2017-18 MD Handbook

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Overview

Objectives of Undergraduate Medical Education Expand answer

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine School Objectives

Common taxonomy of competencies from AAMC [1 – 8].

  1. Patient Care: Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the promotion of health and treatment of health problems
  2. Knowledge for Practice: Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and healthcare delivery sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care
  3. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one’s care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care
  4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals’
  5. Professionalism: Demonstrate a commitment to behaving in a professional manner and adhering to ethical principles
  6. Systems-Based Practice: Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care
  7. Interprofessional Collaboration: Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care
  8. Personal and Professional Development: Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth
  9. Medical Humanities: Demonstrate respect for the diverse values, beliefs and practices one encounters in the field of healthcare, while embodying a commitment to becoming an ethical, reflective, curious, humble, informed, and compassionate physician
  10. Critical thinking: Apply higher-order cognitive skills and deliberate thinking that leads to action that is context appropriate

Approvals:

Curriculum Evaluation Committee (CEC): 8/21/15

Presented to the following committees for Comment:
Course Directors 8/12/15
Curriculum Management Committee (CMC) 8/14/15
CUMED Phase I 10/5/15
CUMED Phase II-IV 10/1/15
CUMED Oversight 10/26/15
Clerkship Directors

Hershey Contact List Expand answer
University Park Contact List Expand answer

General Policies

Academic Integrity Policy Expand answer

Academic Integrity at Penn State is defined by Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 as “the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner.”

The University Code of Conduct states, “all students should act with personal integrity; respect other students’ dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.”

Academic dishonesty (including, but not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or falsification of information) will not be tolerated and can result in academic or disciplinary sanctions such as a failing grade (F) in the course.

See the Academic Integrity Policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Academic Progress Committee Expand answer

Students in the College of Medicine have been carefully selected for the demands of medical study. However, some students, no matter how qualified, may experience difficulty in meeting the requirements of certain courses of study. If such difficulties arise, the matter is initially one of concern only to the student and the department or course director involved. A student who fails a course will be notified immediately by the department or course director. If a final course grade of Fail is transmitted to the Office of Medical Education, this grade will be considered by the Academic Progress Committee in relation to the student’s overall performance.

APC Responsibilities Phase I

The Academic Progress Committee (APC) Phase I is responsible for the preclerkship portion of the curriculum and is composed of the basic science department chairs (voting members), and the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Assessment and Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex officio, nonvoting members). The chair of this committee is elected by the committee.

The Academic Progress Committee acting for the entire faculty regularly evaluates and comprehensively reviews student performance. The APC meets at the conclusion of each semester, although other meetings may be called. The Committee concentrates on those students who have shown academic and or professional behavior deficiencies. This review is detailed and includes an evaluation of performance in all courses. It is expected that a student will pass all required courses in Phase I before entering Phases II – IV.

The Associate Dean for Medical Education may request that the Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education (CUMED) investigate any course where there are a disproportionate number of students failing the course.

APC Responsibilities Phases II-IV

The Academic Progress Committee Phases II – IV is responsible for students during their clerkship rotations as well as in their advanced course requirements and electives, and is composed of the clinical department chairs from core clerkships (voting members), and Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Assessment and Associate Dean for Medical Education (ex officio, nonvoting members). The chair of this committee is elected by the committee.

The APC Phases II – IV regularly evaluates and comprehensively reviews student performance during Phases II – IV of medical school. (i.e. the required clerkships, advanced course requirements and electives).

The Associate Dean for Medical Education may request that the Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education (CUMED) investigate any clerkship or elective where there are a disproportionate number of students failing the course.

Process for Deficiencies

  1. Students who receive a grade of “does not meet expectations” or who in a continuing course, i.e., a course that is given over several semesters, are doing work below expectations at the end of a particular academic period will be immediately notified by the department or course director concerned. The grade of “does not meet expectations” will also be transmitted to the Office of Student Affairs. The student will receive a deferred grade until a final grade is determined.
  2. Phase I: Students who earn a final exam grade of “does not meet expectations” are placed on academic probation, a status that indicates to both the student and the faculty that the student’s performance has not met the academic standards of the College of Medicine. Students who are performing below expectations in a continuing course will be urged to obtain appropriate assistance and take necessary steps to overcome the academic deficiencies. Such a student may also be placed on academic probation. If a student earns a grade of “does not meet expectations” in one course only, his/her performance will be discussed with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Chair of the APC. The student will then be notified if he/she is permitted to remediate the course or meet with the APC. Any subsequent “does not meet expectations” grades, either in a block or in a continuing course, may be cause for the recommendation from the APC for dismissal from the College of Medicine for academic reasons.

    Phases II – IV
    : Students who fail a required clerkship or elective will be required to meet with the APC to review their academic records and reasons for earning failing grades.
  3. Students who receive two documented incidences of unprofessional behaviors or an egregious professional behavior violation as interpreted by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will meet with the Academic Progress Committee.
  4. A student whose performance is being reviewed by the APC will be asked to appear before the Committee together with his or her advisor. The student is encouraged to bring his/her advisor. It is the student’s responsibility to review his/her status with the advisor prior to the meeting. Course or clerkship directors may be invited at the discretion of the APC.
  5. The student will receive at least five-calendar days’ notice prior to the meeting with the APC. The student must meet with the Committee at the date, time, and location specified by the Office of Medical Education. Attendance is mandatory; exceptions will not be made.
  6. The Committee’s purpose in meeting with the student is to hear the student’s view of his or her past performance and present situation. After hearing from the student, the committee will make a determination on a specific course of action for the student. In each case, a student’s entire situation, past and present, will be reviewed by the APC, including the margins by which the student has failed or passed courses, the particular courses that he or she has failed, the student’s personal situation, professional behavior, and other relevant considerations. The above are guidelines and not rules. The Committee will exercise its best judgment in each individual case.

Recommendations for Action, Other than Suspension or Dismissal

Recommendations for action, other than suspension or dismissal, on a student’s academic or professional behavior deficiency are communicated to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs (or designate) who will discuss the decision with the student.

The student may request a further review of the decision by the APC by submitting a written request to the Chairperson of the APC.

  1. The student can appeal in writing, to the Chairperson of the APC, within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. The correspondence must indicate why the student feels he/she should not adhere to the action(s) recommended by the Committee.
  2. The Committee may choose to meet with the student to listen to the appeal.
  3. The Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will send out a follow-up letter notifying the student of the Committee’s final decision.

Following further review by the APC, a student may appeal the decision to the Dean of the College of Medicine.

Recommendations for Suspension or Dismissal

  1. In the event that the APC recommends suspension or dismissal of a student from the College of Medicine, a written notice of this recommendation will be submitted to the Dean and the student. The Dean of the College of Medicine has the ultimate authority for separation of the student from the College of Medicine. The Dean will review all material relevant to the matter, and may meet with the student and or faculty. The Dean will notify the student of the final decision.
  2. The probability of dismissal increases with the number and seriousness of course failures and or professional behavior lapses. A student who “does not meet expectations” for one course or who has professional behavior lapses while on probation is at risk for dismissal.
  3. A student who does not pass (either fails or is allowed to drop) as many as three required courses/clerkships in the same year is at major risk for dismissal. A failure in as many as four required courses makes dismissal probable.
  4. A student who earns a failing performance in the same course/clerkship twice should expect dismissal. A student taking an approved course over the summer will be regarded as retaking “the same course.” Continued failures in successive courses or over several semesters also increase the likelihood of recommendation for dismissal. In each case, a student’s entire situation, past as well as present, will be reviewed by the APC, including the margins by which the student has failed or passed courses, the particular courses that he or she has failed, the student’s personal situation, and other relevant considerations. The above are guidelines and not rules. The Committee will exercise its best judgment in each individual case.

Student Appeals Process for Recommendations of Suspension or Dismissal

In the event that the APC recommends suspension or dismissal of a student from the College of Medicine, a written notice of this recommendation will be submitted to the Dean and the student. The Dean of the College of Medicine has the ultimate authority for separation of the student from the College of Medicine.

  1. 1. The student may appeal the APC’s recommendation. He/she must do so in writing to the Dean within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the Committee’s decision.
  2. The student must write a letter to the Dean stating why he/she should not be dismissed.
  3. The Dean may choose to meet with the student to listen to the appeal.
  4. The Dean will send out a follow-up letter notifying the student of the final decision.

Standards of Professional Behavior

When a student displays professional behaviors considered unacceptable by the College of Medicine for effective interactions with others, for patient care and/or for maintaining public confidence in the medical profession, his/her professional behavior will be reviewed by the APC. The College of Medicine expects adherence to standards of professional conduct in addition to course work performance. Failure to maintain such standards will be considered by the APC when making decisions concerning students.

See the Academic Progress Committee policy in the policy management tool (ePass login required).

Confidentiality Agreement Expand answer

The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine (“MSHMC/COM”) are critically dependent upon information and information systems to fulfill the organization’s missions. Patients, students, Business Associates and workforce members expect that reasonable and prudent measures will be taken to safeguard information entrusted to MSHMC/COM.

Federal and Pennsylvania state laws and standards regulate the use and disposal of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) and certain other information. I understand I am permitted access to MSHMC/COM information only to the extent required to perform my specific duties and responsibilities and authorized activities. I further understand that reading, discussing, copying, and/or otherwise using or disclosing MSHMC/COM information for other than legitimate MSHMC/COM purposes is prohibited. I acknowledge that failure to comply with any of the information in this document may result in disciplinary action and/or legal action. I acknowledge that MSHMC/COM uses the following broad classifications of information to help individuals understand their role in safeguarding valued information:

PHI is defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information legislation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Information that is created or received by MSHMC/COM and concerns an individual’s past, present or future medical condition is PHI. PHI must only be accessed by authorized personnel; this classification includes PHI stored or transmitted in electronic formats. Confidential Business Information is sensitive information necessary to perform certain job functions or MSHMC/COM operations; this information must only be accessed and used by authorized personnel. Examples include: compensation data, contracts, employee evaluations, individuals’ social security numbers, passwords, strategic agreements.

Other Non-Public/Internal Information is certain internal information intended for use and distribution only within MSHMC/COM and in some cases, with Business Associates (e.g. legal advisors, consultants, vendors, etc.). Unauthorized disclosure of this information to external parties may create problems for MSHMC/COM, customers or Business Associates. Examples of this type of information include: information available through the MSHMC/COM Infonet such as internal directories, policies and disaster plans.

For direction pertaining to Protected Health Information, contact the Privacy Office (“PO”); for directions pertaining to Sensitive information other than PHI contact the Information Protection and Compliance Officer (“IPCO”). For questions relating to MSHMC/COM Information Technology (“IT”) Department-managed devices, for current technical standards for personal devices intended to be utilized in conjunction with MSHMC/COM systems and cyber security concerns contact the IT Technical Support Center at 717-531-6281.

See the Confidentiality Agreement in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Criminal Background Checks Clearance Requirement Expand answer

Rationale

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recommended that medical schools conduct criminal background checks on their students entering their clinical years.

The following outlines the rationale for performing Criminal Background Checks:

  • To bolster the public’s continuing trust in the medical profession.
  • To enhance the safety and well-being of patients.
  • To ascertain the ability of accepted applicants and enrolled medical students to eventually become
    licensed as physicians.
  • To minimize the liability of medical schools and their affiliated clinical facilities

In order to conform with the AAMC recommendations and existing hospital requirements, we have decided to require Criminal Background checks (CBC) for our accepted students, as well as our students entering their clinical years. Therefore, we are requiring our incoming students to get criminal background checks by Sept. 1 of their first year and our rising third-year medical students to get criminal background checks by April 1 before starting their clinical rotations.

The following three clearances need to be obtained:

  • Pennsylvania Criminal History (PATCH)
  • Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Federal Criminal History/Fingerprinting via Cogent

Certiphi Screening Inc., will be managing this requirement for the medical students.

See the criminal background check policy in the policy management system here (ePass login required).

Culture of Respect in Education - C.O.R.E. Expand answer

Penn State College of Medicine is committed to assuring a safe, encouraging, and supportive learning environment that reflects our commitments to professionalism, respect, appreciation of diversity, and virtues such as honesty, integrity, compassion, and kindness.

Our Culture of Respect in Education (C.O.R.E.) Policy upholds and affirms this commitment.

Read about the C.O.R.E. policy here.

Delinquent Accounts Expand answer

The registration process is initiated when a student consents to do University Business Electronically. This agreement allows you to accept your financial aid, enroll for classes, and pay your bill through the new student system. Once you have consented within LionPATH to the terms and conditions set forth in this document and the Financial Responsibility Agreement (see below), you will then be eligible to enroll in classes. Your consent expires annually and will need to be renewed yearly.

The second agreement to which you must consent within LionPATH is the Financial Responsibility Agreement (FRA). The FRA is a promise to take financial responsibility for payment of your account. Once you have consented within LionPATH to the terms and conditions set forth in this agreement and the Consent to Do Business Electronically document, you will then be eligible to enroll in classes. The FRA is required to be completed every semester.

Students enrolling at the Penn State College of Medicine are responsible for full payment of tuition and fees. A student who is delinquent on payment of tuition or outstanding bills owed to the University past the due date will have a hold placed on their account. The University reserves the right to cancel an incomplete registration for failure to pay tuition and fees. If registration is cancelled the student will not be covered by The Pennsylvania State University professional liability insurance.

To complete registration, the student must take the following steps:

  1. Login to LionPATH and consent to do University Business Electronically.
  2. Agree to the Financial Responsibility Agreement.
  3. Enroll in a minimum of one class.
  4. Take action on his/her tuition bill (eBill) before the due date, even if the balance is zero

Students who do not take action on their tuition bills may experience several consequences of delinquent tuition payments that include but are not limited to:

  • You will not receive grades for courses attended.
  • You will be ineligible to register for future semesters.
  • If you are receiving student loans, you may enter repayment status with your lender.
  • If you are receiving student aid, some aid sources may be canceled.
  • The University reserves the right to cancel an incomplete registration for failure to pay tuition and fees.

Following sufficient payment, the hold will be removed.

The student will be notified by the Senior Director for Educational Affairs when attendance to courses is no longer allowed until the student’s payment obligation is met.

See the delinquent accounts policy in the policy management system here. (ePass login required)

Disability Services Expand answer

Penn State College of Medicine is committed to diversity and inclusion and, out of that commitment, supports the success of students with disabilities in all aspects of the University’s educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic accommodation in this course, please contact the College of Medicine’s disability services coordinator through the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at disabilityservices@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-0003, ext. 283693.

The disability services coordinator will share with you the documentation guidelines to be considered for academic accommodation.

If the documentation you provide supports the need for accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), the disability services coordinator will provide you a letter identifying appropriate accommodation(s), and work directly with you and your instructors to implement approved accommodations in the classroom, laboratory, clinical, and/or examination settings.

See information on student disability services at Penn State College of Medicine here.

See information on student disability services at Penn State University here.

Educator Code of Conduct Expand answer

The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine are dedicated to developing and maintaining a strong commitment to ethical teaching practices at all levels of the education process. The foundation for this Educator’s Code of Conduct is provided by the Penn State University Graduate School Statement on Teaching Ethics. The development of this Graduate School statement was based on a special issue of the journal, New Directions for Teaching and Learning. In this special issue, entitled Ethical Dimensions of College and University Teaching: Understanding and Honoring the Special Relationship between Teachers and Students, several authors provided theoretical and practical guidelines for honing ethical college teaching skills. Some of the authors’ recommendations have been used to formulate the Educator’s Code of Conduct provided herein. Some of these recommendations were modified to specifically fit the needs of both educators and students at the Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State College of Medicine. Both the Unified Campus Commitment to Excellence of the Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine (1) and the Code of Ethical Behavior of the Hershey Medical Center, Policy A-20 HAM were also consulted in preparing this Educator’s Code of Conduct.

Four Norms to Govern Teaching

  1. Honesty
    Honesty and integrity must be practiced during all aspects of the education process.
  2. Promise-Keeping
    Promise keeping requires the educator to fulfill the “promises” made at the beginning of the semester or any other learning activity. Syllabi, assignments, grading principles, and class and office hour schedules each involve promises that are made to students and that must be adhered to under normal circumstances.
  3. Respect for Persons
    The educator must approach the learner with personal respect. In addition, the educator ought to encourage mutual respect among students. In particular, respect for race, religion, sexual orientation, disability gender, age, marital status, cultural differences, and political conviction should be supported and encouraged in all aspects of the educational process. Additionally, educators ought to show respect and common courtesy for students both during interpersonal interactions and in responding promptly to students’ need for guidance and feedback. An environment free from harassment and discrimination, verbal abuse, physical violence, and intimidation in any form must also be provided for all learning activities.
  4. Fairness
    Recognizing the inherent subjectivity involved in grading, an educator ought to ensure that their grading practices are as objective as possible by creating and adhering to unambiguous criteria.

Principles of Ethical College and University Teaching

  • Content Competence
    An educator maintains a high level of subject matter knowledge and ensures that the content of the educational experience is current, accurate, representative, and appropriate to the position of the learning experience within the students’ program of study. The educator must be capable of approaching each learner with a commitment to meeting his or her educational needs.
  • Pedagogical Competence
    A pedagogically competent educator communicates the objectives of the educational experience to students, is aware of alternative instructional methods or strategies, and selects methods of instruction that are effective in helping students to achieve the course objectives.
  • Dealing with Sensitive Topics
    Topics that students are likely to find sensitive or discomforting are dealt with in an open, honest, and positive way.
  • Student Development
    The overriding responsibility of the educator is to contribute to the intellectual development of the student, at least in the context of the educator’s own area of expertise, and to avoid actions such as exploitation and discrimination that detract from student development.
  • Dual Relationship with Students
    To avoid conflict of interest, an educator does not enter into dual-role relationships with students that are likely to detract from student development or lead to actual or perceived favoritism on the part of the educator. The establishment of a romantic/sexual relationship between an educator and a student should be reported to the immediate supervisor of the educator. Such relationships should be dealt with consistent with Penn State Administrative Policy AD41 — Sexual Harassment (5).
  • Student Confidentiality
    Student grades, letters of evaluation, attendance records, and private communications are treated as confidential materials and are released only with student consent, for legitimate academic purposes, or if there are reasonable grounds for believing that releasing such information will be beneficial to the student or will prevent harm to the student or to others.
  • Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
    Educators who utilize patient information as part of any educational experience must follow patient privacy and confidentiality guidelines as outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
  • Respect for Colleagues
    An educator respects the dignity of his or her colleagues and works cooperatively with colleagues in the interest of fostering student development.
  • Valid Assessment of Students
    An educator is responsible for taking adequate steps to ensure that the assessment of a student’s performance is valid, open, fair, and congruent with the course/educational experience objectives. An educator must be aware that such assessments are important in students’ lives and in the development of their careers.
  • Respect for Institution and Profession
    In the interest of student development, an educator is aware of and respects the educational goals, policies, and standards of the institution in which he or she teaches and the profession which he or she represents.
  • Citing Sources of Educational Material
    An educator acknowledges and documents, as appropriate, the sources of information and other materials used for teaching.

