Essential functions are the physical, intellectual and behavioral requirements of the program that a student must be able to master in order to successfully participate in the Molecular Diagnostic Science (MDS) program and become employable. Examples of the program's essential functions are provided below. In compliance with the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), the UNC-Chapel Hill Division of CLS makes these essential functions available to prospective students and the public. Prospective students who are not sure that they will able to perform these essential functions should consult with the MDS Admissions chair for further information and to discuss individual situations.
A student in the MDS program must possess sufficient visual skills to perform and interpret laboratory assays and receive non-verbal communication appropriately. Examples of visual skills include the ability to:
- read calibration lines on pipettes and laboratory instruments that are one millimeter apart
- distinguish between solutions that are clear, opaque or particulate in test tubes and on glass slides
- identify stained and unstained cellular components in the range of one micrometer using a binocular brightfield and fluorescent microscope
- differentiate color reactions
A MDS student must also possess adequate manipulative skills to perform a variety of laboratory assays. Examples of manipulative skills include the ability to:
- turn dials, press keypads and move switches on laboratory instruments
- use a rubber bulb to draw liquid into a marked pipette and then use a gloved finger to control the release of that liquid to within one millimeter of a fixed point on the pipette
- Accurately pipet very small volumes (<5 µL) into very small wells in agarose gels without damaging the gel
A MDS student must possess a range of intellectual skills that allows him or her to master the broad and complex body of knowledge that constitutes a molecular diagnostic science education. A MDS student must be able to memorize, perform scientific measurements and calculations, and analyze and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources. A student must possess computational skills needed for laboratory math calculations such as the conversion of milliliters to microliters.
Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes
A MDS student must be of sufficient emotional health to fully use his or her intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, to complete clinical responsibilities promptly, and to relate to patients, instructors, and colleagues with courtesy, and respect. The ability to participate collaboratively and flexibly as a professional team member is essential. The MDS student must display this emotional health in spite of stressful work and changing environments. The MDS student must be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism.
An individual with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder may function as a MDS student as long as the condition is under sufficient control to allow accomplishment of the program’s educational goals with or without reasonable accommodation. The student must exhibit behavioral, emotional, and intellectual functioning that does not differ from acceptable standards. In the event of deteriorating function, it is essential that a MDS student be willing to acknowledge the disability and accept professional help before the condition poses danger to self, patients, instructors, or colleagues.
A MDS student must be able to ask questions, respond to verbal instructions and record information accurately. The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with instructors, clinical laboratory staff and patients. This must include spoken communication and non-verbal communication such as interpretation of facial expression, affect, and body language. Mastery of both written and spoken English is required.