in these laboratories. As a stipulation of enrollment in the MHSA program and attestation of having agreed to the policies herein, students agree to touch other students in the process of examination and to be touched and to participate as both provider and patient in the student practice sessions under the supervision of faculty. Acquiring the skills to palpate and examine patients requires examination of disrobed patients of both genders; therefore, examination of fellow students of both genders, and to be examined by fellow students of both genders who may be partially disrobed, is required. These are requirements for all students, regardless of cultural or religious beliefs, in order for students to acquire the skills necessary to safely practice osteopathic medicine. Students who have questions regarding the accommodations made for cultural or religious beliefs may inquire with the Director of Admissions or when visiting for an interview.
Vision: Anesthesiologist Assistants utilize the sense of vision to identify tissue texture changes; skin lesions and rash types; skin color changes such as cyanosis or erythema; and skin, nail, and mucus membrane color. Vision is also required to perform an examination of the eyes (including skilled fundoscopic exams), ears, nose, throat, genitalia, and other areas of the human body in the process of diagnosis. Vision is also required to master fine skills such as suturing or using a scalpel, surgical removal of foreign bodies or certain tissues, and other surgical procedures. Vision is required to interpret many diagnostic tests, including, but not limited to: x-ray, CT scan, MRI, and PET scan in formulating an accurate diagnosis, as well as dynamic visualization of monitors, video images, the surgical field, and ultrasound monitors. The use of an intermediary to perform these basic competencies does not result in the same level of competency as an anesthetist, as it is mediated by another individual’s power of selection and observation without the same level of knowledge or experience. Therefore, correctable vision to a reasonable level is required for students to meet technical standards for admission and continued enrollment.
Hearing: The sense of hearing is required in anesthesiology including the necessity of hearing during patient interviews; recognizing inflections in a voice that occur with pain, illness, or injury; and hearing bodily functions such as heartbeat, murmurs, blood pressure, lung sounds, bowel sounds, the flow of blood through vessels, and other sounds associated with normal and abnormal findings medical conditions. A key feature of the anesthetist is to combine auditory input from monitors and distinguish such from ambient and background noise during perioperative care. Anesthesiologist Assistants practice patient-centered care with a focus on how any illness or injury to one area of the body impacts the person as a whole. Therefore, the sense of hearing is required to directly communicate with a patient and is used in the perioperative setting to communicate with multitudes of healthcare providers, patient advocates, and ancillary staff simultaneously. Hearing cannot be readily or efficiently provided through an interpreter that does not have the appropriate medical knowledge. The program provides reasonable accommodations for students who have difficulty with hearing but can independently meet these standards with accommodations. Reasonable accommodations provided while learning at the MHSA program on the VCOM-Auburn campus include specialized stethoscopes and specialized noise-canceling or amplifying headsets/earbuds for the classroom. VCOM also provides accommodations through the recording of all lectures so they may be viewed by students in a separate room where they are able to listen at increased volumes and sped up, slowed, or repeated as needed. Students who are unable to hear all parts of the lecture are provided with the opportunity to listen to the recorded lectures outside of the classroom in order to keep pace with their classmates. Students should be aware that these services are provided in lieu of CART services, which are not as efficient or reasonable in accommodating a student with hearing deficits. Applicants that have questions regarding the use of recorded lectures or headsets in lieu of CART services may visit the VCOM-Auburn in advance to sample them prior to enrollment.
Smell: An Anesthesiologist Assistant also uses the sense of smell, and although not considered an essential sense, it is one that cannot be accommodated.