Violations of the Educator’s Code of Conduct

Should a learner experience conduct that is inconsistent with the Educator’s Code of Conduct, he/she is encouraged to first address the issue with either the educator responsible for the inconsistency or the director of the course in which the educator teaches. Should this attempt to resolve the problem fail, or if the nature of the inconsistency is such that the learner does not feel comfortable addressing the issue with either the educator or the course director, the student may consult other individuals.

These individuals may include but are not limited to: faculty advisor, student ombudsman, departmental chair, the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, and the Vice Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs. The decision of who to contact may be dependent on the educational program of the learner and/or type of violation that was encountered.

See the Educator Code of Conduct in the policy portal here. (ePass login required)

Grade and Faculty Assessment Timelines Expand answer

All final course and clerkship grades must be submitted and available to the students within 6 weeks after completion of the course or clerkship. All faculty must submit student performance assessments within 3 weeks of receiving the electronic form.

Grade Mediation & Adjustment Expand answer

Based on the Penn State University Faculty Senate Policy 47-20 on grades, as well as Penn State’s Academic Administrative Policies G-10.

The basis for grade determination, as stated in Senate Policy 47-20, is “… the instructor’s judgment of the student’s scholastic achievement …” Occasionally, a disagreement arises in the determination of a grade. A student who wishes to question or challenge the grade achieved in a course/clerkship must first discuss the course or clerkship’s competency-based achievement criteria, the grading procedures, and assignments with the instructor. It is expected that the student and instructor will try to eliminate any misunderstandings and will attempt to work out any disagreements over grades. Some examples of the basis for a legitimate disagreement could include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. . The instructor did not inform the student of the competency-based criteria used for assessment, or the rubric used in determination of grades as required in Senate Policy 47-20.
  2. The instructor did not determine the student’s grade in accordance with the instructor’s stated procedure for determining grades.
  3. There is an error in the determination of the grade that was not corrected.
  4. The student, through no fault of his or her own, was not provided with the same opportunity to complete the requirements for the course in terms, for example, of time, access to materials, or access to the instructor as the other students.
  5. There is a problem with the statistical defensibility of the grading rubric used.
  6. There was insufficient or delayed data submitted to the course/clerkship director to make a valid grade determination.
  7. There is an error in the computation of the grade that was not corrected.

Grade Adjudication Petition

On the rare occasion that a student and instructor fail to resolve the grade determination dispute through informal means, the student may request further review from the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. The student makes this request in a formal grade adjudication process by completing a Grade Adjudication Petition Form and returning it to the Vice Dean. The student must submit the Grade Adjudication Petition Form within 60 days of receiving the course grade.

The basis for a grade adjudication petition is limited to cases in which a grade determination does not conform to Senate Policy 47-20 and therefore, the petition must present clear evidence that the determination of the grade was based upon factors other than the academic judgment of the instructor. The Vice Dean will review the petition to determine if the student’s concern provides evidence that the instructor’s determination of the grade is in violation of Senate Policy 47-20.

No Violation of Senate Policy 47-20

If the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs decides that the determination of the grade does not violate Senate Policy 47-20, he/she will notify the student and the grade will stand.

Violation of Senate Policy 47-20

If the vice dean for educational affairs believes that the determination of the grade does violate Senate Policy 47-20, he/she will contact the instructor and request a response. If, after reading the instructor’s response, the vice dean concludes that the grade determination does violate Senate Policy 47-20, he/she will decide upon a course of action that may include a recommendation for an amended grade. The vice dean will send a brief summary of the reasons for the recommended course of action to the student and the instructor.

The Vice Dean might choose to appoint an ad hoc committee of 2-3 faculty with appropriate expertise in learner assessment and/or the disciplinary field to assist in adjudicating the student’s request. The ad hoc committee will recommend a grade. The vice dean will notify the student and instructor of the recommended grade and the supporting rationale in accordance with Senate Policy 47-20. The recommended grade will be transmitted to the campus registrar (if the grade change is recommended).

Appeal to the Dean

The student or the instructor may appeal the vice dean’s decision to the dean of the College of Medicine. An appeal to the dean must be made in writing within ten (10) days of the receipt of the notification from the vice dean.

The petition and any relevant findings of the Vice Dean will be forwarded to the dean.

If the dean finds that the grade determination does conform to Senate Policy 47-20, the original grade determination will stand and the adjudication process is concluded.

If the dean finds that the grade determination does not conform to the Senate Policy 47-20, the dean might appoint an ad hoc committee of 2-3 faculty members with appropriate expertise in learner assessment and/or the disciplinary field to determine and recommend a grade, or make the determination of the grade and transmit it to the campus registrar.

See the policy for grade mediation and adjudication in the policy portal here. (ePass login required).

Grading Policy (Phase I) Expand answer

The grading criteria for each course must be objective, communicated clearly to the students at the start of the course, and applied fairly and consistently. Course Co-Directors are responsible for defining, communicating and applying the grading criteria.

The following must be defined in the course syllabus, published on the course ANGEL site, and presented verbally to the class at the start of the course. Any changes in grading criteria after the start of the course must be clearly communicated to the students.

  • The sub-competencies to be assessed (ie, Medical Knowledge 2.1) and the scoring criteria.
  • The passing grade: An absolute grade of 68%; alternatively, a criterion of one-and-a-half standard deviations below the mean may be used alone or in combination with an absolute grade; in the latter case, priority must be defined: e.g., “The passing grade is 68% or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean, whichever is lower.”
  • The rounding percentage: Final percentages should be expressed to one decimal place and rounded up to determine grades: e.g., for a course with an absolute pass of 68%, a final score of 67.5% or greater would be passing.

See the grading policy for Phase I in the policy portal here. (ePass login required).

Holidays Expand answer

Official Holidays, 2016-2017

  • Independence Day – July 4
  • Labor Day – September 5
  • Thanksgiving – November 24-27
  • Winter Break – December 17-January 1
  • Memorial Day – May 25
Leave of Absence Procedure Expand answer

The purpose of the LOA is to allow students to interrupt continuous enrollment (usually for not more than one year) without having to apply for re-enrollment and without changing conditions and requirements of their academic program.

Terms and Conditions

  • Students may request a leave of absence (LOA) from the College of Medicine’s educational program for personal, health or educational reasons (i.e. Away research)
  • LOA requests will be granted or denied, at the discretion of the College of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or his/her designee.
  • Generally, LOA requests for medical students will not be granted for a period in excess of one year. Any “extensions” for a leave-of-absence must be approved by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or his/her designee.
  • A student who fulfills the conditions of an approved LOA may register upon return without applying for re-enrollment. The student registers for courses according to the returning start dates for the courses or clinical learning experiences as applicable.
  • The student will be expected to return to the College of Medicine according to the conditions of the approved leave set forth by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or his/her designee.
  • If at the end of the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs’ or his/her designee’s specified length for the LOA the student does not notify the Vice Dean or his/her designee in writing of his or her intentions to resume formal studies, it will be assumed that the student no longer wishes to continue in medical school and has withdrawn from the College of Medicine.
  • Students requesting a LOA for health reasons must provide a written request from the physician involved in his/her care at the time the request is made. In addition, reevaluation from the physician must be received by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or his/her designee prior to readmission. This evaluation must include the statement that the student is able from a medical standpoint to resume his or her studies.

Action Steps

If a student desires a leave of absence for any given reason, they will be required to discuss the matter with his/her society advisor first.

  1. Student schedules a meeting with Associate Dean for Student Affairs to discuss LOA. The student will be required to provide a rationale for the LOA. If necessary, support documentation (Medical- i.e. doctor note or Research – mentor) will need to be provided.
  2. If the LOA request is approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the student will receive official approval in writing. This written approval will
    • Summarize any conditions pertinent to the individual student’s leave
    • Set a date (60 days before the student is scheduled to return) by which time the student must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in writing of his or her intent to return as scheduled.
  3. The student is responsible for getting all the signatures required on the LOA form. The Registrar (the last required signature) will make a copy of the completed form for the student. The original will be placed in the student’s academic folder. The LOA status will become official when the completed LOA form for the student has been returned to the Registrar. LOA Form- A leave of absence cannot exceed one year. At the end of one year, a request for an extension of the leave of absence must be approved by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. If a student fails to resume his/her academic program within 2 years from the date of commencement of the leave of absence, that student shall be deemed withdrawn from the College of Medicine. Students who believe they have special circumstances to justify extending their leave of absence more than two years can appeal by submitting a formal request to the appropriate Academic Progress Committee (Year 1 and 2 or Year 3 and 4). The Academic Progress Committee will review the student’s request and make the final decision on the extension of the leave of absence.
  4. Sixty days prior to the date of return from the LOA, the student must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Computer Account

A student’s Penn State Access Account is suspended at the beginning of the semester that his/her leave begins. The account (with the same account number and password) is automatically reactivated a few weeks prior to the student’s scheduled return to school. Students, at any Penn State campus, who want to keep their accounts active while on an official leave of absence, should complete the Penn State Access Account Extension for Student Leave of Absence form. The completed form can be given to the Registrars Office at C1802. A monthly fee is charged to the student’s University account.

Students can view the Leave of Absence Procedure in the policy portal here (ePass login required).

Penn State University Code of Conduct Expand answer

The Office of Student Conduct at Penn State University serves as a valuable resource for the university community by promoting a safe living and learning environment. The Code of Conduct exists to maintain a civil and safe community in which all Penn State students can live and learn. The disciplinary process administered by the Office of Student Conduct is designed to foster growth and learning through holding students accountable for their behavior.

The goal of the Office of Student Conduct is to create a community in which students’ actions validate the essential values of Penn State University:

  • Community
  • Discovery
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Responsibility

The University identifies unacceptable student behavior in a document called the Code of Conduct. Specific information can be found on the Code of Conduct & Student Conduct Procedures page. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the behaviors identified in the Code of Conduct and to allow it to inform their everyday decision-making both in and out of the classroom.

Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) Expand answer

NOTE: All students will be asked to complete a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP). Students may be requested to complete an additional PIP that focuses on academic performance.

Directions

Please review all of the steps of the PIP process described below and then complete the PIP Form. Completion of the PIP Form is required for students who “Do Not Meet Expectations” in a course or clerkship.

Part 1: Please contact the Director of the Cognitive Skills Program to discuss your performance within one week of release of your final grade.

Part 2: After your meeting with the Director of the Cognitive Skills Program, describe your understanding of what worked and what didn’t work in your preparation for the course/clerkship. Discuss what you need to do to prepare for remediating this course/clerkship and what you will you do differently moving forward in your courses/clerkships.

Submit this to your Society Advisor and the Director of the Cognitive Skills Program within 2 business days of your meeting.

You will need to schedule a meeting with your Advisor to review your PIP and a followup meeting with the Director of Cognitive Skills Program.

Part 3: At your PIP meeting, discuss your goals and plans with your Society Advisor (or Society Head if your Advisor is unavailable) within one week of completing Part 2. Reconsider and revise your plans based on the suggestions you received.

Part 4: After your follow-up meeting with the Director of Cognitive Skills Program, summarize the steps you took, how it went, and what you learned. Revisit Part 2 – What do you need to do to prepare for remediating this course/clerkship? What will you do differently moving forward in your courses/clerkships?

Part 5: Submit completed PIP to the Director of Cognitive Skills Program within one week of your followup meeting for review. After review, you will submit the final copy of your PIP to the Assistant Dean of Students.

Checklist for PIP Process

  • Part 1: Meet with Director of Cognitive Skills Program (CSP) within one week.
  • Part 2: Complete reflection and submit to Advisor and Director of CSP within two days of meeting.
  • Part 3: Meet with Society Advisor (or Society Head) to review PIP within one week of completing Part 2.
  • Part 4: Follow-up meeting with Director of CSP.
  • Part 5: Complete and submit final PIP to Assistant Dean of Students within one week of your follow-up meeting (Part 4).

View the Personal Improvement Plan policy in the policy portal here (ePass login required)

Professionalism Expand answer

Students are expected to exhibit professional and altruistic behavior at all times, as outlined in the Medical School Objectives at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. (See above.) Additionally, students are expected to demonstrate professionalism as outlined by the AAMC, which are detailed below.

  1. Students should exhibit honesty and integrity, including:
    • Forthright, truthful and trustworthy behavior.
    • Appropriate identification of status when participating in patient care.
    • Showing ethical behavior at all times
  2. Students should demonstrate responsibility and reliability, including:
    • Punctuality and meeting deadlines
    • Compliance with policies, rules, regulations and laws.
    • Attendance at required sessions.
    • Demonstration of appropriate prioritization between personal and professional life.
    • Demonstration of accountability, including appropriate assumption of responsibility and reporting of inappropriate behaviors.
  3. Students should demonstrate respect for others, including:
    • Respecting the authority and knowledge of other professionals.
    • Working well with and showing respect to all team members.
    • Showing appropriate grooming and cleanliness.
  4. Students should demonstrate altruism and empathy, including:
    • Showing appropriate concern for others.
    • Perception and acknowledgment of other people’s physical, emotional and social needs.
    • Demonstration of sensitivity and concern regarding those needs.
    • Maintenance of objectivity in difficult interactions with other individuals.
  5. Students should demonstrate commitment to competence and excellence, including:
    • Setting, achieving and reflecting on realistic goals.
    • Routinely seeking to develop additional knowledge and skills.
    • Striving for excellence rather than to meet minimum standards.
  6. Students should demonstrate responsibility for self-assessment and self-improvement, including:
    • Admission of errors and accepting responsibility for actions.
    • Seeking feedback, and implementing changes as a result of feedback.
    • Demonstration of appropriate self-confidence.
    • Asking for help when appropriate.
  7. Students should demonstrate respect for patients and their families, including:
    • Sensitivity to patients’ beliefs, opinions, gender, race, culture, religion, sexual
      preference, and status.
    • Respecting patients’ autonomy and right to choose.
    • Demonstration and maintenance of sensitivity to confidential patient
      information.

See the full professionalism policy in the policy management tool here (ePass login required).

Sexual and/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct Expand answer
Student Feedback Opportunities Expand answer

To enable helpful, appropriate and timely student feedback that will allow for ongoing improvements in response to student concerns. The following sessions will be scheduled by the Office of Medical Education (OME).

  1. Just-in-Time Course Feedback
    Purpose:
    Student feedback session led by the Co-directors of the course in session that week. This feedback session will provide an opportunity for students to discuss the elements of the course which were successful and those which might be improved upon with course faculty. Course Co-director(s) may choose to use the past week’s schedule to seek feedback on each of the sessions.
    Frequency: Every other week Time: Tuesdays from Noon-1pm, schedule to be sent by OME
    Location: As reserved by OME Participants: Students, Course Directors
  2. Class Curriculum Representative Meetings with the Vice Dean
    Purpose:
    Feedback session to provide overall student led feedback gathered from student leaders to share with academic administration.
    Frequency: Monthly Time: Schedule to be sent by OME Location: Dr. Terry Wolpaw’s office (C1708)
    Participants: Class officers and Class curriculum representatives, Dr. Terry Wolpaw and other educational leadership as relevant issues arise.
  3. Dean’s Luncheons
    Purpose:
    Student feedback session led by Dr. Terry Wolpaw to discuss any student issues or questions that arise.
    Frequency: Every other month Time: Lunch hour, schedule to be sent by OME
    Location: As reserved by OME Participants: Students, deans, senior leadership for Educational Affairs, student ombudspersons, representatives from the Curriculum Evaluation Committee and CUMED committees.
  4. Student Surveys
    Purpose:
    Student feedback collected electronically in CoursEval for Phase I curriculum and New Innovations for Phase II – IV curriculum
    Frequency: Weekly and after course completion (Phase I); after course completion (Phase II – IV)
    Time: Weekly and after course completion Location: Electronic Participants: Students

See the opportunities for student feedback in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Student Fundraising Expand answer

All fundraising activities planned by students that occur in an area designated specifically for student groups and organizations must be approved by the Student Assembly. Fundraising activities occurring in non-approved areas must vacate the area immediately. In addition, raffles are not permitted.

A Student Organization at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine is defined as a group of students joined together in the pursuit of a common purpose that supports the mission, goals, and values of The Pennsylvania State University and the College of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs. The group will be recognized and registered as affiliated with the University as a result of complying with formal requirements established by the Student Affairs office. This includes the graduate student assembly, nursing student assembly, medical student assembly, and all student organizations that are recognized by the governing student body.

