The instructional program in the pre-clinical, biomedical sciences portion of the curriculum has been developed by the faculty to provide students with the knowledge and background necessary for the study of clinical medicine. Students are expected to attend the various experiences as an expression of their professional commitment and dedication. Some curricular experiences, because of their special nature (laboratories, small group conferences, Team-Based Learning, active learning, self-directed learning and related activities), may be designated by faculty as required/mandatory experiences. Students will be informed of these requirements at the beginning of the course. More specific requirements for attendance will be outlined in the course syllabi. Students are expected to be available and present for all scheduled clerkship activities.
Code of Professional Conduct
The University of Tennessee medical community believes that professionals gain their credibility by their commitment to society. As a professional group, we recognize our obligation to our patients, colleagues, community, families, and ourselves. Realizing that it is a privilege and an honor to be a medical professional, we the students, residents, fellows, and faculty of the UTHSC embrace the following ideals:
- Patient welfare is our primary concern, for only by commitment do we justify the trust placed in us by patients and the community at large. Although we hold the acquisition of knowledge and the development of technical skills essential to patient care, we shall strive to balance the science with the art of medicine by maintaining respect and compassion for the dignity of all patients. Each patient shall receive our best efforts regardless of personal feelings or biases. Desires for social or economic gain will not affect the honesty and integrity with which we deal with patients. Nor shall the pressures placed upon the members of our profession compromise the quality of care we provide.
- Relationships with our colleagues are an exceedingly important part of professional conduct. Our interactions with colleagues provide us a sense of support, trust, and sharing. As members of a professional community, we shall be aware that our personal conduct reflects upon others of that community. Professionalism includes being respectful in our communications and behavior toward colleagues and others. We shall avoid comments and actions that might reasonably be perceived as offensive or demeaning by others. This applies also to communications on web-based social media and other electronic media.
- We shall be willing to share our knowledge and expertise with colleagues and remain open to their advice and criticism. We shall know our own limitations and ask for advice when needed. We shall fulfill our own responsibility and, in the spirit of professional cooperation, accommodate a colleague if our assistance is requested. We shall be sensitive to the physical and emotional weaknesses of a colleague and shall lend support in time of need. Further, our responsibility to patient care implies identification of colleagues whose ability to provide care is impaired. This must be followed by our full support toward the rehabilitation of those colleagues, and their reintegration into the professional community.
- Integrating personal growth into our professional development is essential to our commitment to medicine. To this end, we shall be attentive to our needs for physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. We shall allow time for personal and family relations which enrich our lives and promote self-knowledge. Attention to personal maturation, family commitments and professional growth represent a continuing challenge throughout our career.
- As medical professionals, we realize that we share with all citizens certain civic duties. We shall strive to be responsible citizens. Our professional status will not be used as a means to gain power and control. Rather, we seek to offer informed and compassionate leadership.
Also refer to General Guidelines for Professional Behavior and Conduct in the Third- and Fourth-Year Clerkships in the section on Clerkship Policies.
The Honor Code of UTHSC is promulgated so that student academic affairs are conducted under the highest standards of individual responsibility. Students are bound by this Honor Code and pledge to act in accordance with the highest principles of ethical and professional conduct. These principles condemn any act of dishonor relating to the academic, clinical, research, and professional programs at UTHSC. The pledge states that any knowledge of a violation shall be reported in accordance with the provisions and procedures of the Honor Code. The College of Medicine’s Honor Code has been in effect for more than 50 years. It is a tradition of which we are proud. Additional information may be found at: http://www.uthsc.edu/studentlife/honorcode.php.
Excerpts from the Honor Council Statement, College of Medicine, written by members of the Honor Council are as follows:
“Upon admission to the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, each student accepts the responsibility of acting with honor in course work, clinics and research, and requires the same of his/her peers. We have an Honor Code, a system based on the idea of personal integrity and the belief that we share a common responsibility to our profession. The success of this system rests firmly with each individual … rather than accept outside monitoring of our actions, we elected to monitor ourselves. During our four years here, we face significant intellectual and personal challenges. The ethical challenges of medicine are just as important and just as demanding. If the University of Tennessee College of Medicine seeks to train good physicians and to promote a sense of honor and professional responsibility, then the Honor Code is a valuable institution. The medical undergraduate years are not too early to begin training ourselves to act with integrity and to expect the same from our peers.
