Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) offers students an education that's both comprehensive and dynamic, aiming to serve the needs of future communities. Students first complete their medical sciences curriculum at the school's campus in Barbados, later progressing to clinical rotations in the United States. Although there are multiple opportunities for students to maintain rich personal and academic lives, some students face delays in their progress due to professional misconduct charges. Other times, course loads become challenging to keep up with, affecting morale, grades, and academic status.
Whether the allegations have no basis or result from an honest mistake, overly harsh penalties can detour a medical student's goal of becoming a physician. Without the support of an advisor, students risk losing more than just their time and effort – they also lose their degree. The competitive nature of medical schools may cause some students to bend to the pressure and violate the Code of Conduct. Understanding what's at stake and acting quickly and efficiently decreases the likelihood of receiving sanctions once allegations surface.
Code of Conduct
RUSM values personal integrity and considers it a vital component of the physician's personality. In the student handbook, the Code of Conduct outlines the behavioral and ethical standards RUSM expects its students to uphold. Students must pledge to respect the Honor System upon matriculation and promise to:
“refrain from conducting themselves in a manner that is unbecoming of a medical professional. Students acknowledge that, in support of the Honor System, it is their responsibility to report any violations of the Code of Conduct. Students understand that with any violation of the Code of Conduct, a plea of ignorance will not be acceptable, and the violation may result in their permanent non-academic dismissal from RUSM”.
Students must sign and agree to the Code before their registration is complete, highlighting the importance of the Code and the repercussions of infarctions. Although most students maintain standards without issue, some acquiesce to the pressure and make mistakes. Students pay a heavy price for their violations without a strong defense strategy, including expulsion and a permanent notice on their record. An advisor like Joseph D. Lento helps students navigate the hearings process, identifying irregularities and discriminatory treatment.
In some cases, it isn't the student's behavior that is an issue but their academic performance. The medical curriculum is challenging and rigorous. Students dedicate a large chunk of their time studying but may struggle in difficult times to keep up. RUSM offers two types of remediation options: exam and course-based. Students who perform adequately but fail an exam may retake it, while those who chronically underperform must retake the course.
Remediation courses are unexpected – and, if they lead to probation – unpleasant realities for struggling medical students. The additional courses incur extra expenses that catch students unprepared. Although it is inconvenient, remediation may be the only option students have to continue their studies. If students receive financial aid, they may stop receiving benefits if they do not perform well academically. Failure to improve despite receiving remediation will lead to permanent dismissal.
In scenarios where the infarction is severe, the RUSM resorts to permanent dismissal. Expulsion has a long-lasting and disastrous effect on a medical student's academic progress. Students face losing years of hard work and experience:
- Difficulties when seeking another program. The competitive nature of medical schools and their narrow admission rates are obstacles for expelled students. Admissions officers will prefer a fresh graduate with a clean record instead of a potential liability who could come with future issues.
- Years of lost effort. Even if the medical student reaches an advanced level in their academic progress, a severe violation may force them to start over. The loss of progress is so discouraging for some students that they permanently leave medical school and seek a different degree.
- Negative financial implications. Repeating a program and the fines, fees, and charges associated with an expulsion can cause student loans to skyrocket. Even if the student manages to secure another loan and completes their degree, the additional loans take years to pay off.
RUSM appoints a grievance committee to review allegations of Code violations. The committee recommends sanctions and informs the student in writing. Students have the right to appeal the decision under four conditions: the emergence of new evidence that may favorably impact the case, if there are irregularities in the process, the presence (or lack) of reasonable evidence to make a decision, and unreasonable sanctions disproportionate to the allegations. Decisions made after an appeal are final.
There is no guarantee that an appeal will lead to a change in the severity of sanctions, especially when students face the process alone. During the appeals process, the guidance of an advisor can make a significant difference in the case outcome and increases a student's chances of success. A skilled advisor knows what evidence and information can make a difference in the result of an appeal request and bolsters a student's confidence in the process. With the right approach, students could avoid the repercussions of harsh penalties that undermine years of hard work.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical school is already a nerve-wracking time, and panel hearings only exacerbate the experience further. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento understands what medical students and their families are going through when a severe allegation threatens graduation prospects. With his expert knowledge and thorough defense approach, students can increase their chances of reducing the impact of sanctions.
Everyone makes mistakes, but some are costlier than others. Medical students are held to a rigid standard when it comes to professionalism, but sometimes at the expense of their careers. Sanctions should not be debilitating or cause students to give up the medical profession altogether.
Don't let a mistake destroy your dream of becoming a doctor or fall prey to an unfair hearing panel's harsh penalties. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a confidential and no-nonsense consultation if you face accusations of professional misconduct at RUSM.