Arkansas may be home to the famed Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, but it is also home to her alma mater, the University of Arkansas College of Medicine (UAMS) and the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM). The medical schools' main purpose is educating students to be both compassionate and empathetic physicians, but also physicians who will continue to better American health care. These high expectations can incite anxiety and stress in even the calmest student. It is no wonder then why some students end up behaving in ways they normally wouldn't. Unfortunately, those behaviors may also land the student in front of a dismissal committee. If you are going through something similar, an attorney advisor can help.
Academic and Professionalism Policies for Arkansas Medical Students
Normally, on the first day of medical school, they will hand out a student handbook that outlines a set of rules the administration expects the students to follow. These rules will cover both the student's academic conduct and their professional responsibilities. For instance, at UAMS, the handbook asks the students not to cheat, plagiarize, or fabricate data on exams, lab work, or inpatient care. It also asks students to make sure they are maintaining their grades, practicing compassion and respect when dealing with their patients, and only performing medical procedures they've been trained for.
If a student violates UAMS's rules, they will be referred to one of the committees that oversees remediation, disciplinary actions, or dismissal. Those committees will review the issue and decide what steps to take next.
Remediation at Arkansas Medical Schools
When a student graduates from medical school, they must be ready to treat real patients. As such, medical schools guarantee internship or residency matches that their students are competent physicians before they graduate. And to ensure they are, they test their students frequently on both their medical knowledge and professional skills.
For some students, this incessant testing can be crippling. Not all students learn the same way. Some do much better on the clinical side than in the classroom, and vice versa. Medical schools understand that their curriculums are exhausting, so they give struggling students the ability to retake classes, exams, and clinical clerkships. The idea is that if a student is given this opportunity to remediate, the material will be absorbed, allowing them to move on to the next module or year.
At ARCOM, if a faculty member sees a student struggling with assignments, exams, or clinical skills, they will refer them to the Student Progress Committee (SPC). The SPC will review the issue and establish if remediation is an appropriate strategy. If a student continues to fail even after a remediation plan, they will be recommended for dismissal.
Dismissal From an Arkansas Medical Program
At the UAMS, the Student Promotions Committee has the power to dismiss students for other issues. For instance, students might be subject to dismissal for violating policies in the student handbook, receiving a failing grade in a course that has already been repeated, being put on probation and then failing a class, or having failed either step of the USMLE more than three times.
When you discover you will be meeting before the dismissal committee, you must prepare your defense effectively. Having evidence and witnesses to testify on your behalf is key to winning over the administration. Unfortunately, students take these proceedings less seriously than they should, leading them to show up ill-prepared.
This insufficient defense can yield more issues than just an untimely dismissal, including finding it hard to get into another medical school or qualify for future student loans. Additionally, being dismissed from your medical school program can cause harsh personal hardships, like mental health issues, that can be hard to recover from. Having an attorney advisor by your side from the moment you learn of these proceedings is the best way to advocate for yourself. Their guidance and experience are simply unmatched when it comes to medical school defenses.
Medical schools are supposed to set up specific procedures around official proceedings. These procedures must be voted on and upheld before they go into action, which means they cannot be changed on a whim, and every student must be given these rights equally. Typically, these rights involve letting a student face their accuser in a disciplinary hearing, granting them the ability to defend themselves in a hearing, getting the opportunity to join a remediation program, and being able to appeal committee decisions.
At the end of a hearing, the committee overseeing it will meet separately to decide if the student should be punished based on the facts and evidence they just heard. Normally, these rulings are mailed to the student and will include directions for how to file an appeal. If you are facing a punishment like suspension or dismissal, you will want to make sure you appeal it. Suspensions and dismissals are one of the few penalties immortalized on your transcripts. If you decide to apply to another medical school program, those notations will follow you, forcing you to explain the event ad nauseam.
Appeals are essentially due process rights and are meant to be straightforward. You shouldn't need more than what is contained in the decision letter to file your appeal. But sometimes, students are so upset or frustrated by the outcome of the decision that the idea of appeal is all the more daunting. If you are experiencing the same anxiety and stress, an attorney advisor will be able to help you file it quickly and efficiently.
In addition, if your appeal turns out to not be successful, an attorney advisor can contact the Office of General Counsel at your medical school and negotiate on your behalf. Typically, these attempts to negotiate are more fruitful than a lawsuit would be. Either way, your attorney advisor will work tirelessly to ensure every opportunity is exhausted fully.
Arkansas Medical Student Defense Advisor
Getting into medical school is hard, but you never imagine staying might be just as hard. If you are brought before a disciplinary or dismissal committee, or if your medical school does not provide you with a remediation plan, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm can help. Call the Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case or schedule a time online.