Established in 1969, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University emphasizes primary care training and enjoys national recognition for its family-medicine training program. The institution's community-centric approach helps provide care for underserved communities and trains some of the brightest medical students in the state. However, top-tier universities have high expectations of their students. With numerous opportunities to look forward to upon graduation, students must demonstrate high academic proficiency and professional standards. One mistake can end a student's future career before it begins.
The rigors of medical school are a prelude to the pressures that medical students will face once they become physicians. However, unprecedented events, personal circumstances, and heavy expectations can adversely affect a student's progress. Instead of looking forward to graduation and becoming a doctor, students can find themselves before a committee and subject to adverse consequences, including being sanctioned or facing permanent dismissal.
Honor Code and Academic Expectations
Top-tier schools like ECU Brody School of Medicine expect students to abide by policies that govern ethical academic behavior and professional standards. The honor code embodies the “ideals of academic honesty, integrity, and responsible citizenship, govern the performance of all academic work and student conduct at the university.” Academic integrity is high on the required moral and ethical standards highlighted in the Code of Conduct.
The code contains a detailed list of offenses that lead to sanctions, including acts of academic dishonesty and professional misconduct. Students who violate policies must stand before a Professional Conduct Committee or Appellate Board. The committee has six members chosen by the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Dean for Student Affairs. The minimum sanction is a written warning notice; the most severe is permanent separation from the School of Medicine and revoking all privileges. In some cases, students receive a temporary dismissal, placing them well behind their peers and unexpectedly delaying graduation.
The demanding curriculum at the ECU Brody School of Medicine, coupled with responsibilities and pressure, overwhelms many students. The Student Advancement and Promotion Committee is responsible for an annual review of student performance. Students who do not pass receive the designation of Academic Difficulty and risk academic dismissal.
The institution has a low tolerance for those who do not maintain satisfactory grades. A remediation program is available to help struggling students improve their performance, yet it is still time-consuming. ECU Brody does allow students to make an academic appeal if they believe that they will receive a dismissal due to unsatisfactory grades. The request gets a review by members of the Promotions Review and Appeal Committee. In such cases, students may have a higher chance of success if they contact an attorney-advisor to avoid sanctions or remediation.
Repercussions of Permanent Dismissal
Administrations are rarely lenient, and students should not assume that all will go in their favor. Expulsion from medical school for academic issues or ethical/professional violations have short and long-term repercussions. Medical schools are notoriously difficult to gain admission to – and with a permanent dismissal, it becomes harder to find placement elsewhere. Among the issues that medical students encounter after an expulsion include:
- A permanent dismissal charge on their permanent record. Admissions officers scour applications to find the best talent to admit to their programs. Students are less likely to find placement in a prestigious institution with expulsion on a permanent record.
- Loss of effort and time. Despite attending medical school for years, students may have to start over if they find placement at another program.
- Financial difficulties. Scholarships, financial aid, and student loans cease when a student gets expelled. Students find themselves getting deeper into debt due to the thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses.
Since students have so much to lose, they must immediately learn that they may face the possibility of expulsion so as to reverse or decrease the damage. With the help of an attorney advisor, the process is less daunting and stressful to navigate.
Academic and Professionalism Appeals Policy
Medical students have a right to appeal the decision of a committee, whether it is for academic issues or professional violations. Students wishing to submit an appeal must provide supporting evidence to the Dean of Student Affairs to receive a review of the committee's decision. The student must prove a policy violation or procedural error occurred to receive consideration unless they have new information about the case. After the Appellate Board receives the request, it determines whether the sanctions are appropriate or if the case warrants a dismissal.
For grade appeals, students must first discuss the issue with their Course/Clerkship Director. If the parties cannot agree on the result, the student must appeal to the Department Chair. Although there are no guarantees, appealing a sanction or grade can positively affect the right approach and strategy.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
So much can go wrong when medical students face pressure to succeed, and many students falter under the weight of administrative expectations. Mistakes and academic issues should not be why a hardworking student loses their dream of becoming a doctor. The guidance of an attorney-advisor like Joseph D. Lento is invaluable during this time, helping students and their families breathe easier knowing that a professional is by their side.
Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm works with students nationwide to help reduce the impact of academic issues or ethical violations on their future. With so much at stake, every step in this process matters, from approaching a committee to filing an appeal.
Don't let the pressure of medical school cause you to lose your future career of becoming a doctor. You work hard and face considerable pressure to leave the decision to a committee without taking action.
Procedural errors, bias, and insufficient information are not uncommon. Students become victims to harsh administrations who want to prove a point to other students. You don't have to be next – call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case in confidence.