Established in 1969 as part of the University of Nevada, the Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) is Nevada's first medical school. UNR MED's mission is to educate well-trained physicians ready to serve local rural populations. With an emphasis on enriching student experiences through community and campus-based projects, the administration expects professional behavior and academic performance befitting their future role as doctors.
Medical students expect to face pressure in medical school that prepares them to work with underserved populations. However, personal circumstances, allegations of academic or professional misconduct, and low performance can destroy their dreams. Instead of training, they must shoulder the burden of proving their innocence and ensuring that harmful sanctions don't delay or destroy their graduation prospects. With an experienced attorney-advisor on their side, medical students have a higher chance of a favorable case outcome regardless of the case details.
Honor Policy and Ethical Expectations
Matriculated students at UNR Med must abide by the honor pledge that lists ethical expectations the administration has for its students. The Code of Professional Conduct includes expectations of academic honesty and possible sanctions reserved for violators. According to the Student Code of Conduct:
“This community is dedicated to academic excellence, as students become involved in academic pursuits, life-long learning, and personal development. Therefore, the University promotes civility, respect, and integrity among all community members, with every student expected to exhibit high standards of behavior”.
The Office of Student Conduct manages the investigation and the resolution process for ethical or behavioral infarctions. Fortunately, the administration allows students to work with an advisor. The Hearing Officer or Board also has an advisor or attorney present. The presence of a professional during this process is crucial to increase the odds of a favorable case outcome, especially when a significant infarction or unsatisfactory performance may lead to permanent dismissal from campus.
Academic Performance and Remediation
Even if a medical student demonstrates impeccable professional conduct, mastery of course material is a must in medical schools. Struggling students have options to remedy their faltering grades, but they come with a price, such as remediation. Besides the additional time and hassle it takes to complete remediation courses, they may incur reputation damage that extends beyond medical school. Medical students may not know the options they have and accept any decision the administration makes. A professional advisor helps guide them through this process and explores all possible routes before making a decision.
UNR Med does offer a grade appeal policy that addresses student concerns if they disagree with a final block, clerkship, elective, or final grade they receive. However, the student must prove that (1) a clerical error occurred, (2) the result included factors other than the student's performance, or (3) that the professor held the student to a higher standard than their peers to receive a review. Having an attorney advisor work with students to craft an appeal decreases the likelihood of receiving an unfair grade or sanction for academic issues.
Effects of Permanent Dismissal
Permanent dismissal is the most damaging event that can happen to a medical student, regardless of whether the reason is due to academic issues or professionalism concerns. Students cannot simply pick up where they left off and, in some cases, may need to abandon their dreams altogether. Although college administrations reserve this sanction for severe or repeated violations, they are not immune to mistakes. Some of the issues that expelled medical students face include:
- A notice of expulsion that stays on their permanent record
- Reputation damage that can extend to their future career or another medical program
- Difficulty finding placement in another reputable medical school due to stringent admissions requirements
- Lack of confidence and loss of morale, preventing them from seeking a medical career
- Loss of time and effort since the student must start over in a new program
- Possible travel out of the country if they cannot find a medical school that accepts them in the US
- Heavy financial burdens due to unexpected expenses
- Loss of scholarships and financial aid
Medical schools do not decide to expel a student overnight; however, lapses in judgment do happen. It is not unusual for medical schools to overlook critical evidence, not give students due process, or treat a student with bias. An attorney advisor understands these issues and works with students to decrease the likelihood of a permanent dismissal due to unfair treatment.
Grade and Misconduct Appeals
Students should take advantage of the appeals policy to ensure that they take every step possible to avoid an unreasonable sanction. Students who face academic issues can appeal a grade to the Associate Deans for Medical Education and Admissions and Student Affairs. As for students facing sanctions by the Student Progress Committee for non-academic issues, they may appeal the panel's recommendation to the Dean of UNR Med.
Some students only seek the assistance of an advisor after a committee makes a sanctions decision. Although an appeal is not a guarantee that the Dean will change the outcome of a case, a well-crafted one significantly increases the likelihood of its occurrence.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
Medical students work hard for their degrees and spend countless hours training to become medical professionals. Personal circumstances, misleading information, and unfair allegations derail their dreams and cause graduation delays or permanent dismissal. With the help of an attorney advisor, students have a shoulder to rely on during this stressful time ad a better chance for a favorable case outcome.
Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento tirelessly works with students to help them achieve justice for unfair allegations. With years of experience working with medical students facing allegations of academic /professional misconduct and performance issues, Mr. Lento is by your side and will help temper the gravity of the allegations.
Don't let your dream of becoming a doctor come crashing down due to academic or professional issues. Call Lento Law Firm today for a discreet consultation at 888-535-3686.