South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore and the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota (USD). The objective of USD, and really any medical school in America, is to train future physicians to be competent and empathetic so that they can improve the lives of the folks in South Dakota and surrounding areas. As such, they expect their students to maintain satisfactory grades in both their academic and professional instruction. But medical school is competitive, and some students may find having to juggle it all quite intimidating. Stress and anxiety breed abnormal behavior, and this abnormal behavior may land you in front of different review boards. If this sounds like what you're going through, an attorney advisor can help.
Academic and Professionalism Policies for South Dakota Medical Students
When you start medical school, you are given a student handbook. The handbook is basically a set of guidelines the administration expects the students to follow. Usually, these guidelines cover both the student's professional behavior and academic integrity. For instance, at USD, the handbook asks the students to:
- Refrain from falsifying physical examination or laboratory findings
- Refrain from misrepresenting their skills, experience, or exposure to medical procedures
- Show compassion and respect for patients
- Maintain patient confidentiality
- Maintain satisfactory grades
- Uphold academic integrity – no cheating, plagiarizing, or fabricating data
If a student violates USD's student handbook, they will be recommended for a remediation program, disciplinary action, or dismissal. The committees in charge of these proceedings will review the issue and determine if the student should be placed on a remediation plan, dismissed, or sanctioned for their behavior. Sanctions can include anything from a formal warning letter to suspension.
Remediation at South Dakota Medical Schools
Medical schools want to make sure their students are capable physicians before they will confidently let them enter the workforce and treat patients. To ensure this, they will test their students constantly on both their medical knowledge and professional capabilities. Medical schools want their students to leave school knowing how to stitch a wound and ease a sick child.
Sometimes though, it can be hard to maintain your grades even when all you do is study. Not all students learn the same way, yet the way schools teach is very particular to one style of learning. As such, medical schools allow struggling students to remediate classes, exams, and clinical clerkships to better understand the material before allowing them to progress to the next module or year.
At USD, if a faculty member sees a student struggling to keep up their grades, they will refer them to the Student Progress and Conduct Committee (SPCC). The SPCC will review the student's case and determine if remediation is an appropriate plan.
If a student continues to fail even after a remediation plan, the SPCC will refer them for dismissal. The number of opportunities a student gets to remediate a particular course, exam, or clinical will vary from school to school.
Dismissal From a South Dakota Medical Program
As explained above, the SPCC has the power to dismiss students for failing to remediate and pass, but they also have the power to dismiss students for disciplinary actions. Which means you can be brought before the SPCC for anything from bullying and sexual harassment to failing your anatomy course twice.
It is vital you prepare for your dismissal hearing. Insufficient defenses yield disastrous consequences that can be hard to recover from. For instance, dismissed students who still want to pursue medicine will find it hard to gain acceptance to another medical school. This is because medical schools are competitive with one another. It is unlikely a medical school of the same caliber as USD will admit you, forcing you to apply to lesser reputable schools.
If you do get into a new medical school program, your credits from USD may not be transferrable, requiring you to start from the beginning. Additionally, whether you get into a new program or not, you will still have to pay back the large school loans you took out to attend USD. And if you end up having to start over from zero at a new school, you'll have to take out even more loans.
Working with an attorney advisor is the best way to guarantee you are ready to stand up for yourself. Attorney advisors will gather evidence and witness testimony to persuade the administration to give you another chance.
At almost every American medical school, students are owed certain rights, including the right to be treated equally in a hearing proceeding. The medical school cannot abruptly change the procedures from one student to the next. Usually, these rights include allowing a student to face their accuser in a disciplinary hearing, allowing them to defend themselves in any hearing, asking for the opportunity to join a remediation program, and being able to appeal committee decisions.
When hearings end, the committee will recuse themselves to determine if the student should be penalized. Generally, these decisions are mailed to the student, but sometimes they are emailed, so make sure to check both avenues of communication. The moment you get the notice, the appeals clock starts ticking.
In the decision letter, the school will describe the steps to appeal it. If you are facing a stringent punishment like a suspension or dismissal, it is essential you appeal the decision. Punishments like these are stated on your transcripts and will have to be explained on any application you fill out in the future. For example, if you are dismissed and apply to another medical school, they will ask you to explain the incident that led to your dismissal.
The appeals process is supposed to be straightforward, but many students get overwhelmed by the finality of the decision letter and miss their chance to defend themselves one last time.
If you find filing the appeal alone to be daunting, an attorney advisor can help walk you through it. Attorney advisors can also help you navigate alternative paths if your appeal is unsuccessful. For example, they can contact the Office of General Counsel at your medical school and attempt to negotiate on your behalf. Many times these negotiations have a better result than if you were to file a lawsuit against the school. To learn more, contact an attorney advisor today.
South Dakota Medical Student Defense Advisor
Knowing how to protect your dream of graduating from medical school can be intimidating. Attorney advisors are experts in medical school defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can help with creating a strategic defense that guarantees you the best possible outcome for your case. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case or schedule a time online.