With alumni in nearly every US state, Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine (BSOM) offers MD and multiple dual-degree programs for aspiring medical professionals. BSOM is a public university with a highly selective acceptance rate. Graduating students have numerous career opportunities to choose from post-graduation, in addition to ongoing research, community, and educational engagements. Being part of such an institution, however, calls for demonstrating high professional and academic standards. Students who violate these principles face sanctions that delay starting their careers, like suspension and permanent dismissal.
Medical students cannot simply get by on average performance – they must excel at their studies to manage patient care responsibilities when they become doctors. A professional misconduct charge or weak academic performance has severe consequences on student progress. In best-case scenarios, students can fight allegations with the help of an attorney-advisor to decrease the impact of sanctions or dismiss them permanently. In worst-case scenarios, the punishment is disproportionate to the alleged violation. Students risk giving up their careers altogether due to sanction severity, losing time, effort, and money.
Honor Code and Professional Conduct Standards
BSOM expects students to maintain the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. These expectations prepare students for the scenarios they will encounter once they start working with patients. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs reviews all violations of the Medical Student Honor Code.
Cases warranting an investigation receive a review by the Student Promotions Committee or the Dean Council. If honor code violations occur, the Medical Student Honor Council investigates and schedules a hearing. The council includes three BSOM faculty members, four students, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and the chair.
According to BSOM's rationale statement on maintaining standards of professional conduct:
“The heritage of a physician's social conduct emerged from acknowledged community standards dating back to the Oath of Hippocrates. A critical aspect of medical students' professional development is to assign oneself to a life guided by a code of ethics, endorsing a commitment to moral, ethical, and professional fidelity. This honor code [fosters] a culture of personal integrity, collaborative teamwork, and intellectual development during students' quest to become licensed doctors of medicine”.
Medical students at BSOM must recite the honor code pledge at their Convocation and White Coat ceremony. The emphasis on following this code stems from BSOM's commitment to preserving the dignity of the medical field and its reputation as a reputable institution that trains future physicians.
Although most students complete medical school without issue, some may face allegations of professional misconduct, even if the action was a mistake. Without the guidance of an attorney-advisor, students may not know how to fight procedural errors, bias, or disproportionately harsh sanctions.
Remediation Policy at BSOM
BSOM works with students to improve their grades, monitoring progress to ensure they meet or exceed the requirements of their programs. Students receive academic support after an advisor from the Department of Medical Education reviews their performance. The advisor creates a study plan, including time management support, tutoring, and mentorship.
Those who do not meet requirements or who fail due to professional misconduct violations must meet with the Student Promotion Committee. Depending on where students are in the phase of the program, the SPC grants them opportunities to retake specific exams or components.
Students must consider remediation courses if they wish to remain enrolled at BSOM. Despite the apparent inconvenience of repeating components, these courses strengthen student knowledge and keep up with their peers.
Expulsion and Appeals Process
After BSOM conducts a hearing for professional misconduct violations, the council recommends sanctions ranging in severity from a warning to permanent dismissal. Expulsion is the severest form of punishment for students, usually reserved for egregious violations or multiple attempts. Expulsion also makes it more difficult for students to enroll in another program, further delaying graduation and incurring additional expenses.
Medical schools like BSOM hold students to higher standards due to the sensitive natures of their future profession. Expelling students is a last-resort option, and in most cases, students can appeal this decision. However, without the guidance of an attorney advisor, students may fall prey to unfair hearings or biased panel members. A few examples of what issues students may face after expulsion include:
- Admissions obstacles. Admissions officers search for high performers and students with positive behaviors and histories. The highly competitive nature of medical schools makes it difficult for students to find placement as their applications cannot compete with those that are in good standing.
- Career delays. If an expelled student manages readmission into a new school, they must retake courses. The delays extend the time it takes to graduate, leaving some students years behind their peers.
- Increased expenditures. From applying for more student loans to unexpected personal expenses, finances become tight after expulsion. Some students may fall into crippling debt because of the deviation in their plan.
For severe sanctions like permanent dismissal, BSOM grants students the right to appeal this decision. Students must send a written statement to the Student Appeals Committee within seven business days of their receipt of a dismissal recommendation notice.
Along with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the Appeals Committee reviews the case and evidence and offers the student a chance to present their statement. After reaching a decision, the parties send their recommendation to the Dean of Medicine. The Dean makes the final decision and notifies the student.
Consulting an Attorney-Advisor
BSOM considers the hearing process as a non-legal procedure that doesn't necessitate the presence of an attorney. However, students may still consult with an attorney advisor to strengthen their chances of receiving a favorable case outcome.
An attorney advisor like Joseph D. Lento understands how stressful this process is and works with students and their families to fight back against the charges.
Don't let a panel decide your future for you – call the Lento Law Firm for a consultation at 888-535-3686.