  • Fundraisers may only be conducted in the following pre-approved locations: directly inside the BMR near the door leading to the breezeway, outside of the entrance to the library, the back lobby of the BMR building (outside of C1805), the Courtyard (weather permitting), the ASB lobby, and the lecture room waiting areas. Groups are not authorized to reserve these areas until their fundraiser has been approved by the Student Assembly. Unapproved fundraisers in any part of the campus are prohibited.
  • All fundraisers must benefit an organization that directly supports the mission of Penn State Hershey.
  • There will be no sales for personal benefit or to provide patients with materials or cash goods outside of approved Penn State Hershey Medical Center programs.
  • All fundraisers must meet the health and safety standards of the Medical Center. Proper handling/storage of food is required.
  • Marketing & Communications must approve all products and merchandise bearing Medical Center or College of Medicine (or any other Penn State Hershey entity) name, logo, or other graphic identifier. Marketing & Communications must also be contacted if any media will be involved with the fundraiser.
  • If fliers are posted on campus, they must be removed immediately following the event. Fliers may only be posted on bulletin boards and may not be taped on walls, in elevators, in restrooms, on fixtures, on doors or on existing signage.
  • The space in which the fundraising event was held must be left in the same condition as it was found. Any cost incurred by the Medical Center/College of Medicine as a result of the event will be assessed to the group.
  • Permission may be denied to fundraise on Medical Center/College property to any group or organization that does not comply with the guidelines and regulations stated above.
  • Any College of Medicine student club organization may schedule ONE sales event during the fall semester (August 1 – December 31) AND ONE sale event during spring semester (January 1 – May
  • An exception will be made for the Graduate Student Assembly, the Nursing Student Assembly, and each Medical School Class, who will be permitted to have a third sales event if desired due to additional financial need.

Approval Procedure

All fundraising requests must be submitted in writing 7 days prior to the fundraiser and submitted to the Vice President of the Student Assembly for review. Each request must follow the above guidelines and include the following information:

  1. Primary contact person’s name, address, and phone number (request must be submitted by a recognized student organization officer).
  2. Name of the group requesting the fundraiser.
  3. Details about the fundraising event (including date, location of fundraiser, a description of what the fundraiser is benefiting, and description of fundraiser). If an external vendor is being used, you must include the vendor name.
  4. Explain how the event/benefiting organization relates to the University or Hospital’s mission of education, research and health care.

See the student fundraising guidelines policy in the policy portal here (ePass login required).

Student Locker Information Expand answer

On or immediately after June 2nd of each academic year, any lockers that have not been appropriately vacated will be vacated by staff.

MD Students

At the time of MD program orientation, each matriculating student will be assigned a locker to store his/her belongings. Students will maintain this locker assignment for three years. At the end of their third year (NO later than June 1st), students must clean out their lockers and notify the Office of Student Affairs that their lockers are vacated. If a student requires storage space during their 4th year of medical school, they will be assigned a lockable cabinet. Requests for a cabinet are made in the Office of Student Affairs.

MD/PhD Students

At the time of MD program orientation, each matriculating MD/PhD student will be assigned a locker to store his/her belongings. Students must vacate their lockers at the completion of Phase I. Upon returning to the Phase II portion of the MD curriculum (core clerkships), the student will be reassigned a locker for the third year of medical school. At the end of the third year (NO later than June 1st), the student must clean out the locker and notify the Office of Student Affairs that the locker is vacated. If a student requires storage space during Phases III and IV of the MD curriculum (4th MD program year) the student will be assigned a lockable cabinet. Requests for a cabinet are made in the Office of Student Affairs.

Students on Leave of Absence

Students must vacate their locker or cabinet when going on LOA no later than 10 days after the start of the LOA. Upon returning to the College of Medicine, the student will be reassigned a locker if a Phase I or II student upon return, or a lockable cabinet if a Phase III-IV student upon return. At the end of the third MD program year (NO later than June 1st), the student must clean out the locker and notify the Office of Student Affairs that the locker is vacated. If a student requires storage space during Phases III-IV of the MD curriculum (4th MD program year), the student will be assigned a lockable cabinet. Requests for a cabinet are made in the Office of Student Affairs.

Students can view the Student Locker Procedure in the policy portal here (ePass login required).

Vision Statement on Diversity Expand answer

You can view Penn State College of Medicine’s diversity page to find out more about our ongoing efforts to inculcate diversity, equity and inclusion.

You can also see our mission and vision statements for the student population here.

Curriculum, Assessment and Evaluation

Extended Directed Study Program Expand answer

The MD degree course of study for all students at Penn State University College of Medicine (COM) is designed as a four-year developmental, competency-directed progression in learning and professional identity formation that facilitates the students’ achievement of the graduation competencies of the COM. We recognize that learners in our COM educational programs will develop along the competency directed MD course of study through a combination of common and individualized educational experiences. Given the opportunity for individualization in progression towards the MD degree, there will be learners whose time-frame for progression in learning and professional identify formation will vary from the four-year framework. Students in the COM must complete all required educational experiences and achieve graduation competencies of the COM in a time period that does not exceed seven years from the time of matriculation, unless the student is in the MD/PhD program.

The Extended Directed Study Options offer a student additional time to complete the educational program under certain circumstances. It is intended for a variety of purposes, including personal, financial, to do scholarship/research (but not pursue an advanced degree) and for academic reasons. Examples of situations in which this option might be considered include: taking a year off to engage in a research project with a faculty member or needing a decelerated pace to achieve COM competencies.

Students may, with the approval of the Academic Progress Committee, use the extended directed study options for no more than two additional semesters of study. In addition to discussions with the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or the Associate Deans for Medical Education, Student Affairs or Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation, students who are considering taking advantage of the Extended Directed Study Options (details below) should also meet with the Director of Financial Aid to clarify the potential implications of this decision on financial aid status. Approval to extend the curriculum must be obtained from the Academic Progress Committee. This status is not intended for students in combined degree programs or for students who have funded fellowships for research outside Penn State University. These students are considered to be on a leave of absence.

Initiation of Placement in the Extended Directed Study Options

A request for participation in the Extended Directed Study Program may be initiated by any of the following:

  • The student. (A student who desires to participate in an Extended Directed Study option should review the reasons for the extended option with the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Associate Dean for Medical Education, Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation, or Associate Dean for Student Affairs)
  • The Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Associate Dean for Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation
  • The Director of the Office for Medical Student Research
  • The Academic Progress Committee

Types of Extended Directed Study and Application Process

There are two types of Extended Directed Study to which a student may apply:

  • Directed Curriculum Option: A student may opt for additional time to allow for a decompressed course load and/or remediation, academic enhancement, or for personal or financial reasons, at any time during the four year curriculum. Students requesting enrollment in the Directed Curriculum Option must:
    • Develop a clear and detailed curriculum plan with their advisor and the Associate Deans for Student Affairs and Medical Education, to ensure a comprehensive education plan will be achieved without adversely impacting other students’ education and experience. This plan must include the outcomes the student expects to achieve by the end of the Extended Directed study period and be signed by both the student and the student’s advisor.
    • The student’s proposed curriculum plan, once signed by the advisor, must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation for review.
    • Once the plan is reviewed by the Associate Deans for Student Affairs, Medical Education, and Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation, and revised if necessary, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs will present the student’s proposal to the Chair of the Academic Progress Committee (APC). The Chair of the APC may approve the proposal or choose to present it to the full APC for consideration.
    • The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, once the Directed Curriculum Option is approved by the APC, will send the student’s name to
      1. the Director of Finance in the Office of Medical Education who will manage the tuition process;
      2. the registrar who will ensure that the student is on active status and coursework included on the transcript;
      3. the Associate Dean for Medical Education and
      4. the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation.
    • Students on an Extended Directed Curriculum Option status must demonstrate, on a quarterly basis, that they are making academic progress during this period by submitting a quarterly progress report to the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation and to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
  • Directed Scholarship/Research Option: The Directed Scholarship/Research Option is intended for students who wish to pursue up to two additional semesters of research or other scholarly activity. This status is not intended for students in combined degree programs or for students who have funded fellowships for research outside Penn State University. These students are considered to be on a leave of absence. Students requesting to pursue the Directed Scholarship/Research option must:
    • • Develop a clear and detailed Directed Scholarship/Research Plan in conjunction with their advisor and the Director of the Office for Medical Student Research. This plan must include the outcomes the student expects to achieve by the end of the Extended Directed Scholarship/Research period. It must be signed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the Director for Medical Student Research.
    • Once the plan is approved by the Director of the Office for Medical Student Research, the student’s proposed scholarship/research plan must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation for review.
    • Once the plan is reviewed by the Associate Deans for Student Affairs, Medical Education, and Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation, and revised if necessary, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs will present the student’s proposal to the Chair of the Academic Progress Committee (APC). The Chair of the APC may approve the proposal or choose to present it to the full APC for consideration.
    • The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, once the Directed Scholarship/Research Option is approved by the APC, will send the student’s name to
      1. the Director of Finance in the Office of Medical Education who will manage the tuition process;
      2. the registrar who will ensure that the student is on active status and coursework included on the transcript;
      3. the Director for Medical Student Research;
      4. the Associate Dean for Medical Education and
      5. the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation.
    • Students on an Extended Directed Scholarship/Research Option status must demonstrate, on a quarterly basis, that they are making scholarly progress during this period by submitting a quarterly progress report to the Director of Medical Student Research.

Fees

Students who are granted an Extended Directed Study Option are still required to be enrolled in and pay for eight full-tuition semesters of study prior to graduation. The Extended Directed Study Option can be used for a maximum of two semesters. The Extended Directed Option rates per semester are:

  • Curriculum Option: 10% current full time tuition per semester
  • Directed Scholarship/Research Option: 10% current full time tuition per semester

Fees for Extended Directed Study do not include insurance, living expenses, etc., so the figures listed above are not the full cost to the student

We wish to acknowledge and thank Pritzker School of Medicine for allowing us to adapt their model for Extended Study Options for use at Penn State College of Medicine.

You can see the Extended Directed Study Program policy in the policy portal here (ePass login required)

Medical Student Research Project Expand answer

In order to satisfy the requirements for an M.D. degree from The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, all students shall complete an approved  Medical Student Research Project (MSR). The selection of an MSR topic is the responsibility of each student who should consult his or her advisor, and other faculty members. MSR projects are usually initiated in the first two years.

Students should check the MSR page for exact dates for deadlines in Phases II – IV.

The MSR final report is listed on the Graduation Requirements page in this manual.

Failure to meet the required date for the final report will jeopardize the student’s graduation.

Please refer to the MSR page for details and requirements for the project.

For more information on the project, view the MSR section of this site.

Note: Proposals must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the start of research.

You can view the Medical Student Research Project policy in the policy management system here. (ePass login required)

Competencies and Milestones Expand answer

1. Patient care

Provide patient-centered care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the promotion of health and treatment of health problems

PC 1.1: Perform a problem-focused and complete history and physical examination

PC 1.2: Use clinical information to formulate differential diagnosis; identify and interpret clinical and diagnostic test information to formulate a prioritized differential diagnosis and management plan

2. Knowledge for Practice

Demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and healthcare delivery sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care

KP 2.1: Demonstrate knowledge of the biomedical and clinical sciences and apply this knowledge to diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making and clinical problem-solving

KP 2.2: Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of knowledge and practices

3. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one’s care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care

PBLI3.1/PPD8.1: Incorporate reflection and self-assessment in the development of one’s own professional identity, systematically analyze one’s own performance to identify strengths and challenges, set individual learning and improvement goals, and engage in appropriate learning activities to meet those goals

PBLI 3.2: Identify one’s own knowledge gaps as they emerge in patient care activities, formulate an appropriate question to address the gap, utilize clinical informatics to locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence to inform patient care

4. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals

ICS 4.1: Communicate effectively with patients, families, and other individuals across a broad range of backgrounds, beliefs, and identity

ICS 4.2: Demonstrate the ability to document and organize patient information both orally and in the medical record

ICS 4.3/IPC 7.3: Communicate effectively with others on an interprofessional team

5. Professionalism

Demonstrate a commitment to behaving in a professional manner and adhering to ethical principles

Prof 5.1: Advocate effectively on behalf of individual patients and patient populations

Prof 5.2/MH 9.3: Act with honesty, integrity, accountability, and reliability, adhering to ethical norms and principles for the practice of medicine

6. Systems-Based Practice

Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care

SBP 6.1: Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of healthcare delivery, organization and finance

SBP 6.2: Incorporate considerations of value-based care in decisions about patients and/or populations

SBP 6.3: Identify and analyze adverse events, medical errors, and systems issues and propose interventions that will improve the value of healthcare

SBP 6.4: Analyze factors that affect the health outcomes of patients, populations, and communities

7. Interprofessional Collaboration

Demonstrate the ability to engage in an interprofessional team in a manner that optimizes safe, effective patient- and population-centered care

IPC 7.1: Apply principles of team dynamics in interactions with other health professionals, patients, and families, in the context of shared knowledge, shared goals, and mutual respect

IPC 7.2: Use the knowledge of one’s own roles and responsibilities – and those of other health professionals — to optimize health care

IPC 7.3/ICS 4.3: Communicate effectively with others on an interprofessional team

8. Personal Growth and Professional Development

Demonstrate the qualities required to sustain lifelong personal and professional growth

PPD 8.1/PBLI 3.1: Incorporate reflection and self-assessment in the development of one’s own professional identity, systematically analyze one’s own performance to identify strengths and challenges, set individual learning and improvement goals, and engage in appropriate learning activities to meet those goals

PPD8.2: Manage conflict between personal and professional expectations

PPD8.3: Articulate potential rewards and challenges of future phases of one’s own career

9. Medical Humanities

Demonstrate respect for the diverse values, beliefs and practices one encounters in the field of healthcare, while embodying a commitment to becoming an ethical, reflective, curious, humble, informed, and compassionate physician

MH 9.1: Demonstrate compassion, humility, and respect toward all persons regardless of their diverse identities, values, beliefs, and experiences.

MH 9.2: Apply the humanities and/or the arts to illuminate the lived experience of illness and to enhance the care of the patient.

MH 9.2: Apply the humanities and/or the arts to illuminate the lived experience of illness and to enhance the care of the patient.

MH 9.3/Prof 5.2: Act with honesty, integrity, accountability, and reliability, adhering to ethical norms and principles for the practice of medicine

10. Critical Thinking

Apply higher-order cognitive skills and deliberate thinking that leads to action that is context appropriate

CT 10.1: Demonstrate skepticism, curiosity, and a willingness to acknowledge uncertainty when confronted with new information or situations

CT 10.2: Demonstrate mindful interrogation of one’s own thinking process and biases in making decisions

Adapted from: Englander R, Cameron T, Ballard AJ, Dodge J, Bull J, Aschenbrener CA. Toward a common taxonomy of competency domains for the health professions and competencies for physicians. Acad Med. 2013; 88(8):1088-94.

View the Competencies & Milestones policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Formative Assessment by Mid-Point Expand answer

Each medical student must be provided with formal formative feedback early enough during each required course or clerkship to allow sufficient time for remediation.

For Phase I courses that are 4 weeks or more in length, course directors must provide a means of formative assessment by the midpoint of the course so that a student can take actions to remedy deficiencies. Formative feedback in Phase I courses can be through formative quizzes, formative examinations, or other methods that provide students with feedback on his/her performance.

For Phases II-IV clerkships and acting internships, course/clerkship directors must insure that formative feedback is provided to each student by the midpoint of the course/clerkship so that a student can acknowledge that they have received the feedback take actions to remedy deficiencies.

View the Formative Assessment by Mid-Point policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Graduation Requirements Expand answer

The MD degree course of study for all students at Penn State University College of Medicine is designed as a four year developmental, competency-directed progression in learning and professional identity formation that facilitates the students’ achievement of the graduation competencies of the College of Medicine (COM).” We recognize that learners in any of our COM curriculum options will develop along the competency-directed MD course of study through a combination of common and individualized educational experiences.”

Given the opportunity for individualization in progression towards the MD degree, there will be learners whose time-frame for progression in learning and professional identify formation will vary from the four-year framework.”

A student in consultation with his/her advisor, who anticipates achieving the educational outcomes of the Penn State COM MD course of study in a timeframe of less than four years and who wishes to be considered for early graduation may make such a request to a “Medical Student Progress Review” (MSPR) committee (MSPR committee). This process involves the following:

  • A comprehensive progress acceleration portfolio, signed off for its veracity by the student’s advisor.
    • This is a comprehensive portfolio completed by the student addressing progression in of each of the COM 10 competencies. It is the responsibility of the student, through portfolio reflection essays and robust evidence, to justify how he/she has achieved all educational outcomes of the MD degree course of study and why he/she is qualified to be certified by the COM for early graduation.
    • Thorough review of the portfolio by the MSPR and a recommendation by the MSPR to the APC to approve early graduation.
  • Decision by the APC to approve early graduation

This process will take effect for the class of 2020. This process for graduation earlier than the four-year time frame applies to students in the Hershey, Hershey 3+ and MD/PhD curriculum options.

Each of our COM curriculum options,, all approved by CUMED, have a typical, yet somewhat flexible, pattern of educational experiences that will facilitate achievement of outcomes of the COM’s competency-directed course of study for the MD degree. Students who do not desire consideration for early graduation will follow the pattern of educational experiences for his/her curriculum choice.

In order to graduate, all Penn State University College of Medicine Medical Students must:In order to graduate, all Penn State University College of Medicine Medical Students must:”

  • Demonstrate achievement of all COM Competencies
  • Complete a formative and summative Portfolio and achieve a “meets expectations” designation for all COM competencies on summative Portfolio review (effective beginning with the class of  2019)
  • Pass USMLE 1, 2CK, 2CS examinations” Successfully complete all formative OSCEs; pass the summative OSCE (OSCE III or Remediation OSCE)
  • Successfully complete a Medical Student Research project (does not apply to students in the MD/PhD program)
  • Complete all required educational experiences and achieve graduation competencies of the COM in a time period that does not exceed seven years from the time of matriculation, unless the student is in the MD/PhD program.

