Montana is home to Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and Montana State University. Montana State University is part of the WWAMI medical education family. WWAMI is a collective medical school between Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and the University of Washington School of Medicine. Students take their foundational courses at the University of Montana for the first two years of medical school and then can do their clinical clerkships in any of the WWAMI states. With so many states interested in the education and professional capabilities of the students, it's no wonder they are expected to meet such high standards. But some students may find it hard to keep up, putting them at risk for increased stress and anxiety, which may lead them to behave in ways they normally wouldn't. If you find yourself in a similar situation, an attorney advisor can help.
Academic and Professionalism Policies for Montana Medical Students
At Montana State University, the medical students are provided with student handbooks. The student handbook recaps the rules students are meant to follow while attending the WWAMI program. Mostly, these rules cover the student's academic conduct and their professional responsibilities. For example, it asks the students to never cheat, plagiarize, or invent data on exams or assignments, to maintain satisfactory grades, protect patient confidentiality, show respect to faculty and hospital staff, and only treat patients if they have the necessary training to do so.
If the school learns that a student has violated these rules in some way, they will refer the student to a promotions committee who will decide if they should be given a remediation plan, dismissed, or punished in another way. Punishments from the promotions committee can be anything from a warning letter or probation to loss of privileges on campus or suspension.
Remediation at Montana Medical Schools
Medical schools expect students to graduate with the ability to treat patients without putting them in additional harm. As such, they will test their students regularly to ensure the material they are learning is fully comprehended. If students are struggling to pass these assignments, medical schools will allow them to remediate the course, exam, or clinical clerkship to ensure the information is being absorbed.
Remediation plans must be completed successfully before the medical school will allow the student to progress to the next year or module. In fact, at Montana State University, if a student fails a Foundations Phase course, they have to retake it before they can take Step 1 of the USMLE. In some cases, students will continue to fail the courses even after remediation. If this happens, the school will refer them to a dismissal committee.
Dismissal From a Montana Medical Program
Usually, when a student is referred to the dismissal committee, the committee will review the student's entire file and then ask the student to explain their side of the story during a hearing proceeding. You must show up to this hearing fully prepared to defend yourself. Students who show up ill-prepared have a much harder time succeeding.
Unfortunately, insufficient defenses have other outcomes besides dismissal, like financial hardships. For instance, if you are dismissed, you will have to find a way to pay back your student loans without the promise of a physician's salary. Additionally, if you can get into another medical school, that school may not allow you to transfer credits. This is especially true if you end up outside the WWAMI system of schools. Also, leaving the WWAMI system of schools can bring you further away from home, taking you away from your support system and compounding your stress and anxiety further.
Working with an attorney advisor is the best way to protect your dream of becoming a doctor in Montana.
At American medical schools, the administration votes on policies and procedures before they are implemented. These policies govern the way students act on campus, what standards they are supposed to uphold in their clinicals, and how to regulate students who are violating the rules in the student handbook. They are meant to make every student equal; no one can be singled out, and the policies cannot change from student to student. They're sort of like Constitutional due process rights.
Typically, these policies will include:
- Allowing a student to face their accuser in a disciplinary hearing.
- Giving them the opportunity to defend themselves in a hearing.
- Offering them the chance to join a remediation program.
- Giving them the opportunity to appeal committee decisions.
When hearings end, the committee will meet in private to discuss whether the student should be given a remediation plan, punished in some way, or dismissed from the medical school. They will then deliver that decision to the student, usually within a few days, and explain to the student how to appeal their decision.
Unfortunately, students tend to get hung up on the initial decision laid out in the letter and forget to appeal by the deadline. But if you are facing a suspension or dismissal, the appeal is your last chance to continue to pursue your dreams.
Attorney advisors can help walk you through the appeals process, ensuring you file it on time and what you include in the appeal is actually allowed. Additionally, if your appeal is denied, they will help you navigate alternative resolutions, like contacting the Office of General Counsel at your medical school to negotiate on your behalf. Many times, these negotiations are more beneficial than a traditional lawsuit might be.
Montana Medical Student Defense Advisor
It can be hard to know what to expect when you are first notified of a remediation, dismissal, or disciplinary hearing. You might find it hard to prepare, not knowing what is important to bring up and what isn't. This is why it is so helpful to work with an attorney advisor. Attorney advisors will gather evidence and witnesses and strategically defend your place in medical school. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team have years of experience working with students just like you. They can guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case, no matter the committee you're standing before. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case or schedule a time online.