Required Clerkships and Electives
The purpose of this policy is to inform students how to navigate schedule requests, unexpected absences, and avoid unapproved absences during their Advanced Doctoring year. Faculty aims to ensure high-quality learning experiences with the least amount of disruption while supporting students in their personal and professional development. The clerkship/elective director or designee individually handles pre-approved absences and schedule requests.
- Requests received 30 days prior to THE START of the rotation can be most effectively approved and accommodated within their schedule.
- Requests received less than 30 days prior to the START of the rotation will require review by the director or designee to assess whether they can be accommodated within their schedule.
All absences, pre-approved or unexpected, count towards the maximum allowed per rotation. If a student exceeds the allowed absences, the student will need to work with the director or designee to determine to make up clinical time or alternative learning activities to be completed. Maximum absences:
- 2 days within a 4-week clerkship/elective
- 1 day within a 2-week clerkship/elective
The first level of appeal of an absence request determination is to the department chair of the clerkship/elective being requested for an absence. The appeal must be submitted in writing and received within seven (7) business days of the absence determination. In the event of a conflict of interest, the chair shall appoint their vice chair or designee to respond to the appeal. If evidence presented warrants a change in absence status, the chair will inform the student and the clerkship/elective director and coordinator of the change; if no change, the chair will inform the student in writing that the absence determination stands. The final level of appeal for absence requests is to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. The appeal must be submitted in writing and received within seven (7) business days of the chair’s decision. In the event of a conflict of interest, the final level of appeal is to the Dean. After reviewing all relevant information, the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will notify the student and clerkship/elective director and coordinator of the decision; the decision is final.
As members of the health care team, clinical students are not guaranteed time off for holidays. Students are allotted time off for Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Martin Luther King Day. Clinical students also have a winter break which includes Christmas and New Year's. For other official holidays, clinical students should follow the holiday schedule of their assigned clinical site unless specifically instructed otherwise by their clerkship/elective director.
Observation of religious holidays should be requested utilizing the same manner and timeline as other types of absences. These absences will not count towards a student’s allowable absences. Please refer to the BSOM Religious Observance Policy for additional information.
Personal Health Appointments
- Routine physical and mental health appointments are a key component to maintaining wellness and fitness for duty. Students are encouraged to schedule such visits as late in the day as possible to minimize disruption in their clinical duties.
- Students are encouraged to reach out ahead of time, when possible, to seek guidance from the clerkship coordinator / elective director or designee on overall scheduling specifics unique to their clerkship/elective to assist students in finding appropriate times for needed appointments.
- Directors/coordinators or designees need to be informed of such schedule adjustments ahead of time, and when requiring 2 hours or less of time away from clinical duties, personal health appointments will not be included in the allotted absences. This is dependent on the student maintaining clear, prompt, and professional communication with the clerkship coordinator / elective director or designee.
Absences from clerkship/elective due to illness or family emergencies should be handled directly with the director and coordinator depending on the situation and days needed. In the event of an unexpected absence such as an illness, students are responsible for notifying their preceptor and the specific clerkship/elective office immediately. Absence form submission can be completed once a student is feeling well enough to document and submit.
A student who cannot take an examination, complete an assignment, or attend a required clinical responsibility because of illness or exceptional circumstances, must present the reason, with supporting documentation, to the director:
- If the absence is health-related and more than the allotted days, students should obtain a written statement from their physician.
- If the absence is more than the allotted days for other reasons besides health-related, the student should meet to discuss the situation with the director or designee.
Students are required to arrange for makeup of the missed examination or activity as soon as possible at the discretion of the director. In instances of an extended delay, students may be required to drop the remainder of the clerkship or elective and reschedule for a future rotation. Clerkships and Electives are rescheduled on the basis of availability.
Exact site assignments and call schedules may not be confirmed until the first day of the rotation. However, the clerkship coordinator / elective director or designee can communicate with students ahead of time to review overall schedule options for students who have specific scheduling questions.
- Students are encouraged to plan ahead and communicate with directors and coordinators. Questions regarding call schedules/shift assignments can be addressed ahead of time when students have pre-scheduled life and/or professional events needing protected “off duty” time.
- If the student is requesting “off duty” time away from core clerkship/elective duties and there is no alternative schedule available, an absence can be approved and recorded.
- If the student is seeking protected “off duty” time (for example on a weekend or a night call shift) and the director, coordinator or designee can find an alternative schedule that allows for this “off duty” time, it will not be recorded as an absence.
Students attending a professional conference as an officer, BSOM AAMC representative, or to present scholarly work must follow submission protocol as outlined above and provide the director or designee with appropriate supporting documentation for an excused absence to be considered and approved. These absences do count towards the total allotted.
Students who are BSOM committee members should alert their director, coordinator, and clinical preceptors about upcoming scheduled meetings to ensure and verify attendance approval. Attendance will not be counted toward absence when appropriate communication has been followed. DME/OSAA can provide verification of committee duties and dates upon request.
Students who are elected officers for national student organizations will meet with the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions at the beginning of their term to discuss and verify any mandatory meetings. Clerkship/elective director will be notified in writing of any dates that are not to be counted against the student’s allowable absence days. Any subsequent meeting attendance that falls outside of these initial agreements, if excused, will be counted against their pool of allowed absences.
Students are required to arrange for the makeup of any missed examination or activity as soon as possible at the discretion of the director.
An unexcused absence is seen as a lapse of professionalism and may be noted in the course student evaluation. Students missing graded activities due to an unexcused absence could result in a grade of zero without the options for the make-up of that activity.
Approved by FCC on 2/23/22
Approved by FCC on 2/22/23