Medical students will demonstrate acquisition of competencies through the following educational experiences or an experience designated as comparable by the Vice Dean or his/her designee:  Medical students will demonstrate acquisition of competencies through the following educational experiences or an experience designated as comparable by the Vice Dean or his/her designee:

  • All preclerkship courses
  • All courses and clerkships in the core clinical curriculum (i.e. Phase II in Hershey Curriculum; clerkship year in University Park Curriculum) Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting
  • Profession of Medicine-III
  • 1 Acting Internship + 1 additional Acting Internship or Critical Care Rotation
  • 1 Humanities selective
  • Electives
    • Students must complete a minimum of 24 weeks of Phase III-IV electives to enhance their competency-directed progression in learning, professional identity formation, and residency preparation
    • Students will complete an Advanced Selective or Acting Internship within five months prior to graduation (to begin for the class of 2020).  This course may fulfill one of the Acting Internship or elective course expectations.
    • For students participating in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ track who have differentiated into their residencies, Phase II Career Exploration Synthesis electives are waived. For students participating in all Hershey Curriculum 3+ tracks, Phase III-Discovery electives are waived and these  students will complete at least the equivalent of 8 weeks of electives.
Minimum Essential Standards for Matriculation, Promotion and Graduation Expand answer

The goal of Pennsylvania State College of Medicine (PSCOM) is to prepare students to be competent, caring physicians who have the skills necessary to incorporate contemporary, appropriate healthcare methods and knowledge into their practice, and to adapt to a changing professional environment.  Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that candidates for admission, promotion,

and graduation are able to complete the entire course of study and participate fully in all aspects of medical training.  To be qualified for health sciences programs at PSCOM, those individuals must be able to meet both PSCOM’s competency-based standards and the Technical Standards, with or without reasonable accommodation.

PSCOM has a societal responsibility to train competent healthcare providers and scientists who demonstrate critical judgment, extensive knowledge, and well-honed technical skills, while considering patient safety to be paramount.  As such, a candidate must have demonstrable abilities and skills in the following five categories: observation, communication, motor function, cognition, and professionalism/social and behavioral skills.  The essential abilities described herein, also referred to as Technical Standards, are required for admission, retention, promotion, and graduation.

Observation

A candidate must be able to:

  • Acquire information from and evaluate images of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states.
  • Utilize auditory perception, visual perception and somatic sensation abilities (or their functional equivalents), to observe and accurately acquire information directly from the patient, both at a distance and close at hand, to develop an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Consider written documents, pictorial images, simulators, and computer programs and videos to assimilate large volumes of technically detailed and complex information presented in large group sessions, small group discussions, individual and group learning activities, and individual clinical settings.
  • Process information through observation and respond accordingly in a manner that is consistent, rapid, and accurate.

Communication

A candidate must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively, sensitively, and accurately with students, faculty, patients, and all members of the healthcare team.
  • Record examination and diagnostic results clearly, accurately, and efficiently.
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills necessary to develop rapport and positive relationships with patients.  Utilize empathic listening to promote openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to the patient.
  • Assess all patients to allow for appropriate, well-focused inquiry.
  • Care for and communicate with, in a non-judgmental way, patients and providers from different social and cultural backgrounds, types of illness, and varying cultures.

Motor Function

A candidate must be able to:

  • Elicit information from patients by inspection, palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers or their functional equivalents required to perform a physical examination.
  • Execute precise and timely motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.  This requires the coordination of both fine and gross muscular movements, equilibrium, and the use of sight, hearing, and touch, or the functional equivalents.
  • Manipulate the equipment, instruments, apparatus, or tools required to collect and interpret data appropriate to the domain of study, practice, or research.
  • Demonstrate physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study, which may include prolonged periods of sitting, standing, and/or rapid ambulation.

Cognition

A candidate must be able to:

  •    Solve problems and think critically, both independently and as part of a team, to develop appropriate products and services (e.g., a treatment plan).  Synthesize information to develop and defend conclusions regarding observations and outcomes.
  • Learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to: classroom instruction; small group, team and collaborative activities; individual study; preparation and presentation of reports; simulations and use of computer technology.
  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, memorize, organize, and transmit data concurrently in a multi-task setting wherein a candidate may experience a high level of stress, fatigue, and distraction.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses that enable effective and timely problem-solving in diagnosis and treatment of patients in a variety of clinical settings and health care systems.
  • Integrate historical, physical, social, and ancillary test data into differential diagnoses and determine the appropriate sequence of events to effect successful treatment.

Professionalism / Social Behavior & Skills

A candidate must be able to:

  • Possess the emotional health required for full utilization of intellectual abilities, good judgment, and prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
  • Tolerate physically taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical environment.
  • Demonstrate compassion, integrity, non-discrimination, dedication, and honesty in interactions with both colleagues and patients. Relate to patients, families, and colleagues of diverse populations with courtesy, maturity, and respect for their dignity.
  • Maintain effective, mature, sensitive, and ethically appropriate relationships under all circumstances (e.g. clients, patients, students, faculty, staff and other professionals).
  • Self-assess their ability to function at the level necessary to provide effective and safe care of their patients and to proactively seek appropriate assistance or treatment before impairments compromise patient care and safety.

Students with Disabilities

In accordance with federal law and Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine policy, no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of that disability, be excluded from participation in College of Medicine programs or activities. The College of Medicine will provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability.

It is the responsibility of a candidate who seeks reasonable accommodation(s) to contact the Student Disability and Inclusion Specialist at disabilityservices@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. Additional information about our disability services may be found here. For more information related to disabilities, please visit Penn State Student Disability Resources.

Students with questions about components of our Minimal Essential Standards requirements can contact the Office of Student Affairs at (717) 531-4398.

View the Minimum Essential Standards for Matriculation, Promotion and Graduation in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

NBME (Shelf) Subject Examination Rules Expand answer

The Penn State College of Medicine strictly follows the NBME rules and procedures for all subject examinations in all clerkships.

Personal belongings in the testing room

All materials, except pencils and erasers must be deposited in the area designated for personal belongings (e.g. front of the lecture hall).

The following items ARE NOT PERMITTED in the seating area of the testing room:

  • Personal Digital Assistants (e.g. palm pilots)
  • Calculators
  • Watches with alarms, computer or memory capability
  • Electronic paging devices
  • Cellular telephones
  • Recording/filming devices
  • Radios
  • Reference materials (books, notes, paper)
  • Backpacks, briefcases, luggage, coats, or brimmed hats
  • Beverages or food of any type

Before the examination

Permission to take the exam will be denied if an examinee arrives late.

During the examination period

An examinee must be escorted, one at a time, on all personal breaks taken during the examination. The test book and answer sheet will be collected and then returned when the examinee is ready to resume testing. No make-up time is allowed for time lost.

View the NBME Subject Examinations Policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

USMLE Requirement Expand answer

All students in the College of Medicine must take and pass Step 1, Step 2—Clinical Knowledge and Step 2—Clinical Skills of the USMLE in order to graduate.

Time is provided for USMLE Step 1 preparation prior to the exam. Find informational materials and applications on the USMLE site. At this site, you will find application materials, the USMLE Bulletin of Information, and sample test materials.

In the event of Step 1 or Step 2 failure, a student is required to repeat the examination. Although USMLE scores do not constitute part of the evaluation of students in their medical school courses, scores may be very important in the attainment of desired postgraduate training programs as well as for medical licensure. Many residency programs look at these scores very closely.

Students are required to take Step 1 at the conclusion of the second year unless written permission is granted in advance from the Vice Dean of Educational Affairs. In all instances, the Step 1 examination must be taken and passed by July 31 following Year 3. If a student has not passed Step 1 by then, he/she must take a leave of absence until Step 1 is passed. The clerkship schedule may be altered if a student has failed either step of the USMLE in consultation with the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs.

Step 2 Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge must be taken no later than January 1st of the fourth year and a passing score must be recorded in order to receive the M.D. degree.

A student who fails any component of any step of USMLE may repeat the exam twice. A failure of any component on the third attempt will result in the student’s dismissal from the College of Medicine.

Step 3 is taken after graduation from medical school at the end of not less than six months of internship. All examination requirements for USMLE certification must be met within a seven-year period. Questions regarding the USMLE application process should be directed to Diane Gill, Registrar, dgill@hmc.psu.edu.

View the USMLE Student Requirements in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

USMLE Step 1 Expand answer

The curriculum at PSCOM is well-aligned with the content on which the USMLE Step 1 examination is based. Successful performance in the foundational portions of the curriculum and core clerkships combined with a period of board study will prepare students well for this examination.

Students in the PSCOM MD program (Hershey Curriculum) are eligible to take USLME Step 1 exam after the completion of all core clerkships, except Underserved Medicine-Domestic Health clerkship. MD-PhD students are eligible to take USMLE Step 1 exam after completion of the pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum. Students must take and complete USMLE Step 1 exam before beginning the post core clerkship phase of the curriculum. With the exception of those in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ track, students will not be permitted to advance to any post core clerkship courses (Translating Health Systems or equivalent), elective rotations, acting internships or any other post core clerkship options or requirements until they have taken Step 1.

We recognize that there may be some very rare circumstances where a student may need to apply for an exception to this policy. Applications for a delay will be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Medical Education, who will make a final decision regarding the delay. This may impact the completion of optimal coursework for a residency application and the student’s graduation timeline. Applications for a delay will be considered when one of the following three circumstances is of concern:

  1. Core clerkship remediation needs to be done prior to the Step 1 examination: The student must meet with the Director of Core Clinical Medicine to develop a timeline for remediation and subsequent timing of board study, the Translating Health Systems course, and other post core clerkship requirements. This timeline, signed off by the Director of Core Clinical Medicine, must accompany the student’s application for a delay. Depending on the remediation needs, the student must understand that neither completion of optimal coursework for a residency application nor on time graduation from medical school can be guaranteed.
  2. Substantial medical/personal reasons, for which documentation from the student’s healthcare provider will be required: The student must understand that neither completion of optimal coursework for a residency application nor on time graduation from medical school can be guaranteed. The student will need to request a Leave of Absence (LOA) to begin at the conclusion of the board study period. S/he will provide fitness for duty affidavit and evidence that s/he has taken Step 1 to return to active student status. No credit can be provided during the time the student is on LOA. The Translating Health Systems course requirement must be fulfilled prior to graduation.
  3. Student’s risk of failure of the Step 1 exam is high, based on an analysis by the Associate Dean for Evaluation and Assessment of the student’s academic performance history: The student must understand that neither completion of optimal coursework for a residency application nor on time graduation from medical school can be guaranteed. The student will take the Translating Health Systems Course or equivalent and then be permitted to use one four-week elective as a reading elective to additionally prepare for and take Step 1. If more time is needed, the student must request a LOA (minimum of 30 days) and provide evidence that s/he has taken Step 1 to return to active student status.

This is a student-driven process, which means that it is up to each individual student to apply for an exception to the Associate Dean for Medical Education or designee if s/he is concerned about his/her ability to pass the Step 1 exam. All such requests will need to be made to the Associate Dean for Medical Education or designee no later than two weeks prior to the end of the designated Step 1 study period.

Students need to submit in writing 1) a rationale outlining the need for extended study time or need for a LOA and 2) a report from the Associate Dean for Evaluation and Assessment of their course and clerkship achievement and performance on National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) preparatory exams. Additionally, students are required to consult with the Cognitive Skills Program and prepare an extended study plan that is submitted as part of the process.

For any application for a delay due to concern about achieving a passing score, the student must meet with the Associate Dean for Evaluation and Assessment and discuss the concern. The Associate Dean for Evaluation and Assessment must provide documentation, based on an analysis of the course/clerkship performance and NBME exams used to prepare for Step 1, about the likelihood that the student has of not achieving a passing score on Step1. Delays will not be approved because a student hopes to attain a higher score than s/he predicts.

Note: The student schedule for those who defer starting post core clerkship activities of any type will be accommodated based on availability and not necessarily in the same sequence as the student was originally enrolled. This may impact the completion of optimal coursework for a residency application and the student’s graduation timeline.

USMLE Step 1 Failure

A student who fails the USMLE Step 1 examination on the first attempt and receives notice of the result before beginning the first required course or elective rotation is not permitted to begin the post core clerkship phase of the curriculum.

A student who fails the USMLE Step 1 examination and receives notice after beginning the first required course or elective rotation may complete the current rotation in which the student is enrolled. The student is not permitted to enroll in another rotation/course at the medical school or elsewhere until the student takes and passes the USMLE Step 1 examination.

The student must work with the Cognitive Skills Program to develop a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) that includes a course of study and timeline for taking the USMLE Step 1 examination the second time. The second attempt should occur generally after four to six weeks of additional study. In consultation with the Associate Dean for Medical Education, this period may be extended further by a leave of absence (coordinated in conjunction with Associate Dean Student Affairs), which may impact the completion of optimal coursework for a residency application and the student’s graduation timeline.

View the USMLE Step 1 policy in the policy management tool here. (ePass login required)

Phase I

Required Courses (Phase I) Expand answer
Academic Remediation (Phase I) Expand answer

A single deficiency

The Academic Progress Committee (APC) will review the performance of all students with a single deficiency and will identify whether or not they wish to have the student appear in person before the committee. The APC may recommend that a student be allowed, depending on the deficiency, to remediate that course without personally appearing before the APC. A student with a single deficiency is placed on academic probation until the deficiency is remediated, regardless of whether or not they appeared before the APC.

Regardless of whether a student appears in person before the APC, a student who does not meet expectations in a single course will:

  1. Meet with his or her advisor, as well as the Course Director, to review the circumstances that led to the failure, and, in consultation with them, develop a plan to meet criteria for successful remediation.
  2. Consult additional resources available in the College of Medicine, as necessary, such as Director of Cognitive Skills Program or Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
  3. Prepare a draft of a Remediation Personal Improvement Plan (Remediation PIP) outlining the student’s perceptions of what happened and the plan to meet criteria for successful remediation. The plan will be submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to make sure that both the proposed plan and timeframe are appropriate. (The timeframe to demonstrate successful remediation will vary depending on the circumstances).
  4. Complete the requirements for remediation according to the timing set forth in the Remediation PIP. Medical knowledge remediation examinations for Phase 1 will be scheduled after the end of each year’s courses unless otherwise determined by the Associate Dean for Assessment.

A student will be presented to the APC if the student fails remediation. The APC will recommend subsequent action.

If the deficiency observed is a lapse of medical professionalism judged to be egregious, the student’s performance is reviewed by APC. The APC will recommend subsequent action.

Two or more deficiencies

The performance of a student who does not meet criteria in two or more courses will be reviewed by the APC. If the student’s deficiencies are in medical knowledge, the APC may offer the option of taking a comparable examination. The APC may recommend that a student repeat a portion of the curriculum, repeat the entire year or may recommend dismissal. Students on academic probation are reinstated when they meet expectations. The Vice Dean for Educational Affairs approves all decisions.

Students with two or more deficiencies are required to follow the same steps outlined above for a single deficiency. In addition, the APC may refer the student for an evaluation by a learning specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist. The APC may add conditions for the student’s continuation in the curriculum. Acceptance of a Remediation PIP, with stated goals, and progress milestones, may qualify a student to continue. Documented monitoring of milestone achievements is required. Successful remediation is defined as the student satisfactorily completing all requirements as determined by APC and meeting expectations in the deficiencies noted.

View the full Phase I Academic Remediation policy on our policy management portal. (ePass login required)

Attendance (Phase I) (Hershey) Expand answer

At the Penn State College of Medicine, students are considered junior colleagues. Here, professionalism subcompetencies and professional behaviors are valued equally with the subcompetencies and behaviors for medical knowledge and clinical skills. Participation, attendance, and timeliness are fundamental professional behaviors and curricular responsibilities that are expected of all students. Your attendance and participation in group learning activities allows you to learn from and teach your classmates, function as an effective team member, and enhances the learning experience for all involved.

On-time attendance and full participation is required in all instances where students collaborate with other students in the learning experience or in which patients are involved. Students must arrive to educational sessions on time and be well prepared for the activities that take place during these sessions. Faculty who participate in the above required learning experiences will monitor students’ attendance, timeliness, and participation and submit reports in each of these areas to the Office of Medical Education (OME) which, in turn, will track attendance and tardiness.

Examples of these are educational sessions, classes and venues that require student collaboration, such as but not limited to:

  • Problem-based Learning (PBL) groups
  • Small-group sessions for courses such as Medical Humanities, Foundations of Patient-Centered Care, Science of Health Systems and interprofessional education activities
  • Medium-sized  groups  such  as  Team-based  Learning  (TBL),  all  labs  and  imaging sessions
  • Simulation Labs and rotational exercises such as Neurology Day

Classes and other venues that involve patient participation and/or guest speakers, such as but not limited to:

  • Large group/lecture sessions with patients or other guests
  • Physical Diagnosis/Clinical Skills
  • Observed Structured and Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)
  • Interprofessional simulation experiences
  • Primary Care Preceptorship

Types of absences

Six types of absences are recognized:

  • Unexpected Absences
  • Military Absences
  • Religious Absences
  • Presenting at Conference Absences
  • Doctor’s appointment Absences
  • Discretionary Days

Out  of respect for  others engaged  in  the  learning experience, the  student must discuss his/her absence  with all faculty and students involved (e.g., PBL group,  course director). The student should ask the other students/facilitator how he/she can help with the group’s work before or following the absence.

Unexpected Absences

An absence due to personal illness, emergency doctor’s appointment, or a family emergency such as serious illness or death of a family member, must be submitted the morning of the absence using the Notification of Absence Form. Failure to report an Unexpected Absence within 24 hours will be marked as an Unexcused Absence. By College of Medicine policy, campus security must be informed about any student who is unaccounted for more 24 hours so that a search can be initiated to confirm that the student is safe.

Military Absence

An absence due to military service; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Religious Absence

An absence due to a religious holiday; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Presenting at Conference Absence

An absence due to presenting at a conference; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Doctor’s Appointments Absence

An absence due to a doctor’s appointment; must be requested at least three (3) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Discretionary Days

In Phase 1 and POM II, students have the opportunity to utilize up to 3 discretionary days in year 1 and 2 discretionary days in year 2 prior to the start of the clinical clerkships (phase 2). Examples of discretionary day absences include family-related events (e.g., reunion, wedding, birthday), social obligations, school conference, etc. Students need not provide a reason for requesting a discretionary day. Discretionary days do not carry over from year 1 to year 2 of Phase I.

