Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medical school programs are incredibly competitive, and the one thing they all have in common is high expectations for their students. They want their students to succeed in all areas of their professional and personal lives. At Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (PNWU-COM), they are committed to educating physicians who will practice general medicine in rural and medically underserved communities. With all this pressure, there are some students who will find it hard to excel, pushing them to act in abnormal ways.

If you have received notice of a disciplinary meeting or a dismissal hearing, or if you are seeking a remediation program and your voice has yet to be heard, an attorney-advisor can help. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation.

Academic and Professional Conduct for PNWU-COM Students

Like all institutions, PNWU-COM drafts and sends out a student handbook each year. This handbook describes the academic and professional duties the students must uphold, including:

  • Being proficient in clinicals
  • Being honest with their patients
  • Upholding patient confidentiality
  • Improving the quality of their care
  • Maintaining satisfactory grades

When students defy these conduct rules and behave in a way they shouldn't, they will be referred to the Student Progress Committee (SPC). SPC will review the accusations or information at hand and decide whether or not the student should be disciplined for their misconduct, if a remediation program is appropriate, or if the student should be dismissed completely.

Remediation at PNWU-COM

At PNWU-COM, students are given the opportunity to remediate a course, clinical, or exam. SPC reviews the records of each student at the end of each academic year. If they notice a student is struggling, they will refer them for a remediation program. The university has built into its summer schedules, remediation time. If a student is unable to remediate successfully during that time, their incomplete grade will be changed to a failure, and they will be referred for dismissal.

Remediation is intended to give the student extra time to fully understand the material, hopefully making them a better physician in the long run. Unfortunately, there are several cases where students request remediation and are denied. If your school offers remediation programs and is denying your request, or you have not successfully passed your remediation plan, an attorney-advisor can speak to the administration on your behalf.

Dismissal Procedures for Medical Students at PNWU-COM

The medical profession stands apart from other professions because its students deal with life-or-death situations on the regular. As such, medical schools are keen on only graduating students who truly understand the academic and professional responsibilities that lie ahead. At PNWU-COM, students can be referred for dismissal because of their lack of professional conduct, for failing to remediate, or for failing multiple courses.

First, students will receive a notice to appear for a “Documentation of Counseling” in front of the Student Ethics Board or the SPC. Then the student will meet before the SPC and be given the chance to defend themselves. The SPC will review the evidence and witness testimony presented and determine one of four things:

  1. There should be no action taken
  2. A warning should be issued
  3. The student should be placed on probation
  4. The student should be dismissed from the program altogether

If the SPC determines that a student should be dismissed, they will notify the student. It is incredibly important to reach out to an attorney-advisor before you meet before the SPC. Attorney-advisors have the unique insight of an attorney with a nuanced understanding of college proceedings. They will be able to guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case.

Appeal a Decision at PNWU-COM

When you receive the notice of decision from SPC, you will have five days to appeal it. The appeal must be made in writing to the Dean's Office, who will review the appeal and notify the student of their decision within ten days. The Dean's Office will decide to either uphold the SPC's decision for dismissal, amend it, or strike it down altogether. Remember, appeals are your last chance to explain your side of the story. If the idea of filing an appeal sounds too stressful, Attorney Lento can help shoulder that burden. If the appeal is denied, the student has two days from receipt of that decision to call to meet with the Office of Student Affairs to learn the exit strategy.

Hiring a Skilled Attorney-Advisor

There are several consequences of disciplinary action or dismissal that you may not be aware of. For instance, if you are suspended or dismissed from school, the punishment will be noted on your transcript. Depending on the fellowship you are applying for, or if you are trying to finish your education at another school, you will have to explain why you were disciplined or dismissed over and over. This is why it is important to reach out to an attorney-advisor the moment you are notified of these proceedings.

Attorney Lento and Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping medical students from coast-to-coast who have found themselves in a similar situation. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation 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 the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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