Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is a community-based medical school partnered with three independent health systems in Palm Beach County and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Launched in 2010, the school is one of the newest accredited medical schools in the country. Since its launch, the medical school admits 64 medical students each year and is nationally recognized for its innovative, high-tech curriculum.
Being matriculated into medical school is a hugely happy moment for many graduate students. It marks the beginning of a rewarding career. However, if you as a medical student are having difficulties progressing in your academics and coursework, you could well be fearing for your future in the field.
Your medical school may have taken issue with your attendance, performance, or progress, or you may even be facing remediation or dismissal. After having worked so hard to earn yourself a place at medical school, you will not want to take any chances with your future.
Medicine is a hugely well-respected valued profession offering a rewarding career. Given the public trust placed in doctors, any marks on your academic or professional record can threaten your future in the field. If you are a medical student facing academic challenges or disciplinary action, securing an experienced attorney-advisor who is well-versed in medical school proceedings can make a huge difference to the outcome.
The academic, professional, and ethical standards to which medical students are held are more exacting than other fields. Medical students at Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine must follow the Florida Atlantic University code of conduct and the medical school's standards of academic performance and professionalism.
Medical schools are responsible for a student's initial professional education. Part of this role is to assist in developing the professional attitudes and attributes all physicians need. Professionalism is a core competency in all four years of medical school and assessed via Physicianship Evaluations.
The school may enforce disciplinary actions for students who do not demonstrate adequate professional and personal attributes. The school strongly encourages holding feedback meetings where a faculty member meets with you to raise any concerns, discuss ways in which your performance can be improved, and give you an opportunity to do so. After a meeting, the faculty member will generally document the areas in which you must improve on a PEF form. However, faculty members do not strictly have to meet with you first to make a report against you.
The school uses reports professionalism concerns in two ways:
- Physicianship Incident Reports (PIR) following specific incidents
- Physicianship Evaluation Forms (PEF) following general monitoring.
If your advisor has filed one of these forms against you, either the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions and/or the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs will meet with you to advise and explain the procedures. The school will give you an opportunity to write a response. The best course of action is to secure expert advice at this stage before the school chooses to issue any disciplinary sanctions, which might range from probation to dismissal.
Even the strongest students sometimes struggle to keep the pace between intense course schedules and maintaining minimum grades.
Any student who receives an Unsatisfactory grade, more than one Satisfactory with Concern grade will be referred to the Medical Student Promotions and Professional Standards Committee (MSPPSC) for review based on the Academic Deficiencies Policy.
If you fail to perform to minimal academic standards, the Course, Clerkship, or Curriculum Director will typically meet with you to develop an academic remediation plan to get you back on track. This plan will include expectations for the work to be performed, a plan for re-assessment, and the remediation period.
The schools may take remedial measures at their discretion, and they will consider your personal circumstances carefully. It is important to make a strong case for yourself because it could be the difference between having or being barred from a future in medicine.
Every student's case is unique. If it provides a route out of academic dismissal, a remediation plan could save your career. However, repeated work and resits can also be costly and time-consuming. Remedial actions may also appear on your academic record, tarnishing your reputation, where a successful grade appeal may have sufficed. Before agreeing to a remediation plan, it is wise to consult with an attorney advisor to explore your options.
If you have been disciplined for failing to meet academic or professional standards, you may appeal the penalties imposed by the MSPPSC.
You will need to submit an appeal in writing to the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, or their designee within five business days of receiving notice of the decision from the MSPPSC.
You will have to provide a justification for the appeal on one of the following grounds:
- failure to receive the minimum requirements of due process
- severity of the penalty
- new material or information that could not be discovered at the time of the MSPPSC hearing or the original determination by the MSPPSC, as the case may be.
If you are appealing against your school's disciplinary action, you most likely have only one last chance to fight for your future. If this is the case, it is wise to take no risk with your school's complex appeals process and hire an attorney-advisor.
When a student is underperforming academically, the university always responds in the first instance by putting them on probation. Students on probation who fail to earn a 2.0 average in their work in a term will be suspended from the university.
Suspended students are eligible to re-enroll after a minimum of one semester. Returning students will be on academic probation. They will have to meet with an academic advisor who will specify the terms of their academic probation and re-enrollment. If after re-enrolling, your GPA slips under a 2.0 once more, you will be dismissed.
A dismissed student may yet still reapply for admission once a year has passed. However, petitioning the school will take time, and there are no certainties. If a previously dismissed student's cumulative GPA falls once again below 2.0, they will be dismissed from the university permanently. The school's limitation's on probation, suspension, and dismissal are set out in the FAU Catalog 2013-2014 and on the school website.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
If your place in medical school is under threat, an experienced attorney-advisor can protect your right to due process and present your best defense. Often, this added support is sufficient to restore your future and good name. Hiring a skilled attorney advisor can help ensure the school follows its due process policies and empowers students to defend themselves effectively.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully helped countless students navigate complex disciplinary and academic proceedings at medical schools all across the country. If you are facing academic challenges or adverse actions from your medical school, don't go it alone. Call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to learn how we can help you today.