Please note there are important limitations to requesting discretionary days:

  1. Discretionary days must be requested at least three (3) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form.
  2. You may not extend a holiday or vacation by using a discretionary day immediately before or after the holiday or vacation.
  3. A “Black Out” day is defined as an educational activity whose learning outcomes cannot be recreated in an equivalent way. The curriculum contains several categories of unique small- group sessions that cannot easily be recreated (preceptorships, simulation sessions, interprofessional education activities, communications workshops). Such sessions are not eligible for discretionary-day absences. These sessions include but are not limited to:
    • Simulation Center Sessions
    • Wellness Retreats
    • Exams
    • Neurology Day
    • Reflection and Assessment Sessions
    • POM II Sessions

Weather-Related Absences

The School of Medicine is opened unless there is an official announcement of closure from the Dean. Every day when school is in session the Academic Participation and Attendance Procedure is followed. Weather-related absences will be marked as use of a Discretionary Day and students will follow the procedures for an unexpected absence.

Consequences of Unexcused Absences or Repeated Tardiness

Unexcused absences or patterns of consistent tardiness will be considered as lapses in conscientious behaviors, which are a part of expectations for the professionalism competency. Students who have any unapproved absences or tardiness for a given activity (e.g. PBL group, submitting weekly quizzes, etc.) will earn a final course grade of “Does Not Meet Expectations as outlined in the Conscientious Behavior Tracking document outlined on Simba. Targeted Remediation, as outlined in the Conscientious Behavior Tracking document must be successfully completed in order to achieve a “meets expectations.”

For any questions about the absence requests, please contact Amy Savastio-Ladd in the Hershey Office of Medical Education.

Attendance (Phase I) (University Park) Expand answer

At the Penn State College of Medicine, students are considered junior colleagues. Here, professionalism, subcompetencies and professional behaviors are valued equally with the subcompetencies and behaviors for medical knowledge and clinical skills. Participation, attendance, and timeliness are fundamental professional behaviors and curricular responsibilities that are expected of all students. Your attendance and participation in group learning activities allows you to learn from and teach your classmates, function as an effective team member, and enhances the learning experience for all involved.

On-time attendance and full participation is required in all instances where students collaborate with other students in the learning experience or in which patients are involved. Students must arrive to educational sessions on time and be well prepared for the activities that take place during these sessions. Faculty who participate in the above required learning experiences will monitor students’ attendance, timeliness, and participation and submit reports in each of these areas to the University Park Office of Medical Education (OME) which, in turn, will track attendance and tardiness.

While enrolled in the University Park Curriculum, on-time attendance and full participation is required in all instances where students collaborate with other students in the learning experience or in which patients are involved. Students must be on time and be well prepared for all activities that take place during these sessions. Such sessions include but are not limited to:

  • Inquiry Group Sessions
  • Case Presentations (for selected student)
  • Collaborative Science Tutorials
  • Simulation Labs
  • Anatomy Labs
  • Large group/lecture sessions with patients or other guests
  • Physical Diagnosis/Clinical Skills
  • Observed Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE)
  • Clinical Immersions
    • Navigation
    • Clerkship
    • Acting Internship
  • Book Club
  • Triple Jump activities
  • Medical Humanities courses

Types of Absences

Six types of absences are recognized.

  • Unexpected Absences
  • Military  Absences
  • Religious Absences
  • Presenting at Conference Absences
  • Doctor’s Appointment Absences
  • Discretionary Days

Out of respect for others engaged  in  the  learning experience,  the  student   must discuss his/her absence with all faculty and students  involved (e.g., IQ group, course director).  The student should ask the other students/facilitator how he/she can help with the group’s work before or following the absence.

Unexpected Absences

An absence due to personal illness, emergency doctor’s appointment, or a family emergency such as serious illness or death of a family member, must be submitted the morning of the absence using the Notification of Absence Form. Failure to report an Unexpected Absence within 24 hours will be marked as an Unexcused Absence.   By College of Medicine policy, campus security must be informed about any student who is unaccounted for more 24 hours so that a search can be initiated to confirm that the student is safe.

Military Absence

An absence due to military service; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Religious Absence

An absence due to a religious holiday; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Presenting at Conference Absence

An absence due to presenting at a conference; must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Doctor’s Appointments Absence

An absence due to a doctor’s appointment: must be requested at least three (3) working days in advance by submitting a Notification of Absence Form and receiving approval.

Discretionary Days

Throughout the University Park Curriculum, students are permitted 3 discretionary days a year. Examples of discretionary day absences include family-related events (e.g., reunion, wedding, birthday), social obligations, school conference, etc. Students need not provide a reason for requesting a discretionary day. Discretionary days do not carry over from year to year.

Please note there are important limitations  to requesting discretionary days:

  1. Discretionary days  must  be  requested  at  least  three (3)  working  days  in  advance  by submitting a Notification of Absence Form.
  2. You may not extend a holiday or vacation by using a discretionary day immediately before or after the holiday or vacation.
  3. The curriculum contains several categories of unique small-group sessions that cannot easily be recreated (preceptorships, simulation sessions, interprofessional educational activities, communications workshops).  Such sessions are considered “Blackout dates” and are not eligible for discretionary-day absences. These sessions include but are not limited to:
    • Discretionary  day  absences  will  not  be  approved  for  days  a  student  is scheduled to present a case for IQ
    • Discretionary day absences will not be approved to bookend any official vacations/breaks or holidays (including 3-day weekends)
    • Discretionary day absences will  not be  approved for  days  when  sessions cannot easily be recreated.

In addition, discretionary days will not be approved for days where the following activities are taking place:

  • Exams (OSCE)
  • Standardized Patient Utilization
  • Simulation sessions
  • Wellness retreats
  • Anatomy sessions
  • Triple jump sessions
  • Book club

Weather-Related Absences

The School of Medicine is opened unless there is an official announcement of closure from the Dean. Every day when school is in session the Academic Participation and Attendance Procedure is followed. Weather-related Absences will be marked as use of a Discretionary Day and students will follow the procedures for an Unexpected Absence.

Immersions

Under no circumstance should a student attempt to alter his/her clinical schedule. Dates, times, and locations of clinical immersions are strategically arranged and every change causes a series of additional changes. It is critical that students submit all absences approval requests in advance in order for the Office of Medical Education to determine what steps need to be taken.

Gaining approval to change/swap a clinic day to free up another day means taking a discretionary day, even though the student is still fulfilling the 3x week. If a required activity is missed that can be rescheduled, it is still a discretionary day to free up the desired date.

Consequences of Unexcused Absences or Repeated Tardiness

Unexcused absences or patterns of consistent tardiness will be considered as lapses in conscientious behaviors, which are a part of expectations for the professionalism competency. Students who have any unapproved absences or tardiness for a given activity (e.g. IQ group, submitting weekly quizzes, etc.) will earn a final course grade of “Does Not Meet Expectations as outlined in the Conscientious Behavior Tracking document outlined on Simba. Targeted Remediation, as outlined in the Conscientious Behavior Tracking document must be successfully completed in order to achieve a “meets expectations”.

For any questions about absence requests for University Park, please contact Kathleen Rickley in the University Park Office of Medical Education.

Curricular Activities Guidelines Expand answer

Scheduled required activities, averaged over the course of the academic year, should not exceed 28 hours per week. When there are activities assigned to be completed outside of scheduled class time, in general, no more than 2 hours of required preparation per hour of contact time should be assigned. Course directors of concurrent courses should work in concert with one another regarding out of class expectations.

View the Phase I Scheduled Time guidelines on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Tutorial Assistance Expand answer

Tutorial assistance is defined as provision of additional resources to students who are having difficulties during a pre-clinical course, in contrast to remediation that occurs after a course has been completed. Tutorials may decrease the number of students who fail a course and subsequently require remediation. Therefore, Course Co-Directors are encouraged to advise students to contact the Office of Student Affairs to provide tutorial assistance when appropriate and feasible. The following guidelines are recommended:

  1. Course Co-Directors should meet with students encountering difficulties in order to determine whether students have any special needs or problems. Any meetings with students, the availability of tutorials, and student attendance at tutorials should be documented. Course Co-Directors are encouraged to include mechanisms in a course to identify students in difficulties, such as, in-class or on-line quizzes as self-assessment or as part of the final grade.
  2. Students in need of tutoring should contact the Office of Student Affairs. The student should also meet with his/her society advisor to discuss the need. Tutorial assistance is not available one on one, only in small groups.
  3. Tutorials may be provided by faculty, graduate students, residents, or medical students who have demonstrated expertise in the subject matter. The Office of Student Affairs will solicit volunteers and maintain a database of qualified individuals willing to provide tutorials.
  4. Student-led study and tutorial groups (i.e., students tutoring peers within the same class) are encouraged.

View the Student Tutorial Assistance Policy in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Phases II-IV

Accelerated Program Active Internship Policy Expand answer

Students may progress to Acting Internship according to the planned curriculum of the Accelerated Program. The requirement to complete Phase II prior to taking AI’s will be waived. The student’s readiness to enter advanced courses will be assessed and their performance monitored.

View the accelerated program active internship policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Alternative Educational or Clinical Site Assignment Expand answer

Changes to Phase II Clerkship Core Rotations

Students have several opportunities to modify their Phase II core rotation schedule and site selection during the lottery process. Immediately following the lottery for site selection, students may switch sites with other students during a defined period of time as guided by the registrar. Once that period is completed, the assignment is considered final. Students who require a modified schedule or a modification in site due to compelling circumstances should make a request in writing to the Director of Core Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective Director or Associate Dean will weigh the circumstances of the student against available resources, site availability, and potential impact on other students. The resolution might be a change in site, a rescheduling of the clerkship to another time to accommodate the student’s needs, or no change.

Changes to Phase III/IV Electives

Phase III/IV provides flexibility in elective choices and students may make changes in electives up to 4 weeks prior to the start of the course using the add/drop process. Students are asked to plan ahead and be mindful of this time period. Students who require a change within that 4-week time window due to unforeseen circumstances or need to fulfill an educational commitment should make a request in writing to the Director of Core Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective Director or Associate Dean will weigh the circumstances of the student against available resources and potential impact on other students. The resolution might be a change in elective or no change.

Changes to Phase IV Acting Internships

In order to make Acting Internships available to all medical students in a fair manner, Acting Internships are scheduled during the lottery process and schedules are finalized by the registrar based on availability. However, students may require a change within that 4-week time window due to career specialty change, unforeseen circumstances or need to fulfill an educational commitment. Students who require a change within that 4-week time window should make a request in writing to the Director of Core Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective Director or Associate Dean will weigh the circumstances of the student against available resources and potential impact on other students. The resolution might be a change in Acting Internship, a rescheduling of the Acting Internship or no change

View the full alternate educational site or clinical assignment policy in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Attendance (Clerkships) Expand answer

Excused Absences

Students with requests for approval of possible planned absences are expected to make requests to the clerkship director, acting internship (AI) director, or elective director at least four weeks prior to the onset of the clerkship, AI, elective or date of longitudinal integrated clerkship cycle (LIC) absence, so that schedules may be adjusted appropriately whenever possible. Approval of absences is at the discretion of the c l e r ks hi p/ course director(s).

Requests for absences because of the need to access health services during clinical duty hours will be approved, but such requests must be discussed with and approved by the course director(s). These will be recorded as excused absences.

All r eq u es t s fo r excused absences from clerkships and AIs can be approved only by the clerkship or acting internship director. Students will receive no more than one day of excused absence from any of the four-week clerkship blocks and AIs and one day of excused absence during 2 week selective, elective or Career Exploration & Synthesis (CE&S) weeks. Students will receive no more than one day of excused absence from the Hershey-based longitudinal family medicine clerkship. Students enrolled in any of the longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) options will receive no more than one day of excused absence from any one of the specialties within the LIC. All planned absences
must be reviewed and approved by the course/clerkship director in advance of the rotation

. In general, students may receive no more than one day of excused absence from four-

week elective courses. However, the COM recognizes that additional time may be required for residency interviews. For the purpose of residency interviews only, up to five days may be excused from a Discovery & Residency Prep elective. The structure of some electives, however, may necessitate that fewer days of absence for interviews can be permitted; this is at the discretion of the elective course director(s). Students must discuss interview plans and seek approval for absences with the course director(s) at least
2 weeks in advance of the beginning of the elective. If a student is offered an unexpected interview opportunity after this deadline, the request for an excused absence must be discussed immediately with the course director. Students should plan interview time accordingly, and should not expect that multiple excused absences for residency interviews will be allowed during Discovery & Residency Prep required courses.

Exceptions

In general, students may receive no more than 1 day of excused absence from 4- week elective courses. However, it is recognized that additional time may be required for residency interviews. For the purpose of residency interviews only, up to 5 days may be excused from a “fourth-year” elective. The structure of some electives, however, may necessitate that fewer days of absence for interviews can be allowed; this is at the discretion of the elective course director. Students should discuss interview plans and seek approval for absences with the course director in advance of the beginning of the elective. Students should plan their interview time accordingly, and should not expect that multiple excused absences for residency interviews will be allowed during Phases III – IV required courses (Acting Internships).

All absences (planned/unplanned) should be reported to the Course Director, Site Director, Course Coordinator AND the Office of Medical Education Curriculum Manager when they occur. Students are not expected to participate in course experiences when they are ill; however, because of the importance of the required Clerkships and Acting Internship experiences to clinical training, it must be understood that time missed due to illness may need to be made up. Therefore, it is very important to discuss these absences and make-up requirements with the Clerkship/Acting Internship Director as soon as possible after the absence. The Office of Medical Education will track these absences across the year.

Mandatory

Certain sessions in each clerkship are mandatory; absences should not be planned during these sessions and will not be excused:

  • Clerkship orientation sessions
  • Shelf/final exams
  • Primary Care Clerkship Communication Seminar

Students should consult the clerkship schedule on OASIS and/or contact the clerkship director to ensure that absences do not occur during these sessions. Students are expected to report on time to all orientation and examination sessions.

In addition to mandatory clerkship sessions, all students are required to attend mandatory courses and events as prescribed by the Office of Medical Education. Examples include:

  • Profession of Medicine II (POM II) course sessions
  • Profession of Medicine III (POM III) course sessions
  • Phase II Reflection and Assessment sessions
  • Translating Health Systems course sessions

The Integrated Medical Science Sessions are mandatory, and all students are expected to attend each session which corresponds to his or her scheduled block. Exceptions to this rule are the following:

  • Students who are scheduled for a vacation rotation
  • All students currently on the Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health Clerkship
  • Students at off-site affiliate campuses with greater than one hour travel time (which may include students on the Family Medicine Clerkship)

Students excused from a session due to an exception listed above must notify Alyssa Heintzelman at least one week prior to the scheduled absence. In the event of unexpected illnesses/emergencies, students must contact the Alyssa Heintzelman to report the absence.

Student rotations at the following sites will not be excused:

  • Camp Hill
  • Harrisburg
  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Mount Joy
  • Reading
  • York

Students at the University Park Program will attend sessions on that campus throughout the year, according to the schedule provided at orientation. All students are expected to attend each session, with the following exceptions:

  • Students who are scheduled for a vacation rotation
  • Students on the Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health Clerkship
  • Students on the Med B clerkship at the Hershey Medical Center. (They are invited to join the HMC sessions, but are not required to do so.)

All University Park Program students who are excused from a session for any reason must notify Denise Rill at least one week prior to the scheduled absence. She should also be notified any illness or emergency that results in a student’s unscheduled absence from a session. Students need to copy Gene Marsh, MD. All students will be responsible for any session material missed during an absence, which will be available on PSU Box.

Students are expected to attend all scheduled conferences and participate in all of the clinical experiences scheduled in each Clerkship or Acting Internship. Students are expected to report promptly to all clinical assignments, whether in clinic, hospital wards, operating suites or lecture rooms.

View the full clerkship attendance policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Approval of Away Electives Expand answer

LCME Standard (11.3)

If a medical student at a medical school is permitted to take an elective under the auspices of another medical school, institution, or organization, a centralized system exists in the dean’s office at the home school to review the proposed extramural elective prior to approval and to ensure the return of a performance assessment of the student and an evaluation of the elective by the student.

Penn State College of Medicine policy

Established electives at any LCME-accredited U.S. medical school will be automatically approved. However, students must complete the “Away Elective Form” and submit to the Office of Student Affairs at least two months prior to the beginning of the rotation.

Established electives at affiliate institutions of the Penn State College of Medicine will be automatically approved. However, students must complete the “Away Elective Form” and submit to the Office of Student Affairs at least two months prior to the beginning of the rotation.

Affiliate institutions at which electives are offered include:

  • Lebanon VA Hospital
  • PinnacleHealth System
  • Reading Hospital
  • York Hospital

Other Institutions

For away electives at any other site, students must also complete the “Away Elective Form” and submit to the Office of Student Affairs at least two months prior to the beginning of the rotation. In addition to the form, students must submit the following information.

  1. Course Description: This document should include a detailed description of the educational experiences which will occur on the elective, and a statement detailing the number of hours the student will spend weekly in clinical work. Electives must include at least 40 hours weekly of work within the elective.
  2. Course goals and objectives.
  3. Faculty list: A listing of faculty responsible for educational experiences during the elective. This listing must include an individual or individuals who will be on site with the student.
  4. Attestation: A letter from the course director or supervisor attesting that he/she has reviewed the above documents and that they represent a realistic description of the elective. Note that it is the responsibility of the student to gather the above documents, but the description, goals and objectives should come from the organizers of the elective.

The entire packet of material must be reviewed for approval by the parallel course director at the Penn State College of Medicine. In the absence of a similar elective, the away elective will be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

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Clinical Supervisors of Medical Students Expand answer

The Penn State College of Medicine recognizes and supports the importance of developmental responsibility in medical student education and the need for appropriate medical student supervision in order to protect the safety of patients and students. The level of responsibility delegated to the student must be congruent with the level of training and experience of the student and should increase as the student’s knowledge, skills and overall competence builds. This policy outlines the requirements to meet these needs.

Supervisors for medical students in hospitals and clinics may be physicians, residents, and other health care providers appropriately certified and working within the scope of practice of their profession.

