From Tallahassee to Miami and other corners of the state, Florida offers a rich assortment of medical programs. These medical programs all have something in common: They expect students to perform academically and adhere to high professional standards. Students who struggle academically, commit a professionalism infraction, or are falsely accused of misconduct may suddenly find their medical aspirations in jeopardy.
No matter the nature of your medical school issue, hiring an attorney-advisor will best help protect your rights and interests. Medical programs in Florida maintain unique, often complicated rules and sanctioning guidelines. An attorney will seek the ideal resolution to your case. Meanwhile, you can continue to focus on your academics and personal wellbeing.
Academic and Professional Standards at Florida Medical Programs
Most medical programs provide students with a clearly-stated code of conduct. Often located within a student handbook, these codes of conduct may detail:
- Appropriate and prohibited in-classroom behavior (plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and similar academic infractions)
- Prohibited extra-academic behavior (harassment, disrespectful acts towards colleagues and superiors, and other behavioral misconduct)
- Standards for academic performance
- The school's adjudication process for alleged infractions
Each school's code of conduct is unique, but there may be several similarities between medical programs. Medical students in Florida are generally expected to act ethically at all times, maintain a certain level of academic performance, and display behavior consistent with the medical profession.
Florida State University's College of Medicine (FSUCOM) offers a glimpse into medical school codes of conduct. FSUCOM's 2021-22 Student Handbook reads:
"In addition to academic honesty, we expect a high standard of personal and professional conduct in the physicians we aspire to train. There is an Academic Honor Code that all College of Medicine students are expected to follow with respect to their moral and ethical behavior"
Your school may also outline professional expectations. Professional standards may cover:
- Interactions with fellow medical students
- Interactions with faculty
- Any patient interactions arising from your studies
- How alleged criminal offenses may affect you as a student
Medical schools may adjudicate academic and professional misconduct separately. The consequences of either allegation, though, may be severe.
Dismissal from Medical Programs in Florida
Society holds medical professionals in the highest esteem. This high regard only magnifies the consequences of errors by medical practitioners. Medical students face similar circumstances. A single mistake, lapse in judgment, period of poor performance, or baseless allegation could result in your dismissal from medical school.
The University of Florida College of Medicine (UFCOM) illustrates the wide array of transgressions that can trigger expulsion. A student at UFCOM may be dismissed if they receive a grade of ‘C' or lower while on academic probation. They may also be dismissed for behavioral infractions—including but not limited to cheating or displaying unprofessional conduct.
Students facing expulsion generally have a right to plead for leniency. Take full advantage of this opportunity. Being expelled from medical school could have cataclysmic personal consequences. Dismissal from your medical program may:
- Erase your current academic progress
- Burden you with your current student loans and school-related expenses
- Require you to incur more debt should you re-enroll in another medical or non-medical program
- Make it extremely difficult to re-enroll at another medical program
- Diminish your future job prospects
- Cause personal distress
- Cause significant reputational harm
Search as you may, there may be no silver lining to dismissal. You want to avoid expulsion by all means. An experienced attorney-advisor will guide you through the adjudication process at your medical program.
Remediation for Medical Students in Florida
Florida's medical universities train future doctors. As such, they expect doctor-level academic performance from students like you. When students fail to meet medical school's high academic standards, they typically face remediation.
Remediation generally means retaking a failed course or test. You may need to remediate coursework because of excessive absences, too. Your school may place a limit on remediation allowances. Once you've reached your limit, you may face expulsion.
Schools implement remediation as they see fit. Students at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine may require a leave of absence before pursuing remediation, for example. Similar requirements may or may not exist at your university.
While remediation is a saving grace for many medical students, it's typically a last-ditch option. If you can petition for a grade change and avoid remediation, you should generally do so. This may save you time, money, and the need to explain your remediation to medical gatekeepers.
Appealing a Decision by a Florida Medical School
Every medical student should defend themselves vigorously the first go-round. Appeals exist, however, for when the initial case goes the wrong way. Whether you're seeking a grade change or avoiding a significant sanction, you should exhaust all appeal options.
Medical schools throughout Florida will generally allow for certain appeals. Schools may differ in which decisions are appealable, how quickly you must file your appeal and other appeal-specific details. It's generally true that you'll need to file your appeal shortly after receiving the initial decision.
A Florida medical school attorney-advisor will handle every stage of your appeal. They will be aware of the filing deadline before the appeal becomes necessary. As part of your appeal, they'll cite grounds for changing the decision, such as:
- The presence of bias in your original proceeding
- The emergence of new evidence
- A divergence between the facts of your case and the university's ruling
Your university likely has specific criteria for hearing an appeal. Expect your attorney-advisor to lead all case proceedings when permitted. From any case-related meetings to your hearing and appeal, your attorney-advisor will be your strongest advocate.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor to Defend You
At first glance, the term “defense” may seem odd for a medical student facing potential sanctions. You're not accused of a criminal act, after all—nonetheless, you have much to lose. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will defend your reputation, personal record, and goals in medicine.
The Lento Law Firm specializes in medical student discipline defense. We understand how seriously medical schools take students' obligations, and when there is a lapse, potential discipline or other adverse consequences. Our team will provide a thorough defense, seeking the best outcome for you. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn how we can help you.