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About the Vice Dean
Dr. Terry Wolpaw is Vice Dean for Educational Affairs and a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, at Penn State College of Medicine.
Dr. Wolpaw completed a Master of Health Professions Education degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focused on the expression of clinical reasoning and uncertainties in case presentations. She developed the SNAPPS technique for case presentations to preceptors, which is used by medical students, residents and physician assistant students both nationally and internationally. Dr. Wolpaw earned her medical degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
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)
The purview of the Academic Progress Committee is to approve the promotion of students in the doctor of medicine program as defined by the competency domains of Penn State College of Medicine. It is the job of the APC to make promotion determinations for all students, and develop and enforce individualized plans for those students with deficiencies in some aspect of the medical education program competencies. In addition, the APC will make recommendations to the Dean of the College of Medicine with respect to those students who the APC determines should be dismissed from the medical education program for academic reasons.
The Academic Progress Committee is composed of four basic science department chairs (voting members) and four clinical department chairs (voting members), each of whom shall be selected for APC membership as follows:
Chairs who wish to serve on the APC may nominate themselves for membership or be nominated by another member of their respective Chairs’ Council. The Chairs’ Council will vote to choose the member(s) that the Council will propose to the Faculty Organization for approval. The chair of the APC will submit the slate of candidates for APC membership to the Faculty Organization for approval.
Each Chair selected by Faculty Organization for APC membership shall serve an initial term of three years, and may serve one additional consecutive three-year term thereafter. After two consecutive terms (totaling six years), that Chair may not serve on the APC for a three-year period. At the end of the three-year period, that Chair will again be eligible to be nominated for membership on the APC.
If, for any reason, an APC member is unable to complete their three-year term, their respective Chairs Council shall select a successor who shall serve until expiration of the member’s term.
In addition, the following non-voting members will serve on the APC: the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs (Ex-officio, non-voting), Vice Dean for the Regional Medical Campus (Ex-officio, non-voting), Associate Dean for Student Affairs (Ex-officio, non-voting), Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation (Ex-officio, non-voting) and Associate Deans for Medical Education at the Hershey and University Park campuses (Ex-officio, non-voting members).
The chair of the APC is elected by the committee’s voting members for a term of up to three years. They may be re-elected for one additional term of up to three years as APC chair, with the length of the terms for APC chair dependent on the number of years remaining in their tenure on the Committee.
A quorum of the APC for all purposes shall be at six voting members in attendance, in person or by telephonic communication.
Scope of Responsibility
It is the responsibility of the Academic Progress Committee to ensure students in the doctor of medicine program have met the requirements for promotion and ultimately, the MD degree. In performing this function, the APC may meet with a student to address specific performance deficiencies. For example, the APC may schedule a meeting in the following circumstances:
- A student whose performance in Phase I is of concern as evidenced by a grade of “Does Not Meet Expectations” (DNM) in two or more courses or other required College of Medicine curriculum activities, or failure to successfully remediate a DNM. The performance concern may encompass deficits in more than one competency such as Knowledge for Practice, Problem-based Learning and Improvement, and Critical Thinking, among others.
- A student whose performance in Phases II-IV is of concern as evidenced by a failing grade in a clerkship, advanced course requirement, elective, or other required College of Medicine curriculum activity or failure to successfully remediate a failing grade. The performance concern might encompass deficits in multiple competencies such as Patient Care, Interprofessional Collaboration, Interpersonal and Communications Skills, and Knowledge for Practice, among others.
- A student whose performance in Phases I-IV is of concern as evidenced by documented lapses in professional behaviors in interactions with individuals and/or teams. The performance concern might encompass deficits in multiple competencies such as Professionalism, Interprofessional Collaboration, and Personal and Professional Development, among others. Such a student will be asked to meet with the APC if they have two documented lapses in professional behaviors or one egregious professional behavior violation as interpreted by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, or failure to successfully remediate an Identified Deficiency in professional behaviors. Documentation can include an Identified Deficiency in the Professionalism competency on end of course/clerkship summative assessments and/or a professionalism report submission.
In such circumstances, the Committee shall review the student’s entire educational record to assess progress in all of the College of Medicine competencies. This comprehensive evaluation of performance in all competency measures including those in courses/clerkships, electives, and any other required activities may result in a recommendation of remediation activities or actions including dismissal from the College of Medicine.
Curriculum Promotion Decisions: It is expected that students will:
- Pass all required courses, activities and other competency-associated requirements for pre-clerkship courses before entering Phase II (clerkship)
- Pass all Phase I and II required clerkships, activities, other competency-associated requirements and taken USMLE Step 1 before entering Phases III-IV
- Pass all required Phase III/IV courses, activities, other competency-associated requirements, pass USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CS and Step 2 CK before graduating.
At the end of the pre-clerkship coursework, the end of the USMLE Step 1 board study period, and during Phase IV, the Associate Dean for Learner Assessment and Program Evaluation will present a slate of students who have met all competency requirements for promotion to the next portion of the curriculum for review and approval by the committee.
Student Performance Reviews: A student whose performance is being reviewed by the APC will be asked to appear before the Committee. The student is encouraged to bring their adviser and to review their status in all competencies with their adviser prior to the meeting. The input of the course, clerkship, or other activity directors will be sought by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for presentation to the APC.
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 Committee. Attendance is mandatory; exceptions will not be made. If the student does not appear at the scheduled time, the meeting shall proceed and a recommendation will be made based on the information submitted to the APC.
