Attendance/Absence - Clinical


The goals of the attendance policy are to insure that students have the ability to access medical care when needed and to minimize non-urgent absences from clinical educational activities. Clinical teams expect students to make every effort to attend clinical activities even when there are competing interests or pressures such as exam preparation. This is consistent with the expectations of physicians by their patients. On the other hand, the school acknowledges the legitimate need for student access to important family or personal events along with any required medical care; the latter must be available in a private and confidential manner. The following guidelines seek to balance these requirements:

  • Attendance during clinical rotations is mandatory.
  • Attendance will be tracked by the assigned clinical team.
  • Students should seek permission 8 weeks in advance of any planned absences to facilitate arranging schedules of the clerkship.
  • Permission for an absence for an acute illness or an acute exacerbation of a chronic illness or other unavoidable events such as an acutely ill family member or a death in the family should be requested from the clerkship directors as soon as possible and will routinely be granted.
  • Students who are scheduled for ongoing recurring appointments or who have other ongoing medical issues during a clerkship should inform Carrie Renner, the Associate Director of Student Affairs, of their schedule. Ms. Renner will inform the clerkship directors of the student’s schedule and help accommodate the student’s needs while maintaining students’ privacy.
  • Students should also inform Ms. Renner regarding any acute medical condition so that the Office of Student Affairs can help in securing medical care for students and for coordinating any scheduling issues that may arise.
  • Other examples of possible acceptable reasons to request excused absences include
    • presentation of original research at national meetings for the actual presentation (not for the length of the entire meeting)
    • a family wedding or participation in a wedding party
    • ongoing need for medical care that cannot be arranged at more convenient times
  • Examples of unexcused absences include traveling to spend time with friends or minimizing travel expenses by traveling during rotation time.
  • If travel is appropriate and absence would typically be excused, students still must obtain permission from the appropriate clinical director prior to making travel plans and minimize any absence to as few days as possible.
  • The clerkship director may require the student to make up missed time during the rotation.
  • Absences during one week clerkships are discouraged. Any absences requested during the one week rotations must be approved in advance and made up by agreement with the course director(s) prior to the start of Module 5.
  • Repeated or habitual absences will be brought to the attention of Drs. Goldfarb and Morris, and may result in a meeting before the Student Standards Committee.
  • Any questions as to whether an absence is appropriate or excusable should be sent to Anna Delaney or Carrie Renner for consideration.