Louisiana might be known for its King Cake, Mardi Gras, and beignets, but it is also home to three prominent medical schools. Their goals is to educate future physicians so that they can deliver excellent clinical care to the folks in Louisiana. Their reputation in the community is most important to them. As such, they expect their students to not only meet but exceed their ambitious standards. Some students may find this quite intimidating and start behaving in ways they normally wouldn't, landing themselves in front of review boards. If you find you're going through something comparable, an attorney advisor can help.
Academic and Professionalism Policies for Louisiana Medical Students
When students start medical school, they are given a student handbook or code of conduct to follow. These handbooks describe the type of professional and academic behaviors that are allowed while attending medical school. If your school is like the Louisiana State University of Medicine, the code of conduct will ask you to refrain from cheating, unprofessional conduct, and improper behavior while also maintaining satisfactory grades and maintaining patient confidentiality.
Students who violate these guidelines are referred to a disciplinary or dismissal committee who will review the issue and determine if the student should be sanctioned. Sanctions might include a warning letter, probation, loss of on-campus privileges, or suspension.
Remediation at Louisiana Medical Schools
The medical schools in Louisiana expect a lot out of their students, and to ensure they are meeting those expectations, they consistently test the students on their medical and professional abilities. Students must be able both to identify how to treat a heart attack and how to relate to a patient undergoing extensive cancer treatment.
No matter how hard students study, there are some situations where they are unable to keep up. All students learn differently, but all schools teach the same ways. Very few medical schools step out of the box to teach students with a learning difference. But they will allow students to participate in a remediation program to ensure the information they are learning is being integrated somehow.
For instance, at Tulane University School of Medicine, any student who receives a failing or incomplete grade in a course or clerkship will be reviewed by the Student Professionalism and Promotion Committee. This committee tells the Course Director or Clerkship Director how to resolve the issue, typically with a remediation plan. For first- and second-year students, the academic deficiency must be remediated before the student can move to the next year.
In some cases, students may find it hard to pass the remediation program. These students will be referred to the dismissal committee for review.
Dismissal From a Louisiana Medical Program
As described above, medical students are evaluated consistently throughout their time in school on both their professional capabilities and their understanding of medicine. For instance, at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, dismissal is usually recommended by the Promotion Board when a student shows they are unable to pass a course, assignment, or exam, even after given the chance to remediate it. Other behaviors that may invoke a dismissal hearing include disciplinary actions like cheating, plagiarizing, harassment, sexual misconduct, or lying.
It is incredibly important to prepare to defend yourself at a dismissal hearing. Unfortunately, most of the time, students don't know how to defend themselves. They attend the hearing and intend to wing it. This almost always results in immediate dismissal of the student.
Insufficient defenses have more consequences than just dismissal. For example, when a student is dismissed, they still owe whatever student loans they took out, and without a physician's salary, those will be hard to repay. Additionally, if a student can get into another medical school program after dismissal, their credits may not transfer, forcing them to start from the beginning. All the negative consequences associated with an untimely dismissal can lead to mental health issues, anxiety, and depressive episodes.
Teaming up with an attorney advisor is the best way to guarantee you are prepared to defend yourself. Attorney advisors will gather evidence, witness testimony, and create a strategic defense that encourages the committee to give you another chance.
American medical schools owe their students certain rights. Like due process rights, medical students should be able to count on them when entering a hearing proceeding. These rights include facing their accuser in a disciplinary hearing, being able to defend themselves, asking to join remediation programs, and being able to appeal the decision of any committee.
At the end of the hearing, the committee overseeing it will recuse themselves to deliberate. The committee's decision is usually mailed to the student within a few days and should include the instructions for appealing it if you choose to do so. If you are facing a suspension or dismissal, you are going to want to appeal it. These sanctions are noted on your transcripts and will have to be explained on future graduate applications if you want to continue your medical education elsewhere.
Generally, filing an appeal is a straightforward process, but considering there are specific grounds on which appeals can be filed, the idea of doing it alone is daunting for most students.
If you find yourself feeling the same way, reach out to an attorney advisor. Attorney advisors have the expertise to use the appeal as an additional form of defense in your case. And if your appeal is unsuccessful, your attorney advisor will not rest until they have exhausted every possible chance to protect your dream of becoming a doctor. For instance, they can contact the Office of General Counsel at your medical school and attempt to negotiate on your behalf. These negotiations tend to have a better outcome than a traditional lawsuit against your medical school might.
Louisiana Medical Student Defense Advisor
Having to defend your spot in medical school can be daunting. Who can you turn to for help? What steps can you take to protect yourself best? Attorney Joseph D. Lento is an expert in medical school defense. He and his team can help you answer those questions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case or schedule a time online.