The students may have a non-attorney adviser appear with them at the meeting. If the student intends to have someone other than their College of Medicine faculty adviser present they must notify the APC of the adviser’s name and status two days prior to the scheduled hearing date.
The Committee’s purpose in meeting with the student is to hear the student’s view of their 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 for all competency domains. This may include the margins by which the student has met (passed) or not met (failed) expectations in various courses, the particular courses that they have failed, the student’s personal situation, professional behaviors, and other relevant considerations. The Committee will exercise its best judgment in each individual case.
Recommendations for Action, Other Than Dismissal
Recommendations for action other than dismissal on a student’s deficiencies in progressing in any of the College of Medicine competencies are communicated to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs (or designee). Such a recommendation may include (but not be limited to) repeating the course/clerkship, repeating the entire academic year, and sequential portfolio essays to document progress with expected behavior changes. Students will be placed on academic probation until successful completion of the remediation activities. Upon successful completion of the remediation, the student will be removed from probation; however the APC recommendation shall remain on the student’s academic record.
A grade of “Does Not Meet Expectations” (DNM) or “Fail” when completing remediation activities may result in a recommendation to repeat the entire academic year, repeat the course following a leave of absence, or dismissal.
Appeal Process for Actions Other than Dismissal
The student may request a further review of the decision of the APC by submitting a written request to the Chairperson of the APC.
- The student can appeal, in writing, to the Chairperson of the APC within seven calendar days of receipt of the Committee’s decision. The correspondence must indicate why the student feels they should not be subject to the action(s) recommended by the Committee. The Chairperson will forward the student’s written submission to the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs.
- The Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will assemble an ad hoc committee of at least three faculty members in addition to the Associate Dean for Evaluation and Assessment to consider the student’s appeal.
- The ad hoc committee may decide to uphold the APC’s original decision or modify it. The Committee may choose to meet with the student to consider the appeal.
- The Vice Dean for Educational Affairs will provide written notification to the student and to the APC of the ad hoc committee’s final decision.
The student may appeal the decision to the Dean of the College of Medicine within seven days of receiving notification of the ad hoc committee’s decision from the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. The student may submit a written statement of their position, including supporting materials. The Dean will meet with the student. If the student does not request a meeting within seven days or requests a meeting and fails to appear at the scheduled time, the Dean will make a determination based on the recommendation of and information submitted to the APC and any materials submitted by the student. The Dean will provide written notification to the student of the final decision.
Recommendations of Dismissal
In the event the APC recommends dismissal of a student from the College of Medicine, a written notice of this recommendation will be submitted to the Dean of the College of Medicine and the student. The Dean has the ultimate authority for separation of the student from the College of Medicine.
The student may request a meeting with the Dean prior to a final decision. The meeting request must be made in writing to the Dean within seven calendar days of receipt of the Committee’s recommendation. The student may submit a written statement of their position, including supporting materials.
If the student does not request a meeting within seven days or requests a meeting and fails to appear at the scheduled time, the Dean will make a determination based on the recommendation of and information submitted to the APC, and any materials submitted by the student. The Dean will provide written notification to the student of the final decision.
See the Academic Progress Committee policy in the policy management tool (ePass login required).
The behavior concern report is the form that is filled out by a faculty or staff member who has a concern with a medical student. The report is marked as either an “early concern” or a “serious concern,” and contains a description of the behavior that is of concern to the person filing the report, in addition to whether the student has been notified of the concern, and what has been conveyed to the student. Copies of the form are given to the student and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
A medical student at the Penn State College of Medicine should, at the minimum, exhibit the following behaviors:
- Conscientiousness: Demonstrating a high degree of reliability by following through on commitments, approaching work in a methodical manner, and completing work tasks thoroughly and systematically; displaying high standards of attendance, punctuality, enthusiasm, and vitality in approaching and completing tasks.
- Integrity: Showing consistency between principles and values, and behavior; choosing an ethical course of action and doing the right thing; being truthful and direct; maintaining confidentiality; remaining free from substance misuse; avoiding conflicts of interest; obeying health system and regulatory policies.
- Accountability: Accepting responsibility for individual and group performance; accepting the consequences of one’s behavior; admitting mistakes and attempting to learn from mistakes.
- Teamwork: Collaborating and coordinating with others to achieve work goals; showing concern for and providing assistance and support to others; interacting respectfully with others; creating a desire for team accomplishment.
- Patient-Centered Care: Understanding patients’ needs and feelings and treating them with respect; focusing one’s efforts on discovering and meeting patients’ needs; handling challenging patient situations effectively; promoting and striving to create a workforce and environment that represents and values diversity of people and ideas.
- Stress Tolerance: Effectively handling stressful situations and interactions, even when under time pressure; making effective decisions under time pressure. This form is being completed due to an important concern of one or more behaviors (above) that I feel needs to be addressed.
You can find a PDF version of this form in the policy management tool (Hershey ePass login required)
PHI, whether verbal, electronic, or in other forms (paper, radiological film, etc.) is confidential, and must be managed in accordance with applicable Penn State Health (“PSH”) and Penn State College of Medicine (“COM”) policies and legal requirements. A definition of PHI and its appropriate uses is provided in the PSH/COM Privacy Notice. Access, use and disclosure of PHI must be limited to the minimum amount of information necessary to perform one’s responsibilities in conjunction with their role at PSH/COM. Reading, discussing, copying, publishing and/or otherwise using or disclosing PSH/COM information for other than legitimate PSH/COM purposes is prohibited. Participation in annual HIPAA, Privacy and Information Protection (“HIPAA”) training is a fundamental requirement for all workforce members, as is compliance with access, use and disclosure of PHI as expressed in the PSH/COM Confidentiality Agreement.