Supervisors in clerkships should either have a faculty appointment or be guided by a physician with a faculty appointment at the College of Medicine.

Supervisors for Phase III/IV medical students must be credentialed by their corresponding hospital in the procedures/skills that they are supervising.

Responsibility

It is the shared responsibility of the supervising physician, the clerkship/course director or site director as well as the respective chair of the department to ensure this policy is followed. Faculty, residents and students must adhere to this policy.

Supervision

  • Supervisors of medical students must be aware of their student’s level of training and the learning objectives of the course or clerkship. Students may only participate in procedures when they are judged to be ready and prepared by their supervisor.
  • While obtaining a patient history or conducting a physical examination, a supervisor must be either physically present with the medical student or readily available.
  • Medical students may enter findings and notes in the patient’s medical record adhering to regulation per training of placement of student notes. The supervising healthcare professional will review medical student documentation and provide feedback for educational purposes.
  • Clinical decisions and orders are never enacted by medical students without a supervisor’s approval.
  • A supervising healthcare professional is required to directly supervise through direct presence or availability, all procedures in which a medical student is involved. The degree of supervision (direct supervision with supervising health professional present or available) will take into account the complexity of the procedure, potential for adverse effects, and the demonstrated competence, maturity and responsibility of each student in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient. The supervising health professional must be credentialed in the procedure being supervised.
  • The principles and practice of informed consent must be followed at all times. Patients should provide consent to have medical students participate in their care.

Monitoring

  • The course/clerkship director, site director, supervising faculty and respective chair of the department share responsibility to ensure this policy is followed.
  • Students with concerns about the adequacy and availability of supervision should contact their course/clerkship director or the Director for Core Clinical Medicine.
  • PSCOM faculty scope of practice is reviewed every two years in the credentialing process.
  • Verification of faculty’s training and competence in procedural skills is verified and signed off by the chair of the respective department.

Distribution

This policy will be distributed annually to all health professionals who supervise medical students in the clinical setting in any PSCOM rotations; the educational leadership at affiliate sites; and all medical students.

View the supervision of medical students in clinical settings policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Communication/Email Expand answer

All announcements regarding all third- and fourth-year courses will be distributed via students’ Outlook email accounts. Students must check their Outlook email frequently. Failure to check this email account is not a valid excuse for missing important course information.

View the email communication document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Course Evaluations / Use of New Innovations and OASIS Expand answer

It is expected that students will complete all course evaluations and faculty evaluations in a timely manner. These evaluations will be distributed by the New Innovations/ OASIS system. Timely completion of evaluations is your professional responsibility and will be tracked by the Office of Medical Education.

Along with evaluations, New Innovations/ OASIS will also be used to log procedures required in your courses and to log your duty hours. You will be expected to effectively use this system, print reports, and submit information electronically. Additional information, including training documents, can be found on ANGEL under the Profession of Medicine II course.

Final clerkship grades will be distributed via New Innovations/OASIS, rather than being distributed via the student mailboxes.

View the full Course Evaluations document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Direct Observation of Clinical Skills, Phase II Expand answer

Clerkship students must be observed, by faculty members, performing focused histories and component physical exams. These observations will be recorded by the students in the New Innovations database, but also require “on paper” documentation with a faculty signature for each history or component physical examination completed. Clerkships will provide students and faculty with clear expectations of the clinical skills which should be demonstrated for each of the required observed histories or examinations. Each observation must be completed during the designated clerkship. It will be the students’ responsibility to seek out the opportunity for the observed exam, but it is clearly expected that students will have the opportunity to be observed for specific examinations during the Clerkships as detailed below. Guidance regarding these opportunities will be provided during each clerkship orientation. Student responsibility in seeking out the experiences early in the rotation is expected and required.

Each exam or history is detailed below, along with the associated clerkship

  • Family Medicine
    • Back Pain Assessment
  • Medicine
    • Cardiac Examination
    • Pulmonary Examination
  • Neurology
    • Eye Examination
    • Neurologic Examination
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Pelvic Examination
  • Pediatrics
    • Newborn Examination
    • Developmental Examination
  • Psychiatry
    • Mental Status Examination
  • Surgery
    • Head and Neck Examination
    • Abdominal Examination
    • Breast Examination

View the direct observation of clinical skills document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Direct Observation of Clinical Skills, Phase IV Expand answer

In partial fulfillment of this requirement, all fourth year students at the Penn State College of Medicine must satisfactorily complete two separate history and physical examinations observed by a faculty member, including attending, fellow or chief resident. These sessions should include a patient history and physical examination appropriate to the presenting problem, and will include observation of the history and physical examination, subsequent discussion of a differential diagnosis and plan, and review with the student regarding performance on this exercise.

Observed history and physical exam sessions may occur in the in-patient or out-patient setting, in any approved clinical rotation (electives or acting internships.) It is the responsibility of each student to seek out opportunities to complete these sessions in a timely fashion. Faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine and its affiliated teaching sites are likewise expected to respond positively whenever possible to student requests for observation. The Office of Medical Education will send yearly reminders to faculty describing this evaluation process. The 1 st required form must be completed by October 31st of the fourth year. The 2nd required form must be completed by January 31st of the fourth year. The Office of Medical Education will contact delinquent students to determine what assistance is needed. This is a graduation requirement for the Penn State College of Medicine.

An evaluation form for this exercise is included with this packet. The student will be evaluated on six competencies; Medical Interviewing Skills, Physical Examination Skills, Clinical Judgment, Communication Skills, Organization and Efficiency, and Humanistic Qualities and Professionalism. Each competency should be ranked as below, meeting, or exceeding expectations as detailed on the form. An overall performance “meeting expectations” defines successful completion of this examination. The final grade should reflect the sum of the individual competencies which were evaluated. Both sides of the form should be completed, including comments, and the evaluation should be discussed with the student. Faculty should rate the student in comparison to other students at a similar level of training.

The completed forms should be returned to the Office of Medical Education.

Dress Code Expand answer

Students are expected to dress professionally for all sessions that involve working with actual or standardized patients. Men should wear khakis or other dress pant with collared shirt and tie. Women should wear slacks and blouse, skirt or dress of an appropriate length. Students are reminded that low cut blouses, short skirts, jeans, t-shirts, open-toed shoes, and sneakers are not considered professional attire.

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Duty Hours Expand answer

Medical students in Phase II

In order to foster the appropriate balance of experience and education, the weekly time spent on clinical and on site educational responsibilities should be determined by the clerkship director and Director of Core Clinical Medicine and must comply with the following maximum limits:

  • a maximum of 80 hours per week;
  • one day free from clinical experience or on-site educational responsibilities in seven averaged over 4 weeks;
  • on call duties no more frequent than once weekly averaged over 4 weeks;
  • a maximum of 24 hours continuous work hours with an additional 4 hour window for on-site educational activities, signout and handoffs.

Medical students in Phases III – IV

In order to foster the appropriate balance of experience and education, the weekly time spent on clinical and on site educational responsibilities should be determined by the course director and Director of Core Clinical Medicine and must comply with the following maximum limits averaged over four weeks

  • a maximum of 80 hours per week;
  • one day free from clinical experience or on-site educational responsibilities in seven;
  • on call duties no more frequent than every third night;
  • a maximum of 24 hours continuous work hours with an additional 4-hour window for on-site educational activities, sign-out and handoffs.

Students should report duty hour violations during Phase II through IV rotations to the Clerkship/Course Director or the Director for Core Clinical Medicine.

Elective Choice Expand answer

In order to effectively guide medical students in the design of their academic course of study and comply with LCME standards, students must meet with their academic advisor to discuss their choices for elective and acting internship courses.

The academic advisor must document that the advising meeting has occurred and that he/she approves the choice of courses. The documentation must be submitted with the list of courses to the College of Medicine’s Registrar, located in the Office of Student Affairs, on or before the deadline for course selection in the electronic course selection system (OASIS). The list of courses should include all of the courses that will be entered into the lottery system for possible enrollment. A student will not be entered into the lottery system for courses until the form is submitted with documentation that the choice of courses has been discussed with and approved by the advisor.

Students are encouraged to meet with their career specialty advisor and/or other faculty members for additional advice and guidance, but these meetings are supplemental to the meeting with the academic advisor described above. Information about the Career Advising Program (CAP) is available from the Office of Student Affairs.

Paper electives choice forms are available in the Office of Medical Education (C1704) and the Office of Student Affairs (C1802).

View the elective choice policy in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Elective Requirements Expand answer

To meet graduation requirements, students in the Penn State College of Medicine must successfully complete a total of at least five (5) four-week elective rotations during the clinical years (Phases II – IV) To complete these 5-required electives:

  • One elective should be taken during Phase II core clerkships.
  • Multiple potential four-week elective blocks are available in Phases III -IV.

The majority of elective courses are available during Phases II – IV of medical school. However, some elective rotations are specifically designed for Phase II students or for Phases III – IV students.

  • Regardless of the year, any listed pre-requisites must have been successfully completed prior to beginning the elective.
  • Those electives that are designated as “third-year” electives have been specifically designed for Phase II students and may only be taken during Phase II of medical school.
  • Those electives that are designated as “fourth-year” electives have been specifically designed for Phases III & IV students and may only be taken during Phases III & IV of medical school.
  • Only one of the elective requirements may be completed as two (2) two-week elective courses. (Current two-week elective courses are all third-year electives and may only be taken by third-year students.)

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Expectations for Students (Phases II-IV) Expand answer

All Phase II Clinical Clerkships, intersession courses, the Integrated Medical Sciences course, and the Acting Internships provide the core of clinical training for students in the Penn State College of Medicine. Successful completion of all clinical clerkships and mandatory Phase II courses are prerequisites for advancement to Phases III – IV, with the exception of the Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health clerkship, which may be taken by October of Phase IV unless granted approval by the Director of Core Clinical Medicine or the Associate Dean of Medical Education. All of the aforementioned courses must be successfully completed as a requirement for graduation from the College of Medicine.

Respecting the primacy of these core courses, it is expected that all students will approach and complete these requirements with responsibility, energy and professionalism. Expectations common to the clinical clerkships, intersession courses, and acting internships can be found in the Resources section.

Requirements for rotation-specific procedure logs will be provided by the individual courses, including specifics of the requirements for the Observed Examination Logs and the Patient Encounter Logs. Students are expected to review and be familiar with the goals, objectives and expectations provided for each clinical rotation and mandatory course.

A full listing of Phases II-IV course requirements is included below. Additional required educational experiences that must be completed during the clinical years are described in Section II: Course and Procedural Policies.

Phase II

The Phase II curriculum begins with a Profession of Medicine II (POM II) course. This course is designed to provide students with necessary basic skills to begin clinical work. The remainder of Phase II includes a sequence of required core clinical clerkships in Internal Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, Psychiatry, Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Surgery. Students also select one “third-year” elective (exact listing can be found on the Educational Affairs website) and complete integrated sessions as a part of the Integrated Medical Sciences course. Student may complete their third year elective and/or Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health clerkship in Phase III-IV.

Phases III-IV

Phases III-IV consists of a discovery phase and residency preparation consisting of elective rotations and required advanced clinical experiences, including acting internships in different clinical fields or one acting internship and one critical care rotation, one humanities selective, the Translating Health Systems Course, and the Profession of Medicine III course (Translation to Internship). The College of Medicine offers a variety of both clinical and research electives. There are many opportunities for clinical opportunities in rural and metropolitan locations across Pennsylvania, in other regions of the country, and abroad. (See reference to away-elective policy.)

Hershey Clerkship Director/Coordinator Contact Information Expand answer
Intersession courses Expand answer

Referring to Profession of Medicine II, Phase II Reflection and Assessment Week, Translating Health Systems, Profession of Medicine III.

Students must attend all components of each Intersession Course. In the event of unexpected illnesses/emergencies, students must contact the Intersession Course Director to report the absence, and to make arrangements to make up the session. All missed class activities must be made up.

Each Intersession will be graded Pass-Fail. Components of the Intersession grade may include, but are not limited to:

  • Attendance at all components of the Intersession Course
  • Active class participation
    Completion of all required assignments
  • Appropriate professional conduct
  • Successful completion of the Intersession post-test

Students who fail the post-test for an Intersession Course may repeat it once.

Students who do not successfully complete an Intersession due to test score or lack of participation will be required to remediate the Intersession Course; remediation must be discussed with the Intersession Director. At the discretion of the Director, remediation requirements may include repeating the Intersession Course during Phase IV.

Students who do not remediate a failing grade for an Intersession Course will be required to appear before the Academic Progress Committee. Successful completion of all Intersession Courses is a graduation requirement for the Penn State College of Medicine.

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Narrative Description of Medical School Performance Expand answer

Narrative assessment is used to provide a student with feedback on his/her progress within PSCOM’s competency and sub-competency domains. Narrative feedback must address both the student’s strengths and specific areas for improvement and must be made available in OASIS to students. Narrative assessment must be provided in all required courses and clerkships in which students work in small groups of 12 or less for at least four or more separate mandatory sessions with the same instructor at each session.

View the narrative description information in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Overview of Clinical Core (Phase II) Expand answer
Overview of Discovery and Residency Prep (Phases III-IV) Expand answer
Patient Care and Procedure Requirements (Procedure Log / Case Log / Observed Exams) Expand answer

Overall

Expectations for Phases II – IV students include demonstration of competency in obtaining patient histories and physical examinations, procedures, and experience in common clinical scenarios as documented in the Case Logger in New Innovations/ OASIS. In all rotations, students are expected to clearly, concisely, and accurately document patient care encounters in written form in the medical record, and to develop organized and accurate oral case presentations.

Students should be familiar with the requirements and procedures for completion of the Procedure and Patient Encounter logs, the Phase II observed physical examination components, and Phases III-IV observed full histories and physical examinations.

Clerkships

It is expected that students will log patient care experiences on a weekly basis, and will self-monitor to ensure that appropriate progress is made toward completion of the requirements. It is expected that students will take advantage of the opportunities provided in each clerkship to meet the patient care/procedure requirements.

Each site director should hold a mid-cycle feedback session with the students. During this time, the students are responsible for printing out a copy of their patient encounter and clerkship-specific procedure log and for bringing it to the session for discussion. During this session, the site director will discuss the students’ plans for completing the required patient encounters/procedures.

At the conclusion of the clerkship, all students must complete 100% of the assigned patient encounters/procedures. The students must bring a printed copy of the encounters and procedures that were completed during the clerkship to the exam for review by the clerkship director. (Please see the New Innovations/ OASIS instructions for instructions on the proper format for printing.) If all encounters and procedures are not completed, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Clerkship Director within two weeks of the end of the clerkship to determine a plan for remediation. If the student does not contact the director, he/she will not pass the course.

Phase IV

All Phase IV students at the Penn State College of Medicine must satisfactorily complete two history and physical examinations observed by a faculty member (including Chief Residents and Fellows). These sessions should include a patient history and physical examination appropriate to the presenting problem, and will include observation of the history and physical examination, subsequent discussion of a differential diagnosis and plan, and a review with the student regarding performance on this exercise. (See Resources Section)

Observed history and physical exam sessions may occur in the in-patient or out-patient setting, in either elective rotations or acting internships. The student is responsible to seek out opportunities to complete these sessions in a timely fashion. Faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine and its affiliated teaching sites are likewise expected to respond positively, whenever possible, to student requests for observation.

These sessions may also occur at affiliate locations, but a separate form (See Resources Section) in addition to the History and Physical Exam form must be completed by the faculty observing you to complete this requirement. This additional Affiliate Site form is required to provide us with contact information for the Affiliate Site faculty member observing you during this encounter.

The first required Observed History and Physical Exam form must be completed by October 31st of Phase IV. The second required form must be completed by January 31st of Phase IV. The Office of Medical Education will contact delinquent students to determine what assistance is needed. Students who have not completed this requirement by the end of January may also be required to meet with the Director of Core Clinical Medicine.

Completion and documentation of the above procedures, patient encounters, and observed examinations are graduation requirements for the Penn State College of Medicine.

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Progression into Phase IV Expand answer

All students must satisfactorily complete all the requirements for Phase II – Clinical Core before progressing to Phase IV – Residency Prep.

Students who have not successfully completed all Phase II – Clinical Core requirements by Oct. 1 of Phase IV will be withdrawn from all Phase III and IV courses until the Phase II requirements are completed. This includes all Core Clerkships, Reflection and Assessment weeks, Profession of Medicine II, the Integrated Medical Sciences course, and successful completion of the end of Phase II OSCE exam. Exceptions to this are approved at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Medical Education or his/her designee.

Remediation of a failed OSCE exam must be completed within 4 months of notification of failure.

Students cannot enter Phase IV courses without having completed specific Phase II requirements listed for that course. All Phase II – Core Clerkships, with the exception of Underserved Medicine and Domestic Health, must be passed to enter an acting internship.

All students must take and PASS the USMLE Step 1 examination by July 31st following Phase II. If a student has not passed Step 1 by then, they must take a Leave of Absence until Step 1 is passed. (See USMLE requirements section for exact details of this requirement.)

View the Progression into Phase IV information in our policy management tool. (ePass required)

Required Courses (Phase II) Expand answer
Required Courses (Phases III-IV) Expand answer
Requirements and Policies for Successful Completion of Clerkships Expand answer

Successful completion of the NBME shelf exam or final exam is a requirement for a Pass grade in those clerkships that use this examination to assess the students’ knowledge.

For each required clerkship, students will be permitted to retake the shelf exam or final exam one time after an initial failure. Two failures of any shelf exam or final exam will result in a failing grade for the clerkship and a requirement to appear before the Academic Progress Committee.

NOTE: If a student is permitted to retake the shelf exam or final exam, the highest course grade that can be achieved following this retake is a PASS.

Students must contact the clerkship director within two weeks of notification of shelf/final exam failure to discuss the shelf exam and make arrangements to retake the exam.

Retake exams are only given on already established exam days for the 4-week, 6-week and 8-week rotations, as well as several alternate exam days setup by the Office of Medical Education. Students should work with the Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator and the Clinical Curriculum Operations Manager to schedule your retake exam at an appropriate time. A 4-week notice is required to schedule these exams.

eNBME Shelf Exam failures must be remediated within four months of the notification of failure.

