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COM Absence Policy - Medical Students 

Medical Students (M.D.)

Policy ID Number: N/A

Policy Title: Absence Policy –Medical Students

Classification: University

Approval Authority: COM Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

Responsible Entity: COM Undergraduate Medical Education

Policy Owner: COM Planning and Evaluation Committees and Clinical Science Planning and Evaluation Committee

 

I. Policy Statement

This policy outlines allowable absences during both preclerkship and clinical courses for medical students as well as the process by which absences are requested, approved, and tracked.

II. Scope

College of Medicine students in the MD degree program are expected to comply with this policy. 

III. Approval Authority

The Planning and Evaluation Committees for the preclerkship phase and Clinical Science Planning and Evaluation Committee for the clinical phase will oversee periodic updates to this policy. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has full and final authority for policy approval.

IV. Purpose of This Policy

Student attendance (both physically and mentally) is expected at all times deemed appropriate by course directors, clerkship directors, and supervising physicians. Educational experiences (e.g., classes, small groups, rounds, conferences, clinics, presentations, etc.) are not considered “optional” unless clearly stated. Students should strive to minimize absences. When a student must miss a required activity, the following guidelines are used. The Dean’s office centrally tracks absences and students who have frequent absences will be asked to meet with the Office of Student Affairs.

V. Who Should Be Knowledgeable about This Policy

COM students, residents, fellows, faculty, course directors, course coordinators.

VI. The Policy

Years 1 and 2

Emergency (Unplanned) Excused Absences:

For an emergency excused absence, the student must contact either the Curricular Dean 2-2906 or (hot link) hazenmad@musc.edu, Student Affairs Dean 2-1672 or (hotlink) haneymk@musc.edu to obtain approval in addition to completing the COM Absence Request Form in E*Value on the first day of the student’s return to classes.

Students may be granted emergency excused absences under the following circumstances:

• Death or serious illness of a close family member (i.e., grandparents, parents, spouse, children, siblings).
• Personal medical conditions. A doctor's excuse is needed if the student is away for 2 days or longer.

Planned Excused Absences:

For a planned excused absence, the student must request permission to be absent by completing the COM Absence Request Form in E*Value at least one week in advance of the start of the Block in which the absence would occur. The student must be in good academic standing at the time of the request. Completion of the COM Absence Request Form may require supporting documentation which is uploaded to the form. 

This form will be routed to the appropriate Preclerkship Faculty Director and will be considered in consultation with Theme Leaders. Submission of this request does not automatically guarantee approval. Your leave request is not approved until you receive email confirmation from the Preclerkship Faculty Director. 

Planned excused absences are not permitted on the first and last day of any Block, or during examination days, except under unusual circumstances which may be discussed with the Preclerkship Faculty Director. Students may be granted planned excused absences under the following circumstances and/or conditions:

• The student is making an academic presentation at a regional or national conference. 
• Significant life events that involve a close family member, such as wedding or graduation.
• Jury Duty
• Personal medical conditions. A doctor's excuse is needed if the student is away for 2 days or longer.

Time away from class must be minimal and, preferably no more than 2 days.

Policy Regarding Examination Absences:

All students are to take examinations on the scheduled dates. Missing an examination will result in a grade of "0" (zero), unless exceptional circumstances justify that the student may take the examination on a different date. The Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and/or Associate Deans for Curriculum will make the decision concerning examination retaking or makeup for students. Any requests for permission to take an exam at a time other than on the regularly scheduled date based on health reasons, a death in the family or other significant problems must be made in writing with appropriate supporting documentation.

Years 3 and 4

Emergency (Unplanned) Excused Absences:

In case of an emergency, the student must contact the course/clerkship director and coordinator as soon as possible in addition to completing the COM Absence Request Form in E*Value on the first day of the student’s return to rotation. Students may be granted emergency excused absences under the following circumstances:

• Death or serious illness of a close family member (i.e., grandparents, parents, spouse, children, siblings).
• Personal medical conditions. A doctor's excuse is needed if the student is away for 2 days or longer.

Planned Excused Absences:

For a planned excused absence of more than 2 hours, the student must first complete the COM Absence Request Form in E*Value at least 6 weeks in advance to obtain initial approval. Absences of 2 hours or less only require email approval by the course coordinator/director. Completion of the Absence Request Form may require supporting documentation which is uploaded to the form. This form will be routed to the appropriate course/clerkship coordinator. Submission of this request does not automatically guarantee approval. Your leave request is not approved until you receive email confirmation from the Course Director/ Course Coordinator. Due to the number of courses in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery, absences will be approved centrally by the Clerkship Director(s).

Planned excused absences are not permitted on specific first and last days of a required clerkship or course due to orientation and exam scheduling. Extenuating circumstances may be discussed with the course director. Students may be granted planned excused absences under the following circumstances:

• The student is making an academic presentation at a regional or national conference.
• Significant life events occur that involve a close family member, such as wedding or graduation.
• Jury Duty
• USMLE Examination
• Residency Interview
• Personal medical conditions
• Post-match residency-related activities (ex. housing search)

The maximum number of patient care days a student may miss varies by type of rotation and is outlined below. Students are encouraged to schedule residency interviews during protected time during 4th year. Any additional days for interviews may be approved during 4th year courses at the discretion of the course director.

 

# Absent Patient Care Days Permitted (maximum)

Required Clerkship:      2 days
2 week selective:       1 day
Required externship in 4th year: 2 days
4 week elective in 4th year:       4 days
2 week elective in 4th year:       2 days
Critical Care Elective 4th year:    *see below

*For the mandatory Critical Care Elective, students must work 20 shifts.

 

Procedures for Make-Up of Clinical Education Time:

Any missed time (emergency absence, planned excused absence, or unexcused absence) must be made up with additional clinical work/didactics at the discretion of the course director. Make up of rotation time should minimally disrupt the educational experience. The dates for the make-up of rotation time are at the discretion of the course director.

When a student is approved to miss more than 4 days of patient care during any rotation, a make-up plan is requiredThe plan must be approved by the course director and must be submitted to the course coordinator using the COM Absence Request Form to allow central tracking. Due to the number of courses in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery, plans for make-up of clinical time will be approved centrally by the Clerkship Director(s).

 

Requirements for Make-Up of Clinical Education Time Table

The student’s transcript will reflect a designation of “incomplete” until the approved make-up work is completed. All course work must be complete in order to graduate. 

 

VII. Special situations

Audits will occur in the case of excessive absences.

VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance

In the case of an unexcused absence, Year Directors, Theme Leaders, or Course Directors will submit a physicianship form to the Office of Student Affairs. 

IX. Related Information

N/A

X. Communication Plan

Students enrolled in COM courses will be educated about this policy at their orientation to the preclerkship and clinical years as well as any time a substantial update occurs. All faculty are asked to review key policies related to education on an annual basis. Course directors will be notified annually via email to review the policy and more often if substantial changes are adopted.

XI. Definitions

N/A

XII. Review Cycle

Every 2 years or sooner if indicated by program changes.

XIII. Approval History

List original approval date and subsequent review dates.

Approval Authority  Date Approved

Undergraduate Curriculum Committee  July 20, 2012
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee  November 18, 2016
Clinical Sciences Planning and Evaluation Committee  March 14, 2018
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee  April 6, 2018
Clinical Sciences Planning and Evaluation Committee  January 9, 2019
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee  January 18, 2019

XIV. Approval Signature

January 18, 2019

Donna Kern, MD (Signature)  Date
Title: Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education