Any Workforce member or other authorized party (e.g. business associate, research monitor) requiring access to PSH/COM PHI to fulfill their job responsibilities is required to read the PSH/COM Privacy Notice (available on the PSH/COM Infonet) and sign a PSH/COM Confidentiality Agreement (available on the PSH/COM Infonet) in advance of gaining such access. The Confidentiality Agreement requirement can be completed through the HIPAA, Privacy and Information Protection initial training online course within the Compass Learning Management system or through the HIPAA, Privacy and Information Protection Substitute Training Process administered through the internal PSH/COM responsible party sponsoring access to systems. PSH/COM employees, volunteers, students and trainees are examples of “Workforce” members.
Workforce members and other authorized parties signing the Confidentiality Agreement attest to the following:
Penn State Health (“PSH”) and the Penn State College of Medicine “Penn State COM”) are critically dependent upon information and information systems to fulfill the organization’s missions. It is expected that reasonable and prudent measures will be taken to safeguard information entrusted to PSH and Penn State COM.
Federal and Pennsylvania laws and standards regulate the access, use, disclosure and disposal of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) and certain other information. I understand I am permitted access to PSH and Penn State COM information only to the extent required to perform my specific duties, responsibilities and authorized activities. I further understand that reading, discussing, copying, and/or otherwise using or disclosing PSH or Penn State COM information for other than legitimate PSH or Penn State COM purposes is prohibited. I acknowledge that failure to comply with any of the information within this document may result in disciplinary and/or legal action.
I acknowledge that PSH and Penn State COM use 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 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”). Information created or received by PSH or Penn State COM that 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 needed to perform certain job functions, or PSH or Penn State COM operations. This information must only be accessed and used by authorized personnel. Examples include: contracts, compensation data, employee evaluations, individuals’ Social Security numbers, passwords, and strategic agreements.
- Other Non-Public/Internal Information is certain internal information that is intended for use and distribution only within PSH and Penn State 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 PSH or Penn State COM, its customers or its business associates. Examples of this type of information include information that is available through the PSH and Penn State COM Infonet, such as internal directories, policies and disaster plans.
For direction related to PHI, contact the Privacy Office. For direction related to Sensitive data other than PHI, contact the Office of Information Protection. For direction related to Penn State Health Information Technology-managed devices, the current technical standards for personal devices to be used in conjunction with PSH and Penn State COM systems, and Cyber Security concerns, contact the IT Service Desk.
I understand my role in safeguarding and disposing of Sensitive data, and certify that I have completed one of the following: the OGC – HIPAA, Privacy and Information Protection training; an equivalent session approved by the Privacy Officer or Information Protection and Compliance Officer; or, participated in an active conversation with my PSH or Penn State COM employee sponsor.”
See the Confidentiality Agreement in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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. Therefore, we are requiring our incoming students to get criminal background checks by Sept. 1.
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).
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.
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:
- Login to LionPATH and consent to do University Business Electronically.
- Agree to the Financial Responsibility Agreement.
- Enroll in a minimum of one class.
- Take action on their 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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Penn State College of Medicine is fully committed to diversity among its faculty, staff, students/learners and volunteers. We are also accountable for advancing mutual support, equity and inclusion in all forms, consistent with Penn State’s Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and with Penn State’s Nondiscrimination Statement.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), in its June 2018 accreditation letter, acknowledged that Penn State College of Medicine had created vision and mission statements and a strategic plan regarding diversity in the College of Medicine. The LCME requested, in addition, a formal diversity policy to guide ongoing, systematic and focused recruitment and retention activities and to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes among its students, faculty and senior administrative staff. This policy, fully consistent with Penn State statements on diversity, equity and inclusion and on nondiscrimination, serves as a companion to those statements and a guide for focused recruitment and retention activities at the College of Medicine, in compliance with LCME accreditation standards.
- Penn State College of Medicine recognizes that a diverse workforce is a critical component to addressing the health care needs of a diverse society, eliminating health care disparities and maximizing our academic educational mission, and therefore is committed to continuously increasing the diversity of our student body with respect to those populations that are underrepresented in medicine and biomedical research.
- Penn State College of Medicine will address intergroup disparities in areas such as representation, retention, learning outcomes and graduation rates. We will seek to recruit a medical school class whose identities and beliefs represent the diversity of our nation’s communities.
- Penn State College of Medicine recognizes that a diverse workforce deserves an equitable and inclusive work and patient care environment and is therefore committed to measuring and addressing any challenges that will impact our ability to recruit and retain diverse individuals.
In an effort to improve the diversity among its students, faculty and senior administrative staff, Penn State College of Medicine has set the following guidelines for ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities:
- Medical student diversity: Penn State College of Medicine is fully committed to the recruitment of racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in medicine and biomedical research as defined by state and federal law (American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Asians), and individuals with disabilities or military backgrounds. It will focus its ongoing, systematic recruitment and retention activities to address intergroup disparities in representation and retention for Black and Hispanic students. To support this systematic and focused recruitment, the College of Medicine, through the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will address pipeline programs and other challenges to the recruitment and retention of student from groups underrepresented in medicine.