  • Remediation for the last two clerkship rotations may extend into the fourth year under specific time lines established by the Academic Progress Committee.
  • Students may request to meet with the Director of Core Clinical Medicine for any special circumstances.

In the rare instance a student exam must be rescheduled, it will be under the discretion of the Director of Core Clinical Medicine to determine if the student is responsible for the fees associated with rescheduling. In general, if an exam must be rescheduled due to an illness or at the request of the Office of Medical Education, the student will not be responsible for the fee. If the student is ill and cannot take the exam as scheduled, he/she must provide a note from their physician. If the exam must be rescheduled for any other reason, it will be the responsibility of the student to pay the appropriate exam fees.

Students should note that passing clinical evaluations and a passing score for the shelf examination are necessary to achieve a Pass grade for each Clerkship. Students should also be familiar with the individual grading criteria for each Clerkship, Intersession Course, Acting Internship and elective they take during the third and fourth years.

Per LCME requirements, clerkship directors are required to submit final grades within 6 weeks after completion of the clerkship.

Students have two months after receipt of their clerkship evaluation to discuss the content of their written evaluation for inclusion in the MSPE with the clerkship director. After this period, no changes will be made to the evaluation.

Students who wish to question or challenge their grade assigned in a course must first discuss grading practices and assignments with the instructor. If the student and clerkship director fail to resolve the grade dispute through informal means, students may formally request a grade adjudication from the Vice Dean of Educational Affairs. Students have 5 weeks within receiving the course grade to submit the grade adjudication petition form. They may wish to meet with the Director of Core Clinical Medicine and/or Associate Dean for Medical Education to discuss the process further.

View the requirements and policies for successful completion of clerkships in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Residents as Educators Expand answer

It is required that all residents attend Resident as Educator (RaE) sessions in order to appropriately participate in the education of learners and develop skills as effective educators.

The goal of the Residents as Educators (RaE) sessions is to instruct all Penn State Health residents in evidence-based basic teaching skills to prepare them for working with all learners.

The content for the RaE sessions will include but not be limited to the following:

  • Recognize ways to promote a positive learning climate
  • Discuss competencies and ways to locate rotation specific learning objectives
  • Examine the teaching evaluation tool components.
  • Commit to reviewing and collaborating learning goals with their learners.

Procedures

  1. All residents will complete/attend the scheduled GME orientation. Participation will be recorded and tracked by the Office of Graduate Medical Education.
  2. Residents are expected to complete/attend scheduled CORE GME development sessions. Participation will be recorded and tracked by the Office of GME.
  3. Residents will be encouraged to complete an evaluation after each GME RaE development session. These evaluations will be used to improve future offerings.
  4. Program Directors who choose to embed parts of RaE into their existing curriculum are required to submit materials for review and approval by the Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education each academic year. This will be tracked by the Office of GME in collaboration with the Woodward Center.

View the residents as educators policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Schedule Change Requests Expand answer

Only under special circumstances, and at the discretion of the Director of Core Clinical Medicine, will changes to clerkship assignments be allowed. Changes for elective rotations in the third year and for fourth-year schedules are not permitted within eight (8) weeks prior to the start date of the rotation.

View schedule change requests information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

University Park Clerkship Director/Coordinator Contact Information Expand answer

Security/IT

Active Shooter/Extreme Violence Incident Management Policy Expand answer
Crisis Response Telephone Numbers Expand answer

The Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine will utilize the on-campus telephone extension 8888 as an emergency number that can be used to report extremely serious events observed by our campus community, while still maintaining established campus extensions for non-emergency security or facilities related calls.

If you are not using a campus phone (i.e., if you’re on your cell phone), you can call 717-531-8888.

Extension 8888 should be called in an emergency situation to report:

  • violent or extremely serious security incidents;
  • fire, chemical, or other serious building safety related emergencies;
  • medical emergencies.

Calling extension 8888 will place the caller in immediate contact with the medical center switchboard who will then appropriately direct the call.

For other Security incidents or service requests from Security, extension 8711 should be called to reach the 24-hour Security Operations Center (SOC).

Facilities-related issues are received at the Buildings Operation Center (BOC), extension 8096.

View the crisis response telephone numbers in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Documentation in Electronic Health Records - Medical Students Expand answer

The policy was written to state the Penn State College of Medicine’s position on a medical student writing notes in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (HMC). The policy seeks to

  • Protect the educational value of student note writing
  • Adhere to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) guidelines
  • Be feasible and practical
  1. Medical students shall only access the records of individuals for whom they are providing direct patient care.
  2. Students shall follow the privacy regulations set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) at all times.
  3. Students are expected to document medical care in the EHR during clinical rotations at the HMC.
  4. Teaching physicians are responsible to provide proper documentation for billing purposes.
  5. Teaching physicians may attest a resident’s note, but must personally document their service if only a student note is available. As per CMS guidelines, physicians of record as well as residents and fellows may only refer to the medical student note for documentation of the Review of Systems, Past Medical History, Family History, or Social History. Teaching physicians must personally document all other components of a History & Physical, including the Chief Complaint, History of Present Illness, Physical Examination, Assessment and Plan in a separate electronic note in order to meet CMS guidelines and to ensure accurate billing and coding.
  6. Teaching physicians or their resident designee shall review the student note for accuracy in order to ensure appropriate content, accuracy, and professionalism and to provide feedback and teaching to the student. At the discretion of each departmental chair, the final signer of the note may be a faculty member, fellow, or resident.
  7. Students may not serve as scribes. Teaching physicians may not refer to or rely on a student’s documentation of physical exam findings, medical decision making, or history of present illness in their personal notes.
  8. Students may participate in the development of Discharge Instructions and Discharge Summary as permitted by the course director and patient care team.
  9. Students rotating outside of the HMC system shall follow the policies and procedures for medical student documentation of the host facility.

Procedure Steps and Rules

  1. The EHR system shall clearly list the title of a medical student entered note as “Medical Student Note”. Currently the system allows notes by “Service”, “Venue”, and “Note Type”. The committee suggests that by listing “Service” as “Medical Student Note”, medical students would have their own set of documents that they could author. These notes shall include History & Physical, Progress Note, Consult, Clinic Note, and Phone Note. In this way, medical student authors would be clearly identified, which would assist with coding/billing and accountability.
  2. The medical student notes shall be organized within the current note framework of the system.
  3. While there would be a separate note type for medical students, the note shall be intermeshed with notes written by other authors organized by “Venue” and “Note Type”. For instance, a “Medical Student In-Patient Note” would appear within In-Patient Notes; a “Medical Student H&P” would appear within H&P’s.
  4. Final signature of the student note may be the attending, fellow, or resident, as determined by the respective chair in each corresponding department.
  5. Publishing Status. Medical student notes shall be viewable to all after completion by the student and before final signing.
  6. If possible, all medical student-type notes should not allow importing of the billing template to serve as added measure to avoid billing error.

View the Documentation in Electronic Health Records policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Emergency Contact Information Expand answer

It the students’ responsibility to ensure the appropriate contact information, including emergency contacts, is up-to-date on eLion. In the event of an emergency, Penn State personnel may need to contact you or someone close to you.

Approximately every six months, when you log in to eLion, you will be required to provide or confirm your emergency contact information and, optionally, your cell phone number and carrier.

PSU Alert Expand answer

PSUAlert is Penn State’s emergency notification system for students, faculty and staff. The system will be used to alert members of Penn State’s campus communities of emergencies, campus closings and other urgent information. Using this portal, students, faculty and staff can choose to receive PSUAlert messages by text message, voice message and e-mail. (The system will never be used to send advertising or spam messages.)

View the PSU Alert information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Weather Emergency Policy Expand answer

Decision Plan

The possibility of severe weather conditions during the academic school year requires the College of Medicine to be prepared to modify its normal academic schedule from time-to-time.

When a weather emergency is called by the national weather bureau, Penn State College of Medicine may decide to cancel classes when the local authorities determine that roads are unsafe and suggest the closure of schools and non-essential businesses in the area.

The decision to close school or delay the start of classes at the College of Medicine is made by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs after a thorough examination of current and predicted weather conditions.

Initial Notifications

Once the decision has been made, the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will contact the Senior Director, Educational Affairs who will initiate the notification process using the attached phone tree. The Senior Director will notify the Strategic Services on-call person at pager 1484.

Communication Plan

Any decision changing the College of Medicine’s normal operating school hours caused by ice, snow or other unexpected weather event, shall be announced as soon as the decision is known, in the following manner:

  • Posted on the Penn State Hershey Web site in a number of locations (Strategic Services).
  • Sent via e-mail to students, the Office of Medical Education and course co-directors.
  • Medical students will be contacted by the Office of Medical Education.
  • Graduate students will be contacted by the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.

One of the following messages will be made if an announcement is made to cancel or delay the start of classes at the Penn State College of Medicine. Due to limited space/time on TV and radio announcements, we will limit our announcement to one of the below.

  1. Penn State College of Medicine: Two-hour delay for classes.
  2. Penn State College of Medicine: Classes are canceled.

Please note that these announcements apply to Year I and Year II medical student classes, and graduate student classes. Year III and Year IV medical students should continue their patient care responsibilities.

On the web, the following messages will be used:

  1. Delay for Penn State College of Medicine: Two-hour delay for Year I and Year II medical student classes, graduate student classes. Year III and Year IV medical students should make all attempts to continue their patient care responsibilities. Graduate students should check with their thesis advisors for laboratory activities.
  2. Cancellation for Penn State College of Medicine: Classes are canceled for Year I and Year II medical students, and graduate students. Year III and Year IV medical students should make all attempts to continue their patient care responsibilities. Graduate students should check with their thesis advisors for laboratory activities.

In November of each year, this plan for handling weather emergencies will be issued to the medical students, graduate students, and faculty.

View weather emergency information in the policy management portal. (ePass login required)

Student Health

Student Health Services Expand answer

Hershey

View more information about the Student Health Services in Hershey.

University Park

Penn State College of Medicine provides all medical students with timely access to needed diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic health services at sites in reasonable proximity to the locations of their required educational experiences. At the University Park (UP) Campus, healthcare is available locally for University Park Program students at University Health Services (UHS) located at Penn State University, 438 Student Health Center, University Park, PA 16802.

Healthcare for UP Program students is also available at the Hershey campus, located at 845 Fishburn Road, Hershey, PA 17033; telephone number 717-531-5998.

The University Park Campus has policies and procedures in place that permit our students to be excused from educational experiences to seek needed care. Please review such policies to comply with requirements for excused absences.

Health Records

Penn State College of Medicine ensures that medical student health records are maintained in accordance with legal requirements for security, privacy, confidentiality, and accessibility. A record of care provided through UHS is maintained electronically at this facility for all students being treated there. A separate record of care for all students treated through Student Health at the Fishburn Road office in Hershey is also maintained. Note these are two different Electronic Medical Records.

Blood Borne Pathogen Infection Policy Expand answer
Care of Medical Students at Student Health Expand answer

Faculty members who provide psychiatric/psychological counseling or other sensitive health services to medical students will have no involvement in the academic evaluation or promotion of the student receiving those services.

This policy will be carried out by insuring the following:

There are designated non-faculty student health providers at Hershey in the Offices of Student Health and Student Mental Health and Counseling, and at University Park in the University Health Services who can provide health and/or psychiatric/psychological services to students. These designated student health providers have no involvement in the academic assessment of or decisions about the promotion of medical students. If a faculty member provides health and/or psychiatric/psychological services to medical students he/she will subsequently have no current or future involvement in the academic assessment of, or in decisions about the promotion of the students receiving those services.

Faculty members who serve on medical student admission or promotion committees must recuse themselves from any academic assessment or promotion decisions about students for whom they have provided health services and/or psychiatric/psychological services.  Similarly, course directors must recuse themselves from any academic assessment or promotion decisions about students for whom they have provided health and/or psychiatric/psychological services.

Should emergent or urgent conditions or consultations arise for which a student must see a provider who is not a designated student health provider, that provider must recuse him/herself from any subsequent involvement in the academic assessment of or promotion decisions for that student.

When students are on away rotations and need health care services, a preceptor should refer a student to a designated student health service if available.  If not, the preceptor should refer the student to another member of the practice or physician in the community who can competently care for the student and who has no involvement in the academic assessment of or promotion decisions for that student.

Students, faculty members and staff members will be informed of this policy on a yearly basis.

View the care of medical students at student health policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Completing Forms for Phase IV Medical Students for Clerkships Expand answer

To help expedite form completions, please follow the instructions below:

  • Student Health has your immunization record and lab titers.
  • Copies can be obtained by calling the Student Health office at 717 531-5998 or send an email to Student_Health@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. These are available for you to complete your medical forms for rotations at hospital sites away from the Hershey Medical Center.
  • Each site can have different requirements. Look at each form carefully to determine what information the school needs to process your paperwork. Be sure you have completed all requirements. If you have questions please call the Student Health office for assistance.
  • Determine how the form is to be delivered to the school, uploaded into VSAS, mailed or faxed.
  • Student Health can assist with uploading your health forms to VSAS or we will give the signed documents back to you to send to the schools that are not in the VSAS system.
  • If the form needs a signature from Student Health, you can e-mail it to  Student_Health@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. Another alternative is to fax the form to 717-531-0129 or bring it to the office. Please allow 2 to 3 business days to complete your request.

View completing forms for clerkships in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Disability Insurance Requirement Expand answer
  1. All students enrolled in the College of Medicine’s educational program leading to an MD degree are required to have the disability insurance which is arranged through the College of Medicine.
    • Coverage is provided by Med Plus Advantage, which is sponsored by the American Medical Association.
    • Insurance rider can be found on www.medplusadvantage.com and enter ID number: 644220. 4.
  2. An electronic announcement declaring the requirements and the dates for payment of the disability insurance will be sent to the students by the accountant in the College of Medicine’s Office of the Bursar to all medical students on the second Monday in July. This announcement will include the following:
    • Specific requirements
    • Dates for completion
    • Consequences for non-compliance, to include:
      • A meeting with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions
      • Notification to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs
      • A professionalism form citation to the student file
      • Withdrawal from classes until the issue is resolved
  3. Two weeks after the initial announcement, a follow-up reminder for the requirements and the dates for completion will be sent out by the accountant in the College of Medicine’s Office of the Bursar. This reminder will include the following:
    • Specific requirements
    • Dates for completion
    • Consequences for non-compliance, to include:
      • A meeting with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions
      • Notification to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs
      • A professionalism form citation to the student file
      • Withdrawal from classes until the issue is resolved
  4. Records of completion will be maintained in the Office of the Bursar.
  5. One week after the reminder is sent out to the students, a list of non-compliant students will be forwarded by the Office of the Bursar to the Director, Office of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions.
  6. The Director, Office of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions will send a note to the con-compliant students, reinforcing the consequences for noncompliance.
  7. Two days prior to the deadline for completion, a list of non-compliant students will be forwarded to the Director in the Office of Medical Education and the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs.
  8. This list will include the student names, contact information, and their course location.
  9. All students who have not responded to the Office of the Bursar on the deadline date will be considered non-compliant, and the following actions will be taken:
    • Issue a professionalism citation with a copy to their student file (Office of Medical Education)
    • Schedule a meeting for the student to meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions (Office of Student Affairs)
    • Withdraw the student from the course until the issue is resolved (Office of Medical Education).
  10. Once the issue is resolved, the student will be reinstated to his/her course by the Office of Medical Education.

View the disability insurance requirement in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Health Insurance Requirement Expand answer

All students enrolled in the College of Medicine’s educational program leading to an M.D. degree are required to have health insurance.

An electronic announcement declaring the requirements and the dates for completion of the health insurance forms will be sent to the students by the accountant in the College of Medicine’s Office of the Bursar to all medical students in early June.

This announcement will include the following:

  • Specific requirements
  • Dates for completion – these dates will be set for one-week prior to the University’s deadlines to give enough time for the Office of the Bursar to meet the University-established target date.
  • Consequences for non-compliance, to include:
    • A meeting with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions,
    • Notification to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs,
    • A professionalism form citation to the student file, and
    • Withdrawal from classes until the issue is resolved

During the second week of July, a follow-up reminder for the requirements and the dates for completion will be sent out by the accountant in the College of Medicine’s Office of the Bursar.

This reminder will include the following:

  • Specific requirements
  • Dates for completion – these dates will be set for one-week prior to the University’s deadlines to give enough time for the Office of the Bursar to meet the University-established target date.
  • Consequences for non-compliance, to include:
    • A meeting with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions,
    • Notification to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs,
    • A professionalism form citation to the student file, and
    • Withdrawal from classes until the issue is resolved

Records of completion will be maintained in the Office of the Bursar.

One week after Medical Student Orientation, the reminder is sent out to the students, a list of non-compliant students will be forwarded by the Office of the Bursar to the Director, Office of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions.

The Director, Office of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions will send a note to the non-compliant students, reinforcing the consequences for non-compliance.

One week prior to the deadline for completion, a list of non-compliant students will be forwarded to the Director in the Office of Medical Education and the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. This list will include the student names, contact information, and their course location.

All students who have not responded to the Office of the Bursar on the deadline date will be considered non-compliant, and the following actions will be taken:

  • Issue a professionalism citation with a copy to their student file (Office of Medical Education)
  • Schedule a meeting for the student to meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions (Office of Student Affairs)
  • Withdraw the student from the course until the issue is resolved (Office of Medical Education).

Once the issue is resolved, the student will be reinstated to his/her course by the Office of Medical Education.

View the health insurance requirement policy in the policy tool. (ePass login required)

Immunization Requirement Expand answer

All students are required to meet the immunization requirements set forth by the College of Medicine’s Office of Student Health. Failure to complete the immunizations by the due date established by the Office of Student Health will result in one or more of the following consequences

  1. Inability to begin classes or clinical rotation at the beginning of the semester. If in the middle of a clinical rotation, the student will be pulled immediately.
  2. Scheduled meeting with the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
  3. Documentation of the College of Medicine’s professionalism report form
  4. Inability to register for a new semester of classes
  5. Revoking of University privileges including but not limited to issuance of grades, issuance of transcripts, registration for subsequent semesters, participation in graduation ceremonies, awarding of a degree and participation in classroom examinations. Access to eLion and/or ABLE may be suspended.