A student’s official or permanent record pertains to academic progress, promotion and graduation, and is maintained in the Office of the Registrar. Academic, health, and disciplinary records are kept separately. Confidential records of all misconduct reports, investigations, and disciplinary actions are kept in the UTHSC Office of Student Affairs. Immunization records are maintained through an independent vendor (currently Verified Credentials). Students must upload current vaccinations and TB skin test results using the Qualified First portal. Instructions are found here (https://uthsc.edu/student-health-services/documents/immunization-announcement.pdf). Other medical records are maintained by the University Health Service, and financial aid records are maintained in The Office of Financial Aid. Transcripts of academic records are available to the individual student or his/her legal representative and to authorized members of the administration and faculty. Academic and health records are not available to others except by student request.
UTHSC is in compliance with all provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, which provides enrolled students and former students the right to review the contents of certain student records that are maintained by the University. Students have the right of access to their permanent record maintained in the Registrar’s Office. Students do not have the right to access financial records of parents, or the personal memory notes of a University official or faculty member. Students do have the right of access to their academic records in the College’s Student Affairs Office. Students have access to individual transcripts online via the Student Information System (SIS).
It is the policy of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine (COM) to promote an environment in which all medical professionals can work and learn in an atmosphere of dignity, respect and freedom from discrimination. The COM will follow the below procedures in implementing the relevant UTHSC policy (SA105 – Preventing Student Mistreatment).
Standards of Behavior: The UTHSC College of Medicine has a responsibility to foster in medical students, postgraduate trainees, faculty, and other staff the development of professional and collegial attitudes needed to provide caring and compassionate health care. To nurture these attitudes and promote an effective learning environment, an atmosphere of mutual respect and collegiality among teachers and students is essential. While such an environment is extremely important to the educational mission of the College of Medicine, the diversity of members of the academic community, combined with the intensity of interactions that occur in the health care setting, may lead to incidents of inappropriate behavior or mistreatment. The victims and perpetrators of such behavior might include students, preclinical and clinical faculty, fellows, residents, nurses, and other staff. Examples of mistreatment include: sexual harassment; discrimination based on race, gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, handicapped condition, or age; and purposeful humiliation, verbal abuse, threats, or other psychological punishment. Such actions are contrary to the spirit of learning, violate the trust between teacher and learner, and will not be tolerated by the College of Medicine.
Process for addressing mistreatment: The first course of action in an instance of perceived mistreatment is for the involved parties to attempt to resolve the issue themselves, with the goal of addressing potential sources of misunderstanding.
- If attempts at personal resolution are not successful the student should engage the teaching or clinical team hierarchy. The purpose of this involvement is to provide a further opportunity for communication, and to identify the nature of the alleged mistreatment.
- Pre-clinical years (M1/M2)
- An incidence of mistreatment should be reported to the course director.
- If the issue involves the Course Director, the student should contact the Assistant Dean of Basic Science Curriculum or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, whomever the student feels more comfortable approaching or considers more appropriate.
- Clinical years (M3/M4)
- If the concern involves an intern or junior resident on the team, the student should discuss the situation with the supervising resident.
- If the issue involves ancillary personnel or the supervising resident, the student should discuss the problem with the team attending physician.
- If the issue involves the attending physician, or if the student is uncomfortable discussing the situation with any member of the team, or if he/she is simply unsure about whom to approach, the student should contact the Clerkship Director.
- If the issue involves the Clerkship Director, the student should contact the department Chair, the Assistant Dean of Clinical Curriculum or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, whomever the student feels more comfortable approaching or considers more appropriate.
Procedures to address specific categories of alleged mistreatment: Complaints relating to grades are handled as outlined in the Academic Catalog. Issues of racial or gender discrimination or harassment are directed to the UTHSC Office of Equity and Diversity. An alternative to the University hearing process may be afforded according to the “contested cases” section of the State of Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. If warranted, college officials may request further investigation by the Student Conduct Officer, who will interview all parties and make a recommendation to the college as to possible resolution.
Protection from retaliation: Individuals alleging mistreatment are to be protected from retaliation. Those accused of mistreatment are reminded that retaliation is itself regarded as a form of mistreatment, to be addressed according to the procedures described above.