- Faculty diversity: Penn State College of Medicine is fully committed to the recruitment of faculty from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in the healthcare and biomedical workforce as defined by state and federal law (American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Asians), women who are traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles within medicine, and individuals with disabilities or military backgrounds. It will focus its ongoing, systematic recruitment and retention activities to address intergroup disparities in representation and retention for Black, Hispanic and Veteran faculty. The College of Medicine will work with Human Resources and with its employee resource/affinity groups to identify and address challenges to the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty members.
- Senior administrative staff diversity: (Defined as individuals in academic leadership roles, to include but not limited to, associate/assistant deans, directors, academic department chairs, and people who oversee the operation of affiliated clinical facilities and other educational sites.) Penn State College of Medicine is fully committed to the recruitment of senior administrative staff who are members of racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in the healthcare and biomedical workforce as defined by state and federal law (American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Asians), women who are traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles within medicine, and individuals with disabilities or military backgrounds. It will focus its ongoing, systematic recruitment and retention activities to address intergroup disparities in representation and retention for Black and Hispanic senior administrative staff. To support this systematic and focused recruitment, the college of medicine will apply the “Rooney Rule” to all senior administrative staff positions that are filled externally, thereby requiring that interview pools include at least one individual who is diverse from a racial/ethnic, gender, veteran or disability perspective. Applicant and interview pools and hires will be tracked annually.
Penn State College of Medicine’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing, systematic and focused recruitment and retention activities outlined in this policy for Penn State College of Medicine. Based on the data review, it will propose revisions to this policy to address intergroup disparities in representation and retention and more optimally guide recruitment and retention activities.
It will evaluate faculty and senior administrative staff outreach and hiring programs every year, using aggregate data that is collected through the organization’s Executive Order 11246 and 4212 Affirmative Action Plan. The College of Medicine’s Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education (CUMED), in conjunction with the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will evaluate the effectiveness of the recruitment and retention activities for its medical students every two years using aggregate data that is collected through the medical school admissions, residency match, and pipeline data base.
The Office of Educational Affairs will annually report on medical student diversity to the Dean of the College of Medicine.
The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will annually report on faculty and senior administrative staff diversity to the Dean, Executive Council and Faculty Organization.
View the diversity policy on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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.
View the dress code on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
If a student terminates their medical college registration by official leave of absence or withdrawal, tuition will be charged for that tuition installment period according to the date written notice of such intended action is received by the Registrar’s Office. The tuition schedule begins with the first full week of classes in the installment period and pertains to each subsequent week or fraction of a week.
Students who withdraw will receive a tuition adjustment in accordance with the Tuition Adjustment Schedule shown above.
For purposes of this schedule, the first installment period begins with the first day of Penn State classes for the academic year (Fall Semester) and the second installment period begins on the first day of Penn State classes for the second academic semester (Spring Semester).
All other fees (Information Technology Fee, University Student Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Student Activities Fee) are non-refundable.
Students who live in the residence halls should contact the Housing Office regarding room and board adjustments.
Return of Federal Financial Aid
- To maintain Federal financial aid eligibility during the semester, the student must be attending classes, taking exams and completing required course work.
- The 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act requires the University to calculate a Return of Federal financial aid funds for students who withdraw (officially or unofficially) from all classes on or before attending 60 percent of the semester.
- Using a pro-rata schedule, the percentage of the semester attended is used to calculate the amount of the student’s earned/unearned Federal financial aid funds. The percentage of semester attended is calculated by using the number of days the student attended and the total number of days in the semester.
- The unearned portion of Federal financial aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid program(s). The funds will be returned in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan>
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH)
The student will be responsible for any balance due after the return of Federal financial aid funds.
Students who stop attending all classes without officially withdrawing are subject to the return of Federal financial aid funds at the end of the semester. The amount returned is based on the withdrawal date or last documented date of attendance determined by Penn State.
Return of Institutional and Other Aid Funds
If a credit balance remains after the return of Federal and State Grant funds, the credit balance will be returned to all other aid sources (if applicable) based on the following “other aid” refund calculation:
Other Aid Disbursed / Total Aid Disbursed X Adjustment = Refund to Other Aid Source
The other aid will be returned to the appropriate aid sources. The funds will be returned in the following order:
- Short-term loan (not considered in aid calculation)
- University loans
- University scholarships
- Other grants
- Outside scholarships
Other aid sources should be adjusted up to the amount of each aid source.
The student account will not be debited to return funds to “other aid” sources.
Credit Balances After Return of Aid
If a credit balance remains after the return of the required federal financial aid, state grants, institutional and other aid funds, the balance will be refunded to the student (up to the amount paid for the semester).
See the policy for financial obligations for students who withdraw in the policy portal here. (ePass login required).
All final course and clerkship grades must be submitted and available to the students within 6 weeks after completion of the course or clerkship.
See grade timelines information in the policy portal here. (ePass login required).
Based on the Penn State 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:
- 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.
- The instructor did not determine the student’s grade in accordance with the instructor’s stated procedure for determining grades.
- There is an error in the determination of the grade that was not corrected.
- The student, through no fault of their 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.
- There is a problem with the statistical defensibility of the grading rubric used.
- There was insufficient or delayed data submitted to the course/clerkship director to make a valid grade determination.
