Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is committed to creating an atmosphere of academic integrity, life-long learning, and quality patient care. They train doctors to be prepared to practice medicine for their local communities and underserved areas. As such, PCOM is incredibly competitive, and they have exceedingly high expectations for their students. Considering all the pressure on students, it's no wonder some of them find it hard to excel. These students may even begin acting in ways that are abnormal for them. An attorney-advisor can help when all this stress results in a disciplinary meeting or dismissal hearing. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation.
Academic and Professional Conduct for Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Students
Like all schools, PCOM has a student handbook they deliver to their students each year. This handbook lays out specific academic and professional responsibilities the students are expected to uphold and master. When a student violates these rules, they run the risk of being punished. PCOM asks its students to:
- Be respectful to faculty, peers, hospital staff, and patients
- Upholding patient confidentiality
- Maintaining satisfactory grades
- Appraise and assimilate scientific evidence into their patient care
- Keep improving their interpersonal and communication skills
- Recognize when a patient requires urgent care
- Get informed consent for tests and procedures
- Develop lifelong learning habits
If the university discovers that a student is disobeying these rules and behaving inappropriately, the student will be referred to the student Progress & Evaluation Committee (SPEC), who will decide if a remediation plan is appropriate, whether or not to discipline the student, and when the student should be dismissed (if at all).
Remediation at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
At PCOM, students are given the chance to remediate a course, clinical, or exam. SPEC will review the students' records at the end of each academic year to determine who should progress in the program. If they notice a student is struggling to maintain their grades, they will refer them for a remediation program. Additionally, if a student fails more than ten preclerkship credits in the first or second year, they may be required to repeat the entire year.
Once the student successfully remediates, they will be allowed to continue with the program. If they are unable to remediate successfully, though, they will be referred for dismissal by SPEC.
Dismissal Procedures for Medical Students at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic medical students are held to higher standards than other graduate students because they literally hold life in their hands. At PCOM, students on the graduation track are expected to have both academic knowledge and professional competency. As such, students can be referred for dismissal for a myriad of reasons, including:
- Failing ten or more preclerkship course credits in the first or second year
- Failing two clerkships during their fourth year
- Being found responsible for academic misconduct – like cheating or plagiarism
- Being found responsible for sexual misconduct – like a Title IX violation or sexual assault
SPEC will convene a meeting with the student and allow them the opportunity to present facts and evidence on their behalf. When the hearing is over, SPEC will review the information and meet privately to decide whether the student should be dismissed. When you learn of these proceedings, reaching out to an attorney-advisor is the best way to ensure you receive a quality defense. Attorney-advisors have the skill and experience of being an attorney, coupled with the knowledge of college proceedings.
Appeal a Decision at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Once SPEC makes its decision, it will notify the student. Generally, you have a short period of time to appeal this decision – somewhere between 5 and 10 days. The decision letter will come with explicit instructions for how to go about your appeal. Usually, appeals can only be made on particular grounds, which the decision letter will state. But most of the time, they include:
- A conflict of interest or bias existed between the student and SPEC
- The sanctions imposed were too harsh given the nature of the incident
- There is new evidence available now that was not available during the original hearing that will change the outcome of the case
SPEC will review the appeal and potentially send it to another body of people to review. That unbiased committee will decide to either uphold SPEC's ruling, strike it down, or modify it in some way. Typically, this appeal is final and cannot be appealed further. Call our offices today if filing an appeal sounds unpleasant and stressful. Let our attorneys shoulder some of that burden for you.
How an Experienced Attorney-Advisor Can Help
When you get into osteopathic medical school, you never imagine you're your time there might come to an abrupt halt. You have worked so hard to get where you are, being sanctioned or dismissed can feel overwhelmingly scary, which is why it is important to prepare for these proceedings accordingly. There are a number of consequences you may not be aware of. For example, students who are suspended or dismissed from the program but who hope to continue their education elsewhere, whether it is a fellowship or another osteopathic medical school program, will have to explain these punishments in every interview and application they fill out.
Attorney Lento and Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping medical students who have found themselves in a similar situation. They will get witnesses to testify on your behalf and gather evidence to build a strong defense and preserve your place in medical school. Don't lose hope, call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.