While the College of Medicine attempts to accommodate students who require a withdrawal (see policy), it is sometimes difficult to provide suitable options for makeup of missed assignments/activities due to the intensity, complexity and pace of the curriculum. The college will work with students to make up work for absences of less than one week. Leaves of more than one week may result in the student being required to repeat a term or year of work to continue progress. Withdrawals of more than one academic year may require the Dean’s approval or an application for readmissions. Students requesting leave to pursue an additional degree will not need to reapply for admission.
Any student who feels that he/she cannot continue in the regular curriculum and is seeking to take a leave or withdraw permanently is expected to contact the Office of Medical Education immediately. The Associate Dean for Medical Education will notify the appropriate administrative offices regarding the leave or withdrawal of the student. Withdrawals may have consequences for loan deferrals. The student will need to consult with the Office of Financial Aid regarding financial obligations/liabilities.
The faculty evaluates the academic achievement, acquisition of skills, and attitudes of medical students and uses the marks of A, B, C, F, W, WP, WF, I, and R in all official reports. In certain instances, some courses may be graded on a PASS/FAIL (P/F) basis. The performance level and quality value assigned to performance are outlined in the following table:
Withdrew before evaluation
The letters “WP” or “WF” are recorded to indicate pass or failure in those instances in which a student withdraws from a pre-clinical course before completion, and is either passing or failing, respectively. The letter grade of “W” will be recorded when a student withdraws from a course/clerkship before there has been evaluation of the student to determine whether he/she is passing or failing. If withdrawal occurs before the midpoint of a course, the grade for the dropped course is recorded as a ‘W’ on the official transcript. If withdrawal occurs after the midpoint, but before the course is 70% completed, the grade for the dropped course is recorded as either ‘WP’ (withdrawn passing) or ‘WF’ (withdrawn failing) depending on the student’s grade point average in the course at the time of withdrawal. Once a course is >70% completed, a withdrawal is not permitted except under extenuating circumstances. Any student who fails to complete the course will receive zero(s) for any uncompleted assignments and tests, and the final course grade will incorporate those zero(s) into the grade calculation.
The designation of “I” (Incomplete) will be used when a student is unable to complete the course/clerkship at the regular time. In such cases, arrangements will be made by the course/clerkship director for the student to complete the requirements, and the “I” will then be replaced by whatever grade the student earns. It is the responsibility of the student to work with the course/clerkship director in determining when and under what circumstances the “I” grade can be changed. The student must complete all remaining course requirements by the end of the term following that in which the ‘incomplete’ was received. Otherwise the ‘I’ will be changed to an ‘F’ for the permanent record.
For the M1/M2 (pre-clinical) years, the designation of “R” (Remediate/Retake) will be recorded in those instances in which a student completes all requirements in a course, but who has a final score between 63%-67.5%. The “R” will be converted to a “C” upon successful remediation. Failure to pass remediation will result in an “F”. For the M3/M4 (clinical) years, an “R” may be assigned when the student passes the clinical portion but fails the written exam. The “R” grade will be replaced with the appropriate final grade after the student repeats and passes the exam. The best grade that can be obtained after a student retakes and passes the written exam in a “B”. Failure to pass the exam by the designated deadline will result in an “F” for the clerkship or elective rotation.
Role and Calculation of the Cumulative Grade Point Average
The cumulative grade point average (GPA) recorded on the transcript from the Registrar is used by the Progress and Promotions Committee (P&P), in part, to make recommendations about the promotion and continuation of students in the curriculum. For a student who must retake either courses or clerkships to correct academic deficiencies, the cumulative GPA is calculated by averaging the final grades attained in all courses or clerkships in which he/she has been enrolled for academic credit. This includes those courses or clerkships repeated at the UTHSC and those courses approved by the P&P to be taken at other AAMC institutions. GPAs are calculated to two decimal places.
Appeal of Grades
A student may appeal his/her final grade if he/she feels that the grade was assigned inappropriately and not in accordance with the course or clerkship statement of policy distributed at the beginning of the program. The appeal is directed initially to the course/clerkship director, and then to the department chair. If resolution of the issue is not made at the department level, then the appeal is made in writing to the appropriate Assistant Dean. Any student wishing to appeal to the Dean concerning the recommendation must make a written request within five (5) working days of receipt of written notification of the recommendation from the Office of Medical Education.