If a student has an extenuating circumstance that makes it impossible to meet the immunization due date, the student must contact the Office of Student Health at least one (1) week before the due date. The contact information for the Office of Student Health is 717-531-6126, Room C-1607.

View the immunization requirements in the policy management tool. (ePass login requirement)

Infectious Disease Prevention Program Expand answer

Preventive Health Requirements for New Medical Students

  • Prior to matriculation all students must undergo a complete history and physical examination.
  • The results of the examination must be reported to the College of Medicine Student Health Office. These records will be maintained confidentially in the Student Health Office.
  • Students identified by reviewing pre matriculation physical examination reports as having a chronic illness or other need to establish care will be contacted by the Student Health Office to schedule an appointment.
  • All students are encouraged to get yearly health maintenance exams to screen for hypertension and other illness.
  • Student Health services also offers yearly gynecological exams.

Tuberculosis Prevention

  • 2 step PPD administered 1 to 3 weeks apart. An IGRA TB blood test is recommended for those with a history of BCG vaccination or allergy to the PPD skin test. TB testing is required within 10 weeks prior to beginning classes and annually thereafter students are required to have a Mantoux PPD or T-spot for Tuberculosis screening
  • If a student has a positive test for exposure to Tuberculosis or there is a history of positive PPD, a chest x-ray must be done 10 weeks prior to matriculation in the first year of medical school.

Tuberculosis Exposure

  • Treated PPD positive students should provide physician documentation of completed prophylactic isoniazid therapy.
  • Students with a positive PPD will continue to be followed annually during medical school. Students will be contacted by Student Health to confirm that they have not developed symptoms of Tuberculosis. If symptoms are present a chest x-ray will be repeated, and the student will be given appropriate therapy if an active case is found.
  • All PPD positive students will be counseled about treatment options. Students converting during medical school to a positive tuberculin test will be given, free of charge, the necessary medications, blood work monitoring and studies.

Hepatitis B Prevention

  • Documentation of current immunization with a series of 3 doses or a positive quantitative Hepatitis B surface antibody titer is required prior to matriculation. A challenge dose is recommended for those who were not tested 1-2 months after a 3 dose series. Obtain a quantitative titer 1-2 months after the challenge dose. If quantitative Hepatitis B titer is negative the student will repeat the entire series.
  • A quantitative titer will be redrawn 1 to 2 months after the completion of the second series of Hepatitis B vaccine.
  • If a student again fails to demonstrate immunologic response to the vaccine they will be counseled and given information about receiving Hepatitis B immunoglobulin in the event of an invasive exposure.

Varicella Prevention

  • Varicella antibody IgG titer is required for those students with a history of chicken pox. No titer is required for students with documentation of two vaccines. If the student has a history of the disease and a negative titer, but not documentation of immunizations, a series of 2 Varicella injections should be given.
  • If a student has further concerns about a negative titer they will be referred to an Infectious Disease provider.

Polio

  • Documentation of completed primary polio series is required prior to matriculation.
  • If no documentation is available then confirmation of immunity must be done with titer. If the titer is negative students will be vaccinated with 3 dose of IPV vaccine.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella

  • Prior to matriculation medical students are required to have two doses of vaccine given after 12 months of age or a positive Measles, Mumps and Rubella antibody IgG titer.

Meningitis

  • One dose of MCV4-Meningococcal conjugate serogroups ACWY immunization on or after 16th birthday is required for all students who will reside in campus housing. No revaccination is currently required.
  • Students who decline immunization may sign a waiver to meet housing requirements.

Influenza

  • Influenza vaccination is strongly recommended annually.
  • Immunizations are offered yearly, as supplies allow, in the fall. Students are not charged for influenza vaccinations.

Tetanus/Diphtheria/Acellular Pertussis

  • This is the recommended vaccine as of 10/26/20005 by the ACIP for adults having a Tetanus immunization. All students need a TDAP. Subsequent vaccines of Td/Tdap will be administered as per recommended schedule thereafter.
  • A tetanus booster prior to admission to medical school should be given within the past 5 years.

Invasive Incidents

  • If an invasive incident or exposure occurs students are expected to call the sharps hotline at 717 531-7775. Report immediately for care at Employee Health and are to follow the invasive incident protocol. If Employee Health is closed, students should go to the Emergency Department for treatment. Any required follow up lab testing will be done through Student Health. Please note protocol will be different in University Park.

Visiting Medical Students

  • Visiting medical students are required to meet the same immunizations requirements as currently enrolled students.
  • Student Health personnel review vaccine records of visiting students. Outstanding requirements are reported to the department sponsoring the student’s clinical clerkship.
  • It is the responsibility of the clinical department to insure all requirements are met. Student Health personnel may be consulted on the requirements if interpretation is needed.

Travel Immunization

  • Student Health does not provide travel immunizations. Students are referred to local travel clinics.

Occupational Exposure

  • Students are required to have mask fit testing prior to the start of the clinical rotations. During clinical skills week prior to the clinical year’s students will be educated in the method of prevention of air borne and blood borne pathogens and procedure to follow should exposure occur.
  • The medical school will assure the financial responsibility for treatment of HIV exposure and prophylaxis as well as conversion to a positive PPD.

View the infectious disease program in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Injuries in Anatomy Lab Expand answer

Wear all required protective gear for every session, during class hours or after hours.

Small Lacerations

Wash the wound with soap and copious amounts of water. Place a dry sterile dressing over the area. A band-aid is appropriate and antibiotic ointment may be used. Medical student’s tetanus immunization should be within five years, if you are unsure call Student Health at 717-531-5998 to verify the date. If it is after hours call the office the next day.

Watch the area for signs of infection such as worsening redness, pus, soreness and red streaks on skin as the area heals.

Larger Lacerations

Larger lacerations are those roughly approaching 1 centimeter or above. The wound should be washed with soap and copious amounts of water. If bleeding can be controlled use a bandage and watch for signs of infection as listed above. If bleeding cannot be stopped in 5-10 minutes, cover the area with a clean and absorbent towel and keep the area elevated.

Student Health should be called at 717-531-5998 for an appointment for suturing of the wound. After office hours contact nurse triage or the family medicine physician on call for triage advice. Call Student Health if you are unsure of your tetanus immunization status.

Serious Injuries and Wounds

Student Health (5998) can be called first to triage a student to the appropriate place unless a wound is life-, limb- or sight-threatening. These injuries should go to the Emergency Department, calling extension 8444 for transport when appropriate.

Loss of consciousness with trauma to the head should go directly to the Emergency Department. If students are unable to walk extension 8444, should be called for assistance.

Large wounds with rapid blood loss or involving nerves, tendon or bone should go to the Emergency Department for treatment.

For injuries requiring Emergency treatment, the College of Medicine will pay the student’s remaining patient bill for emergency room/ambulance service after the student demonstrates that their health insurance carrier has fulfilled their payment responsibilities.

View the policy for injuries in the anatomy lab in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

International Student & Dependent Waiver Standards for Student Health Insurance Plan Expand answer
  1. U.S. carrier or entity is approved to do business in the U.S. and compliant with all guidelines of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and;
  2. Carrier has a filed and approved health insurance policy with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Insurance or has a sponsored insurance plan that meets the waiver standards and is approved by the Student Health Insurance Office, together with a letter of financial guarantee directly from the Plan Sponsor;
  3. Coverage for 100% of preventive and contraceptive care (preventive examinations, immunizations and screening tests, as required by the PPACA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for student health insurance plans);
  4. Coverage for pre-existing conditions with no waiting period;
  5. Deductible no greater than $500;
  6. Coverage for all essential benefits for accident and sickness, including prescription drug coverage, without a limitation;
  7. Pregnancy as any other illness or injury;
  8. Inpatient and outpatient mental health/substance abuse as any other condition;
  9. No exclusions for injury or illness as a result of alcohol, drugs or attempted suicide;
  10. Worldwide coverage;
  11. $3,000 In-Network out-of-pocket maximum;
  12. $15,000/$30,000 Out-of-Network out-of-pocket maximum;OR U.S. employer-sponsored health insurance in place of standards #1 – 12; 14. AND Medical evacuation ($100,000)/Repatriation ($50,000) minimum limits.

View the student health insurance plan waiver standards in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Medical Students Experiencing Health Needs at Affiliate Institutions Expand answer

Penn State College of Medicine students should not be treated by health care providers who are responsible for their education and academic evaluation. If a student at an academic affiliate is ill they should be referred to Penn State College of Medicine’s Student Health office when possible. Medical students should be allowed time away from their clerkship to travel and be seen at Student Health. Make up of time missed is based on Penn State College of Medicine individual department clerkship requirements.

If the distance or the acuity of the illness makes this unreasonable other options exist. An ill student could be treated by a colleague who is not involved in the student’s academic evaluation. Emergency department services at affiliate sites may be used when appropriate. Medical care provided to medical students at affiliate institutions is the financial responsibility of the student and their medical insurance carrier.

Medical students experiencing mental health issues while at affiliate institutions should be referred to Dr. Holder or Student Health at Penn State College of Medicine. The relevant LCME standard states:

“The health professional that provides psychiatric/ psychological counseling or other sensitive health services to medical students must have no involvement in the academic evaluation or promotion of the students receiving those services.”

In the rare instances when a medical student is acutely psychiatrically ill, including being suicidal, homicidal or psychotic an affiliate institution should take several steps. First and foremost the student’s and the public’s safety should be considered. A student may be taken to an emergency department or available psychiatric services and involuntary commitment may be pursued when appropriate. In a severe case where a student is a danger to themselves or others the following individuals should be notified:

  • Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Dr. Terry Wolpaw, 717-531-3876
  • Director, Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling, Dr. Kelly Holder, 717-531-8658

This policy will be reviewed with students prior to going into the clinical years. It will also be distributed annually to affiliate institutions.

View Medical Students Experiencing Health Needs at Affiliate Institutions in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Sharps Injury/Blood and Body Fluid Exposure at Hershey Expand answer

Procedure Steps

  • Wash needle sticks and cuts with soap and water
  • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth or skin with soap and water
  • Irrigate eyes with clean water
  • Report injury/exposure to the supervising physician and ensure source is tested
  • CALL THE SHARPS INJURY HOTLINE at 717-531-7775
  • Report to Employee Health or the Emergency Department as directed by the Hotline
  • Follow -up with Student Health at (717) 531-5998 on the next business day

Procedure at Unaffiliated Clinic Sites or Other Institutions

  • Report injury/exposure to the supervising physician and ensure source is tested
  • Follow the institution/hospital’s established policy for exposure
  • Call the SHARPS INJURY HOTLINE at 717-531-7775
  • Students are expected to seek care during a rotation for sharps injuries or bodily fluid exposures and should do this immediately after the incident
  • Follow-up with Student Health at (717) 531-5998 on the next business day

View the sharps injury/blood and body fluid exposure in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Sharps Injury/Blood and Body Fluid Exposure at University Park Expand answer

Students exposed at Mount Nittany Medical Center will have the initial evaluation and baseline testing completed through the normal Mount Nittany Medical Center process. Report incident to the provider they are working with, followed by Employee Health Service, so that they can direct them to the Emergency Department and process testing for source patient. When seen at the Emergency Department the student will need to provide their medical insurance information so the charges can be processed. Any balance remaining after the insurance payment will be paid by the College of Medicine. Submit these bills to Student Health Services at Hershey Medical Center.

Students will need to complete a Mount Nittany non-employee event report by typing event report in search located on the connect home page. Students should call the Hershey Medical Center Sharps Injury Hotline at 717 531-7775 and call HMC Employee Health.

Source patient testing will be conducted through Mount Nittany Medical Center Employee Health.

Serial testing to be completed at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months as per the College of Medicine’s protocol.

Mount Nittany Medical Center will correspond in writing and by telephone with student all baseline testing results.

Student will notify Student Health at Hershey Medical Center when due for subsequent testing to obtain a lab requisition.

Student Health will provide laboratory requisition for testing at the appropriate testing dates and direct the student to the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Benner Pike Laboratory.

View the sharps injury/blood and body fluid exposure in University Park in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Students with Clinical Rotations at Affiliate Sites - Vaccine Records Info Expand answer

Students who will be at the College of Medicine affiliate sites for clinical rotations must notify Student Health services at 717 531-5998 to send their immunization records.

Please give the office 48 hours advance notice to complete your request. All students are required to get an influenza vaccine yearly or sign an influenza vaccination declination form. Students who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while in patient care during flu season, approximately December to May.

If you choose to get your vaccine at another location it is your responsibility to provide documentation to us and your clinical sites. If you cannot come to the flu clinics provided by our services please call the office to arrange a time to receive the vaccine.

View the vaccine records info at affiliate sites in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Student Services

Housing Expand answer

University Manor is a housing complex situated on the campus of Penn State College of Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

University Manor apartments are divided into two sections, University Manor East and University Manor West. University Manor East consists of 248 garden-style apartments. There are 24 one-bedroom apartments, 208 two-bedroom apartments, and 16 three-bedroom apartments. University Manor West consists of 31 four-bedroom (furnished) apartments. The four-bedroom suites have a closed hallway separating the bedrooms from the living area, allowing privacy to each tenant. All of the apartments are solidly constructed, designed to make them as soundproof and fireproof as possible.

See more information on student housing here.

Housing & Transportation (Clerkships) Expand answer

It is expected that all students have access to transportation for their clinical rotations. Student schedules will not be changed due to transportation problems.

In general, housing is provided for all clerkship rotations with sites greater than one hour from Hershey (with the exception of St. Margaret in Pittsburgh). If the site is located within one hour, housing will not be provided and you should plan to stay in your apartment at Hershey and commute to your site location.

View the Housing & Transportation for Clerkships information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)

Student Mental Health & Counseling Expand answer

The Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling (OSMHC) is designed to meet the needs of Penn State College of Medicine students with compassion, honesty, and confidentiality. All issues are taken seriously – no problem is “too small” to talk about.

The years of graduate school and medical training can be among of the most exciting and gratifying of a person’s life. However, being a student can also cause significant amounts of stress and uncertainty. During these times, students may find it helpful to have additional support and encouragement. The OSMHC is available to provide assistance and guidance students need to achieve personal and academic success.

See information on student mental health and counseling here.

Parking and Transportation Expand answer
  • The patient/visitor parking areas are designated for patients and visitors only. Employees/students parking in these areas other than to attend a clinic visit will be ticketed.
  • Students should park in their assigned parking area only.
  • Vehicles owned or operated by employees/students must have a valid Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center/Penn State College of Medicine parking sticker displayed on the back rear or back passenger window at all times.
  • The acceptance by the employee/student of the privilege to park or drive a motor vehicle on campus shall constitute acceptance of the responsibility to see that any vehicle owned or operated in his or her name is not parked in violation of these regulations. It also shall constitute acceptance of the appropriate penalty when violations are cited.
  • Parking tickets/violations will be issued by Security for violation of campus parking regulations. If penalties/fines are not paid or appealed within ten days of the violation being issued, your student account will be placed on hold and will remain on hold until all outstanding citations have been paid in full.
  • Employees/students who repeatedly violate any provision of the Parking Rules and Regulations may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  • The fact that other vehicles are parked improperly shall not constitute an excuse for parking any part of the motor vehicle outside or over a prescribed parking space.
  • It is not feasible to mark with signs or paint all areas of Medical Center or College of Medicine property where parking is prohibited. Parking is prohibited on walks, grassy areas, dirt areas, parking lot curb areas, graveled areas (unless specified for parking), in fire lanes, in loading zones, in service drives, at yellow curbs, at hatched-painted areas, at any posted prohibition, in traffic lanes, at traffic signs or signals, by fire hydrants, at building egress points, or in any other area that is not designed specifically by marks as a parking space.
  • Vehicles may not be store on campus at any time. Any vehicle found to be stored may be towed at the owner’s expense.
  • Any vehicle parked on campus shall be parked at the owner’s risk. PSHMC assumes no responsibilities for theft, damage, or personal injury.
  • Employees/students may find it necessary to use a rental/temporary car. Anyone using a rental/temporary vehicle should contact Parking Services with the vehicle information for every rental/temporary vehicle in order to obtain a temporary permit sticker.
  • If you are living on campus at University Manor East (UME) or University Manor West (UMW) you must park in your Housing assigned parking space only. Those living on campus at UME or UMW may not park anywhere else on campus per Housing’s Rules and Regulations.
  • To accommodate our growing campus, it may be necessary for Parking Services to change or adjust any of the parking rules and regulations. Parking Services reserves the right to alter any of these rules or regulations at any time. For the most up to date information regarding parking, see the Parking Services Infonet page (ePass login required) or contact Parking Services at parkingservices@pennstatehealth.psu.edu or 717-531-3713 with questions.

Penn State College of Medicine University Park Program offices and classrooms are located on the third floor of the Centre Medical Sciences Building, located at 1850 East Park Avenue, State College, PA 16803. Students and residents are asked to reserve parking spaces closest to the building for patients.

Mount Nittany Medical Center is located at 1800 East Park Avenue, State College, PA 16803. Medical students and residents are asked to park in Lot B2. Students and residents are not permitted to park in the Physician’s lot.

Students must otherwise obey all Penn State University parking policies. The Penn State University Parking page has more.

There is a shuttle available between University Park and Hershey. You can find more information at the University Park-Hershey Shuttle page.

Wellness / University Fitness Center Expand answer

The University Fitness Center welcomes you to become a part of our dynamic fitness center. Serving the entire community, the UFC is where you will find a friendly atmosphere with all the support you need to achieve your personal fitness goals.

Membership is free for students defined as full-time Penn State University students that are enrolled in one of the following Penn State College of Medicine programs:

  • Medical School
  • Graduate School
  • Physician Assistant Program
  • College of Nursing

See information on University Fitness Center here.