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, they 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, they 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, they 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).
In case of inclement weather, information will be disseminated as outlined in the Emergency Communications Policy.
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
- LOA requests will be granted or denied at the discretion of the College of Medicine’s Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or designee.
- Generally, LOA requests for medical students will not be granted for a period in excess of one year. Any request for an initial leave in excess of one year or extensions of a current leave that would exceed one year must be approved by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or 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 designee.
- If at the end of the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs’ or designee’s specified length for the LOA the student does not notify the Vice Dean or designee in writing of the 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 treating health professional involved in care at the time the request is made. In addition, re-evaluation of the treating health professional and a fitness for duty confirmation must be received by the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs or designee prior to resuming studies. This fitness for duty must include the statement that the student is able from a medical/mental health standpoint to resume studies under usual and customary conditions for students in PSCOM.
If a student desires a leave of absence for any given reason, they will be required to discuss the matter with their society adviser/coach.
- The student schedules a meeting with Associate Dean for Student Affairs to discuss LOA. The student must provide a rationale for the LOA. If necessary, support documentation (Medical — i.e., doctor’s note; or Research – letter from mentor) will need to be provided.
- 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 by which time the student must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in writing of their intent to return as scheduled. Generally this is 60 days prior to scheduled return but may be shortened depending on the length of the leave.
- The student is responsible for getting all the signatures required on the LOA form. The Director of Student Affairs (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 file. The LOA status will become official when the completed LOA form for the student has been returned to the Registrar. 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 their academic program within two 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. The Academic Progress Committee will review the student’s request and make the final decision on the extension of the leave of absence.
- The student must notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs by the date set in 2b.
A student’s Penn State University Access Account is suspended at the beginning of the semester that the 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 Registrar’s 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).
The Office of Student Conduct at Penn State 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:
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.
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.
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 Adviser and the Director of the Cognitive Skills Program within 2 business days of your meeting.
You will need to schedule a meeting with your Adviser 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 Adviser (or Society Head if your Adviser 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 Adviser and Director of CSP within two days of meeting.
- Part 3: Meet with Society Adviser (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)
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Sensitivity to patients’ beliefs, opinions, gender, race, culture, religion, sexual
See the full professionalism policy in the policy management tool here (ePass login required).
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.
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:
- Primary contact person’s name, address, and phone number (request must be submitted by a recognized student organization officer).
- Name of the group requesting the fundraiser.
- 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.
- 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).
On or immediately after June 2nd of each academic year, any lockers that have not been appropriately vacated will be vacated by staff.
At the time of MD program orientation, each matriculating student will be assigned a locker to store their 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.
At the time of MD program orientation, each matriculating MD/PhD student will be assigned a locker to store their 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 Phase II of medical school. At the end of Phase II (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 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. Following the completion of Phase II (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 can view the Student Locker Procedure in the policy portal here (ePass login required).
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
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
Demonstrate a commitment to behaving in a professional manner and adhering to ethical principles
Prof 5.1: Act in the best interest 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
PPD 8.2: Manage the balance 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, 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: Demonstrate the application of 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)
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 their adviser, who anticipates achieving the educational outcomes of the Penn State College of Medicine MD course of study in a timeframe of less than four years and who wishes to be considered for early graduation, but is not already enrolled in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ track with differentiation into residency, may make such a request to the Competency Progress Committee (CPC). This process involves the following:
- A comprehensive progress acceleration portfolio, signed off for its veracity by the student’s adviser.
- This is a comprehensive portfolio completed by the student addressing progression in each of the COM 10 competencies. It is the responsibility of the student, through portfolio reflection essays and robust evidence, to justify how they have achieved all educational outcomes of the MD degree course of study and why they are qualified to be certified by the COM for early graduation.
- Thorough review of the portfolio by the CPC and a recommendation by the CPC to the APC to approve early graduation.
- Decision by the APC to approve early graduation
• 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 their curriculum choice.
In order to graduate, all Penn State 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
- 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 their designee:
- All pre-clerkship courses
- All courses and clerkships in the core clinical curriculum (i.e. Phase II and CES weeks in Hershey Curriculum; clerkship year in University Park Curriculum) Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting
- Transition to Internship
- 1 Acting Internship + 1 additional Acting Internship or Critical Care Rotation
- 1 Humanities selective
- 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 a Clinical Elective or Acting Internship within five months prior to graduation. This course may fulfill one of the Acting Internship or elective course expectations.
- Students participating in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ track who have differentiated into their residencies must complete a Phase I Career Confirmation Elective and 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.
- For students in the MD/PhD program, the Phase II course, “Advanced Translational Medicine: Longitudinal Selective for MD/PhD Students” will count towards the Phase III/IV elective requirement.
View the Graduation Requirements policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
The goal of Penn State College of Medicine 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 the College of Medicine, those individuals must be able to meet both the College’s competency-based standards and the Technical Standards, with or without reasonable accommodation.
The College of Medicine 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.
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.
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.
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 or standing, and/or the need to move rapidly from one location to another.
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/or obtain appropriate professional assistance, should identified 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 email@example.com. 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)
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 their performance.
For Phases II to 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)
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 their adviser, 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 to IV.
The MSR final report is listed on the Graduation Requirements section of 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)
The MD degree course of study for all students at Penn State 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 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. 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 adviser 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 adviser.
