Medical Student Remediation

What Is Remediation?

Remediation in the medical school context means early identification of students for benchmarked evaluation and training to elevate their underdeveloped or substandard academic or clinical performance, or professionalism, to meet school standards. Medical schools and medical students put a lot into the student's successful education. Remediation in its best form is a tool to avoid failure and dismissal.

Misuse and Abuse of Remediation

Scholarly critique of remediation, though, suggests that it is also a way in which medical schools ensure that they can defend their decisions to dismiss a student, having given the student due process and opportunities for correction. While that critique confirms that remediation can effectively make previously underperforming students indistinguishable from their fully performing peers, it also indicates that medical schools can take hit-or-miss rather than principled approaches to remediation. Medical schools can, in other words, manipulate and abuse remediation to give underperforming students a false sense of hope when the school has every intention of dismissing the student.

Medical schools also make mistakes, whether careless or discriminatory based on racial, sexual, or other prejudices, in deciding which students need remediation. Medical schools sometimes demand remediation and pressure the student to accept it, when the student has no need for it and won't benefit from it. In the worst cases, medical schools can even misconstrue a student's just resistance to remediation, trying to avoid its unnecessary distraction and waste, as a sign of the student's own carelessness in persevering and completing the program. Remediation, in other words, can become a point of serious contention, impacting a student's ability to proceed.

Impacts of Unnecessary Remediation

Unnecessary remediation can also have unfortunate negative impacts, well beyond the time and energy that remediation takes, and the distraction it can become from fruitful studies. Remediation shouldn't be a mark against the student, but for some employers and residency program supervisors, remediation is such a mark. Remediation can make a student look less competitive as and less capable than other students and graduates who did not remediate.

If you face the prospect of resisting, avoiding, negotiating, or accepting remediation with your medical school to reduce your risk of dismissal, then retain national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento to advise and represent you. Make remediation your ticket to good standing and graduation, not your trap for dismissal or a mark against you in a competitive market for residency programs and employment.

How Remediation Should Work

One study reported in the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges found that the vast majority of medical schools had remediation policies and practices to address student deficiencies and lapses. That study reports that medical schools typically assign student affairs deans and course directors responsibility for remediation oversight. Deans and directors typically use routine student evaluations and incident reports to identify underperforming students. The schools then mostly use remediation assignments, mandated mental health evaluations, and mentoring to bring the underperforming student into line.

The same study indicates that the remediation systems common to medical schools tend to catch minor offenses early. They also tend to work effectively schoolwide while helping rather than punishing students. Remediation also tends to be transparent to the student, fostering communication between the student and the school. However, the reluctance of students to admit and professors to report underperformance tends to undermine medical school remediation. Medical schools also tend not to adequately train the professors who implement remediation, resulting in effective efforts with unclear methods and accountability. Medical schools also tend not to adjust their remediation systems effectively to produce better results. In its worst application, remediation can be more a charade than a solution.

Why Accept Remediation

Despite negative assessments of medical school remediation, medical students at risk of dismissal have several good reasons to accept their medical school's offer of a sound, fair, benchmarked remediation process with achievable objectives. Those reasons include that the medical school may well permit and expect the student to continue on with scheduled studies at the same pace as peers while completing the remediation. Remediation need not delay the student's medical education. Remediation may also avoid the student having to repeat coursework and credits or even repeat exams or other assessments. In that sense, remediation can be like a stitch in time saving nine or, for a different analogy, plugging a leak to forestall a flood. Remediation can also avoid discipline or other indications of misconduct or substandard performance on the student's medical degree transcript and in the student's other educational records. Students have good reasons to accept remediation.

Indeed, the greatest reason of all to pursue remediation is to avoid dismissal from the medical school. Medical students make enormous investments in their medical education, not just the years and tuition costs but also the forgone education and employment they would have obtained in other fields. The rewards of a medical degree and career are equally large. Dismissal most likely destroys the student's investment and anticipated rewards, unless the student can gain readmission, transfer to another medical school, or gain admission to another medical school, the prospects for which are generally all poor, depending on the grounds for dismissal. The rule is to give your one medical education your absolutely best shot, including by pursuing early remediation of any apparent deficiencies, whether academic, behavioral, or professional.

How Best to Remediate

But those reasons do not mean that a medical student should accept just any offer of remediation. To be effective, remediation must be timely, before the student faces the next educational hurdle that might, in remediation's delay or absence, again trip the student. To be effective, remediation must also be achievable, meaning to be within the student's reasonable reach considering the student's time, resources, and capabilities. Effective remediation also needs to be benchmarked, meaning that the school and student can both see whether the remediation is helping the student meet the previously missed standard. And finally, effective mediation must also include the necessary resources, whether those resources are study aids, tutors, practice assessments, or other facilities, equipment, personnel, and opportunities.

How Best to Obtain Effective Remediation

Entering remediation on one's own, without expert consultation, advice, and representation, is hazardous. Medical students are incredibly accomplished and bright. But as skilled and capable as they are, medical students typically lack the strategic insight into academic administration and proceedings, and the negotiation and advocacy skills, necessary to confidently protect the student's enormous investment in medical education. The risks of dismissal after an ineffective attempt at a poorly scheduled, designed, benchmarked, and resourced remediation are simply too great, if indeed remediation leaves any such risk. National academic attorney Joseph D. Lento helps students nationwide ensure that their schools are offering effective remediation rather than using ineffective remediation to cover poor teaching, unreasonable demands, and assessment errors. Don't let yourself enter a remediation trap. Ensure that your remediation opportunity is instead the helping hand up and out of academic or another risk that remediation should be.

Retain Premier Representation

That lesson, to retain the premier representation of national academic attorney Joseph D. Lento, is the single best piece of advice you'll receive about remediation. Medical school deficiencies can challenge any medical student, with all that medical students have at stake in their medical education. Remediation terms and negotiations can also be complex and subtle, with hidden agendas, disguised conditions, and missed opportunities for better plans and greater resources. Don't miss your opportunity to retain national academic attorney Joseph Lento to represent you in negotiating effective remediation and documenting the negotiated agreement. Attorney Lento's premier representation can help you get back on track in medical school through remediation. Retain attorney Lento today by calling 888.535.3686 or going online.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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