The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education Accreditation Standards and Key Elements for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree, July 1, 2016, articulates the requirements for professional degree programs in pharmacy. As an accredited program in pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy is, therefore, ultimately responsible for student selection and matriculation, curriculum design, implementation and evaluation, and determination of who should be awarded a degree in fulfillment of these requirements. Decisions related to all levels of student engagement at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy from admission to graduation are both academic and non-academic in nature, and must ensure that candidates complete the essential functions and meet the expected levels of engagement of the program required for graduation, and ultimately for practice.1 Because graduates are eligible to become pharmacists without practice restrictions, the college must require that students complete all core components and not allow achievement in only a limited set of activities.
Additionally, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy’s “Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct and Scholastic Integrity in the College of Pharmacy” reads as follows:
Pharmacy practitioners enjoy a special trust and authority based upon the profession’s commitment to a code of ethical behavior in its management of stakeholder affairs. The inculcation of a sense of responsible professional behavior is a critical component of professional education, and high standards of ethical conduct are expected of pharmacy students.
The primary role of the pharmacist is to provide safe and effective healthcare to patients. In addition to patient safety, the College of Pharmacy has an obligation to ensure, to the extent possible, the safety of the students and the practice settings in which students participate in experiential education.
In consideration of the aforementioned, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy adheres to the following technical standards which are required of all students for admission, progression, and graduation, with or without accommodation:
Ethical Classroom, laboratory and experiential performance demonstrate adherence to ethical standards and obligations of professional practice. Students must exhibit professional demeanor and conduct in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, patients, and the practice community. Students must understand the legal aspects of the practice of pharmacy and function within the regulations established by law. Students must adhere to the principles set forth in the “Oath of a Pharmacist”.2
Social and Behavioral Students must possess sufficient mental and emotional health to utilize intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, promptly complete all assignments and responsibilities, meet established deadlines, function under the stress of physically and emotionally demanding workloads, develop effective relationships and demonstrate compassion and concern for others. Students must be able to effectively function in culturally and socially diverse educational and practice environments. Illicit drug use and alcohol impairment are not tolerated, and all students must submit to periodic criminal history checks and drug screens.3
Observation Students are expected to have the ability to critically observe demonstrations, experiments, and patients. These skills require the functional use of vision, verbal, hearing, and somatic senses. Thus, acuity in these senses is important.
Motor (Fine and Gross) Students are expected to have sufficient motor function to prepare all routine types of medications including sterile and non-sterile compounding, perform patient assessment, and deliver direct patient care. Students are expected to be able to interface with essential technologies.
Communication Students must be able to communicate in the English language effectively, efficiently and with sensitivity in verbal, non-verbal and written forms with peers, faculty, staff, patients, and the practice community.
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative, Quantitative Students must demonstrate a range of intellectual skills that allow mastery of the large and complex body of knowledge that comprises the pharmacy curriculum. Students must also demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills, and the ability to solve patient care problems in a competent manner.
Candidates are required to certify that they have reviewed and meet these technical standards at the time of application. Students will be expected to continue to meet these standards over the course of the program. No person will be denied admission or graduation on the basis of any disability, provided that the person demonstrates ability to meet the minimum standards set forth in this document. Reasonable accommodations, that do not alter the fundamental nature of the curriculum, may be made when documented and requested by a student, in advance through official university channels, in accord with standards and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Final determination of a reasonable accommodation is an interactive process that involves input from the student, the program’s faculty and administration in conjunction with the Services for Students with Disabilities prior to and during the pharmacy education program.
Individuals with questions or concerns or who feel unsure about their ability to meet these standards should contact The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy Office of Student Affairs.