- The student’s proposed curriculum plan, once signed by the adviser, 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
- the Director of Finance in the Office of Medical Education who will manage the tuition process;
- the registrar who will ensure that the student is on active status and coursework included on the transcript;
- the Associate Dean for Medical Education and
- 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. 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 adviser 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 adviser, 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
- the Director of Finance in the Office of Medical Education who will manage the tuition process;
- the Director for Medical Student Research;
- the Associate Dean for Medical Education and
- 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.
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)
All medical students in the College of Medicine must take and pass Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the USMLE in order to graduate.
Informational materials and applications can be found on the USMLE site. The site contains application materials, the USMLE Bulletin of Information and sample test materials.
The following applies to all medical students:
- Students in the College of Medicine’s MD program are eligible to take USMLE Step I exam after the completion of Phase I and Phase II coursework. (Note: The Health Equities Clerkship may be taken in Phase III/IV). MD/PhD students are eligible to take USMLE Step I exam after completion of the pre-clerkship phase (Phase I) of the curriculum.
- Students must take USMLE Step 1 exam prior to Phase III/IV coursework, except for the course Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting, which may be taken prior to completing USMLE Step 1. Students in the 3+ early entry to residency track are exempt from this requirement.
- Students must take USMLE Step 1 prior to taking USMLE Step 2 CK.
- Students are provided an eight-week study period for USMLE-1 within which all students must take USMLE-1. Students whose practice scores are not within passing range at the end of this period may request up to a four-week extension for study through the Associate Dean for Medical Education at Hershey or University Park as appropriate. Students who require additional study time beyond this extension must take a leave of absence until USMLE Step 1 is passed. All students, with the exception of students in the 3+ early entry to residency track, must take and pass USMLE Step 1 examination by July 31 of their graduation year, or must take a leave of absence until USMLE Step 1 is passed. Graduation timeline may be impacted for any student requiring a leave of absence. Students in the 3+ early entry to residency track take USMLE-1 following a study period after completion of clerkships.
- USMLE Step 2 CK must be taken no later than Dec. 1 of the student’s graduation year except for students who are enrolled in the 3+ early entry to residency track.
- USMLE Step 2 CS must be taken no later than Oct.31 of the student’s graduation year except for students who are enrolled in the 3+ early entry to residency track.
The student’s schedule may be altered if a student has failed any step of the USMLE in consultation with the Associate Dean for Medical Education.
Any request for exceptions to this policy must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Assessment and Evaluation and the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs. Their decision is final.
View the USMLE Student Requirements in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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:
- Meet with their adviser, 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.
- Consult additional resources available in the College of Medicine, as necessary, such as Director of Cognitive Skills Program or Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
- 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).
- 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)
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. PSCOM is preparing you for a profession in which conscientiousness and accountability are of primary importance. 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.
You can find the absence request form here.
On-time attendance and full participation is required in all instances where students collaborate with other students in the learning experience or in which students actively participate with patients. 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. Students are responsible for all work missed during their absence.
Such sessions include but are not limited to:
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 participating with patients, such as but not limited to:
- Physical Diagnosis/Clinical Skills
- Observed Structured and Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)
- Interprofessional simulation experiences
- Primary Care Preceptorship
- Patient navigation
Six types of absences are recognized:
- Unexpected Absences
- Military Absences
- Religious Absences
- Conference Presentation Absences
- Doctor’s Appointment (for yourself or your child)
- Discretionary Days
Out of respect for others engaged in the learning experience, the student must discuss their absence with all faculty and students involved (e.g., PBL group, course director). The student should ask the other students/facilitator how they can help with the group’s work before or following the absence.
An absence due to personal illness, emergency doctor’s appointment for yourself or your child, sick family members, or a family emergency such as serious illness or death of a family member, must be submitted the morning of the absence using the Absence Request Form located on the course management system. If you are experiencing a serious illness or death of a family member, please also contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. 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.
Unexpected absences include up to three (3) days allowed for illness across an entire academic year. Additional sick days will require a doctor’s note for approval.
An absence due to military service must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting an Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
An absence due to a religious holiday must be requested at least seven (7) working days in advance by submitting an Absence Request 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 an Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
Doctor’s Appointments Absence
An absence due to a doctor’s appointment for yourself or your child should be requested as soon as the appointment is established by submitting an Absence Request Form and receiving approval. Typically, this should be at least 3 days in advance, though it is understood that there are times when an appointment is set up on an urgent basis. In the case of an urgent appointment, submit the notification as quickly as possible so that verification of an approved absence can be documented.
In Phase 1 and Transition to Clerkships, students have the opportunity to utilize up to three discretionary days in year 1 and two discretionary days in year 2 prior to the start of the core clerkships (phase II). 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:
- Discretionary days must be requested at least three (3) working days in advance by submitting an Absence Request Form.
- You may not extend a holiday or vacation by using a discretionary day immediately before or after the holiday or vacation.
- 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
- Interprofessional education events
- Neurology Day
- Reflection and Assessment Sessions
- Transition to Clerkships Sessions
- Last Science of Health Systems class
- See item number 2 above
The College of Medicine is open 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 Professional Behavior Grading and Remediation document outlined on the course management system. Targeted Remediation, as outlined in the PBGR document must be successfully completed in order to achieve a “meets expectations.”
For any questions about absence requests, please contact the Office Manager in the Hershey Office of Medical Education at 717-531-0003 ext. 289262, or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the Hershey Office of Medical Education.