General Policy on Retaking Examinations and Completing Patient Logs in the Core Clerkships
Students who fail the written examination but have passed the clinical portion of a core clerkship can retake the written exam once. The student will be assigned a letter grade of “R” until the written examination is retaken. A student unable to take a clerkship examination due to illness or other emergency situation must notify the director of that clerkship. Concerns affecting individual examination questions or other forms of evaluation, as well as final grades, should be directed to the appropriate clerkship director.
The retake of exams in clerkships taken in May through October (Blocks 5-10, or C-F) must be completed by the first day of class in January. For those clerkships taken after October (Blocks 11-4, or G, A and B) of the M3 year, the retake must be completed no later than the end of August in the year of expected graduation. The student will retake the written exam and the clerkship director will assign the appropriate grade. A second failing score on the exam, or failure to retake the exam on time, will result in the assignment of a failing grade for the clerkship. The P&P will review the overall academic record of any student who fails more than one (1) written examination in the third-year clerkships. Each student may have no more than one Retake (“R”) grade simultaneously posted in the required third-year clerkships. An alteration of the student’s schedule that provides a period of time when the student is taken out of the core clerkships and scheduled into one or more option blocks may be recommended. During these option blocks, the student would prepare to retake one or more written examinations that had been failed on the first attempt on a schedule specified by the P&P.
If a student fails to complete patient logs by the end of the clerkship, the student will be made aware of the delinquency and the student must submit the completed log by 4 weeks post-rotation. If a student fails to complete the logs by 4 weeks post-rotation, an “I” will be submitted and, provided the logs are completed before the end of the semester, the student will receive and automatic drop of one letter grade upon completion of the logs. If a student fails to complete the logs by the end of semester the student will fail the rotation, will receive and “F” on his/her transcript and will be required to repeat the rotation.
Course and Clerkship Evaluation: Hall S. Tacket Society
The Hall S. Tacket Society is a course and clerkship evaluation system. Student feedback on the quality of educational experiences is highly valued. Evaluations are done at the end of courses and clerkships. The data are shared with course and clerkship directors, faculty and department chairs. Curriculum committees review the data extensively to assist in curriculum assessment and improvement. Completion of course and clerkship surveys are an important aspect of professionalism and while not mandatory, completion of survery is an expectation of all students.
Tutoring services are available for students. Tutors are assigned based on availability and an assessment of students’ need. For further information, contact Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI), (901) 448-5056.
Inclement Weather Policy
The administration at UTHSC decides when the campus is closed due to inclement weather. Closure indicates that classes and scheduled meetings are cancelled. In the event that the school is closed, faculty and students with clinical responsibilities are professionally obligated to provide that care even during inclement weather. Students on clinical services are expected to continue to provide care for their patients, provided traveling would not place the student at serious risk of injury. Students should consult with their resident and physician supervisors to determine the risks/benefits involving travel during these periods. Students who are unable to travel to the rotation sites should contact preceptors as soon as possible to advise them of the individual situation and whether the student could reach the site later in the day.
Since weather conditions will vary across the state, clerkship students on the three campuses will follow the schedules dictated by those campuses.
Dress and Identification
All students are expected to dress as professional school students. In addition, being able to be identified as a College of Medicine student has safety and practical implications. Recognizing the need to identify members of the professional medical team and to distinguish them from other hospital personnel or patients, they must wear clinic coats of a type described below while in patient contact situations:
- Attending staff wear coats of their choice.
- Interns and resident staff are expected to wear coat-length, long sleeve clinic coats, generally white; however, color variations may be uniformly adopted by any department.
- Medical students wear white long sleeve jacket-length coats and display their name tags at all times.
- For M1s and M2s in clinical settings or in standardized patient settings, only professional attire (and not scrubs) is acceptable.
- For M3s and M4s in clinical settings, appropriate professional attire is expected.
- Students should introduce themselves simply by name and as a medical student along with year in school. Student should avoid the term “student-doctor” as it may lead to misunderstanding.
All UT faculty, students, staff exempt and non-exempt employees are issued an identification card by Campus Police. Medical student name badges are to be worn at all times. Badges will be provided during orientation. Replacements are available from the Campus Police office, for a fee. Students interested in access to various buildings after business hours are required to present identification badges for access and to display them while on the premises.