Established in 2006, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF Med) is a research-centric institution with five biomedical and medical programs. The college recently added a state-of-the-art medical evaluation facility to its Lake Nona campus, as well as a new biomedical sciences building for its 3,000+ graduate and undergraduate students. UCF Med prizes and fosters an environment of integrity, professionalism, sound judgment, and respect. Students who want to become doctors must demonstrate behavior that falls within the framework of these core values. Any deviation, whether intentionally or by mistake, jeopardizes a student's degree and may result in permanent dismissal.
Medical school pressures extend beyond the extensive course load, especially when personal issues start taking a toll on student behavior. Professional violations, misconduct allegations, or poor academic performance hinder a student's progress. Although all medical schools maintain that their investigation process is fair, mistakes happen, and students pay the ultimate price. The additional stress of navigating a hearing or taking on remediations places students at a disadvantage. An attorney-advisor who understands what's at stake helps students fight damaging allegations.
UCF Med wishes to position itself as one of the top medical schools in the nation. As a result, it enforces strict standards to maintain a level playing field for all its students. UCF Med appoints a Student Professional Conduct Council (SPCC) to demonstrate and oversee the values of the M.D. Program Honor Code. The Code contains professional conduct guidelines, procedures implemented once a violation happens, and describes the hearing process's steps. Upon matriculation, students must pledge to uphold UCF Med's core values, including the belief that:
“The practice of medicine is a great privilege and carries with it a time-honored responsibility to our patients and our profession. The students of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine MD program uphold this Code as our pledge to ourselves and our medical community that we understand the significance of our commitment. These standards should guide us not only during our medical training, but also during our lives as physicians, researchers, and community leaders”.
Although maintaining professional conduct and ethical behavioral standards are the building blocks of a medical profession, not all allegations are accurate. Even with a panel investigation, critical evidence may not receive a fair review. Moreover, the sanctions recommended could be disproportionate to the charge. An attorney-advisor identifies when mistreatment or unfair hearing threatens a case's outcome and decreases the likelihood of discriminatory treatment.
Medical students at UCF Med must maintain consistent academic progress and performance that meet's the institution's standards. Due to the high number of students enrolled at the college, UCF Med established the Student Evaluation and Promotion Committee. The committee makes recommendations regarding student performance, remediation needs, and dismissal actions. Students that complete their remediation plan successfully proceed on to the next stage of their education. Although it is a hassle to complete remediation courses, they ensure that students meet the standards needed to become future doctors. Most importantly, they may be the only way students can stay in medical school without repeating an academic year or seeking a new program.
Permanent dismissal is one of the most severe sanctions students could face after an academic, professional, or behavioral misconduct violation. A penalty reserved for severe incidents or multiple infarctions, expulsion places a student's dreams of becoming a doctor on hold temporarily – or even permanently. Some of the issues expelled medical students face include:
- Note of expulsion on their transcript. Students with a permanent discharge from UCF Med could have the incident noted on their permanent record. Such incidents decrease the likelihood of receiving grants, financial aid, scholarships, and other benefits if students decide to enroll in another program.
- Difficulty re-enrolling in another program. The best medical programs in the U.S. have low acceptance rates and stringent behavioral and academic standards. Permanent dismissal from UCF Med may cause admissions officers to reject a student's application in favor of other students in good standing.
- Delays in academic progress. Becoming a doctor is a lengthy process that takes years of study and specialization training. Once students receive a permanent dismissal, they must look for a new program that requires them to start from the beginning.
- Significant financial burdens. If students decide to start over with another program, they may need to take on additional student loans. With the high costs of medical school and daily living expenses, students soon become overwhelmed with debt, and it may take years to pay off.
A hearing's decision is not final unless a student agrees with sanctions. Students who disagree with a hearing panel's results can appeal sanctions by writing to the Associate Dean for Students. New evidence or procedural error concerns are some of the requirements for an appeal to go through, as merely disagreeing with the panel's decision is not grounds for appeals. Approved applications receive a review by an ad hoc committee chosen by the Dean of the College of Medicine. The Dean makes the final decision regarding the matter after receiving the recommendations of the committee. An attorney-advisor helps students draft an appropriate appeal letter and identifies valuable information that could tip the scale in the student's favor.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical school students face multiple challenges in their educational path and personal lives that affect their progress and behavior. However, even honest mistakes or baseless allegations become significant problems. Students face harsh sanctions that harm their chances of graduating on time.
If you face allegations of professional or behavioral violations at UCF Med, an advisor's help boosts your chances of a favorable outcome. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience helping students fight harmful allegations and unfair investigation practices. Attorney-advisor Lento drafts a review statement that can significantly reduce the negative impact of sanctions and prevent them from affecting your graduation prospects.
It takes years to become a doctor, but only one incident places a student's goal of graduating on hold. Call the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 for professional help fighting against misconduct allegations.