See attendance information on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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 and function as an effective team member, and enhances the learning experience for all involved.
You can find the absence request form here.
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 arrive to educational sessions on time and be well-prepared for the activities that take place during these sessions.
Such sessions include but are not limited to:
- Inquiry group sessions
- Community agency navigations
- Collaborative science seminars
- Simulation labs
- Anatomy labs
- Large-group/lecture sessions with patients or other guests
- Physical diagnosis/clinical skills
- Observed Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE)
- Clinical Immersions
- Acting internship
- Book club
- Novel Integrated Clinical Session (NCIS) activities
- Frontier dinners
Types of Absences
Six types of absences are recognized.
- Unexpected absences
- Military absences
- Religious absences
- Conference absences
- Doctor’s appointment absences
- Discretionary days
Out of respect for others engaged in the learning experience, the student must discuss their absence with all faculty and students involved once it has been approved (e.g., IQ group, course director). The student should ask the other students/facilitators how they can help with the group’s work before or following the absence.
An absence due to personal illness, emergency doctor’s appointment or family emergency such as serious illness or death of a family member must be submitted the morning of the absence using the Absence Request Form in SIMBA. 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 for more 24 hours so that a search can be initiated to confirm that the student is safe.
An absence due to military service; must be requested at least seven working days in advance by submitting the Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
An absence due to a religious holiday; must be requested at least seven working days in advance by submitting the Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
An absence due to presenting at a conference; must be requested at least seven working days in advance by submitting the Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
Doctor’s appointment absences
An absence due to a doctor’s appointment: must be requested at least three working days in advance by submitting the Absence Request Form and receiving approval.
Throughout the University Park first-year curriculum, students are permitted three 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:
- Discretionary days must be requested at least three working days in advance by submitting the Absence Request Form.
- You may not extend a holiday or vacation by using a discretionary day immediately before or after the holiday or vacation.
- The curriculum contains several categories of 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. Blackout dates include but are not limited to the following list.
- 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 three-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:
- Standardized patient utilization
- Simulation sessions
- Wellness retreats
- Anatomy sessions
- Book club
The College 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. Absences that are incurred due to weather will not be accounted as a discretionary day for the affected student. Students will follow the procedures for an unexpected absence. Please recognize that weather-related closure practices may be different from site to site.
Under no circumstance should a student attempt to alter their clinical schedule without faculty guidance. 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 absence-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 three-times-a-week requirement. 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.
Absence Request Process
- Locate the Absence Request Form in SIMBA (under the Student Resource link).
- Complete the Absence Request Form in its entirety, identifying the date you are requesting and the absence type. Be sure to list the educational session that you will be missing, and the facilitator of that session.
- Submit your Absence Request Form within the appropriate time frame given your absence type.
- Upon approval or denial of your absence request, you will receive an email from UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. Your facilitator will also be copied on this email.
- If you find the need to use an unexcused absence, please complete the Absence Request Form at your earliest convenience. Additionally, please send an email to UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu as well as your Course Facilitator and/or Clinic Immersion contact to inform them of your absence in a timely manner.
Please note: It is required that students follow the absence request process. Students are not permitted to seek faculty approval of requested absences.
For any questions about absence requests for University Park, please contact the Curriculum Operations Manager at University Park by emailing UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu in the University Park Office of Medical Education.
See attendance information on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Scheduled required class activities, averaged over the course of the academic year, should not exceed 28 hours per week.
Students in the HC3+ parallel track may spend an additional six hours of required parallel track coursework per week.
Additional activities may be assigned to be completed outside of class time. The total time of all required in class and out of class activities should not exceed 34 hours per week averaged over the course of the academic year.
View the Phase I Scheduled Time guidelines on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Tutorial assistance is defined as provision of additional resources to students during a pre-clinical course, in contrast to remediation that occurs after a course has been completed. Course Directors are encouraged to advise students to contact the Office of Student Affairs to access tutorial resources. The following guidelines are recommended:
- Course Directors should meet with students encountering difficulties in order to determine whether students have any learning needs that should be addressed. Any meetings with students, the availability of tutorials, and student attendance at tutorials should be documented.
- Students in need of tutoring should contact the Office of Student Affairs. The student should also meet with their society adviser to discuss the need. Tutorial assistance is only available for small group requests and not on an individual basis. If a student is seeking support in the form of one-on-one consultations, the Cognitive Skills Program offers one-on-one meetings to discuss study strategies that can support effective learning of the material. The Cognitive Skills program does not offer instruction on course material itself.
- 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.
- 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 to IV
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)
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 Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective 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 four 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 four-week time window due to unforeseen circumstances or need to fulfill an educational commitment should make a request in writing to the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective 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. All AI changes are reviewed and signed off by advisers.
However, students may require a change within that four-week time window due to career specialty change, unforeseen circumstances or need to fulfill an educational commitment. Students who require a change within that four-week time window should make a request in writing to the Assistant Dean of Clinical Medicine (Hershey students) or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park (University Park students). The respective 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.
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 Penn State College of Medicine will be automatically approved.
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:
- 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.
- Course goals and objectives.
- 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.
- Attestation: A letter from the course director or supervisor attesting that they have 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 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 or designee.
View the full away elective approval document in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Students with requests for approval of planned absences are expected to make requests to the clerkship/course director at least four weeks prior to the onset of the clerkship, course 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 clerkship/course director(s). Particular situations may require approval from the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine.
- 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 a 2 week selective/elective or Career Exploration & Synthesis (CE&S) option. Students will receive no more than one day of excused absence from the Hershey-based longitudinal family medicine clerkship and no more than one day for ISS (students are not expected to attend either during Health Equity 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.
- b. 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 Phase III/IV elective. The structure of Humanities selectives, however, necessitates attendance in the weekly/biweekly sessions. Students must discuss interview plans and seek approval for absences with the Humanities course director(s) at least 2 weeks in advance of the beginning of the Humanities 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 Humanities course director. Students should plan interview time accordingly, and should not expect that multiple excused absences for residency interviews will be allowed during Phase III/IV required courses.
- Students with excused absences in excess of the amounts stated above will work with the course/clerkship director to determine additional clinical responsibilities needed for successful completion of the course/clerkship in order to receive a final grade. All unexcused absences require remediation prior to distribution of grades for the course and may result in an incomplete or failure for the rotation, as well as submission of a professionalism citation.
Absences for health-related issues
Students with planned absences for health related issues must inform the clerkship or course director as soon as possible. Requests for absences because of the need to access health services during clinical duty hours will be approved, but such requests must be submitted to course/clerkship director. These will be recorded as excused absences. Students with unplanned absences for health related issues are not expected to participate in course experiences when they are ill; however, because of the importance of the 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. In certain circumstances, a student will need a more prolonged absence than one day of excused absence for health reasons. In such cases, the student should meet with the course/clerkship director or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine to develop a plan to meet course requirements.
Planned absence for religious observance
Requests for absences in order to observe College of Medicine-recognized religious holidays will be approved. In such cases, the absence will not be counted toward the allowable number of absences in a clerkship/course. Students should discuss such plans with the course/clerkship director as far in advance as possible and no less than 4 weeks in advance. The student is expected to complete all assignments, shifts, clinical encounters and assessments in the respective course/clerkship. Therefore, students who anticipate using several days for religious observance within a period of time coinciding with a block course/clerkship should choose rotations that allow completion of all requirements within that period of time and/or meet with the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine for schedule planning.
Though an absence may have already been approved by the course/clerkship directors, it is the students responsibility to inform the following people of their planned absence no later than the start of the business day when they will be away:
- Clerkship/course director,
- Site director,
- Course coordinator
- Office of Medical Education curriculum manager.
The Office of Medical Education will track these absences across the year.
Certain sessions in each clerkship are mandatory; absences should not be planned during these sessions and will not be excused. 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. Required sessions may include, but are not limited to:
- Course orientation sessions
- NBME/final exams
- Required formative or summative assessments, such as OSCE or EKG sessions)
In addition to mandatory course sessions, all students are required to attend mandatory courses and events as prescribed by the Office of Medical Education. Examples include:
- Transition to Clerkship course
- Transition to Internship course
- Translating Health Systems course
All students will be responsible for any session material missed during an absence.
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 on time to all clinical assignments, whether in clinic, hospital wards, operating suites or lecture rooms. Students who are repeatedly late or absent from assigned conferences or clinical activities may receive an incomplete or failing grade for the rotation, and/or a professionalism citation.
View the full Clinical Phase attendance policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Students requesting approval of possible planned absences are expected to make requests directly to the clerkship director, acting internship (AI) director or elective director as appropriate.
All planned absence requests must be made at least four weeks prior to your requested date so that schedules may be adjusted appropriately. Approval of all absences is at the discretion of the clerkship/course director(s).
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 on time to all clinical assignments, whether in clinic, hospital wards, operating suites or classrooms. Students who are repeatedly late or absent from assigned conferences or clinical activities may earn an incomplete or failing grade for the rotation and/or a professional behavior concern report.
All students will be responsible for any session material missed during an absence.
Types of Absences
- Access to Student Health Services: 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 clerkship/course director(s). These will be recorded as excused absences.
- Excused absences: All requests for excused absences from clerkships and acting internships (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 clerkship or AI and one day of excused absence during a two-week selective, elective or Career Exploration and Synthesis (CES) option. Students enrolled in the longitudinal integrated clerkships (LIC) are permitted one day (two half-days) 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 six weeks in advance of the requested absence date. Unusual individual circumstances may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Associate Dean for Medical Education – University Park Regional Campus.
- Residency interview absences: 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 and Residency Prep (Phase III/IV) 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 two 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 and Residency Prep (Phase III/IV) required courses.
- Unexcused/unplanned absence: 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. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the clinical site, clerkship director and the Office of Medical Education (UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu) if they are ill and will be missing their scheduled sessions at their earliest convenience.
Mandatory Educational Sessions
- Certain sessions in each clerkship are mandatory; absences are not to be planned during these sessions and will not be excused. Students should consult the clerkship schedule on OASIS/SIMBA 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. Required sessions may include, but are not limited to:
- Course orientation sessions
- NBME/final exams
- Other summative assessments (OSCE, EKG or Harvey exam)
- In addition to mandatory course sessions, all students are required to attend mandatory courses and events as prescribed by the Office of Medical Education. Examples include:
- Professions of Medicine II (POM II) course sessions
- Professions of Medicine III (POM III) course sessions
- Translating Health Systems course sessions
- Integrated Science Sessions (“marsh rounds”) are mandatory, and all students are expected to attend each session. Students excused from a session due to an exception listed below must notify the clinical curriculum manager in the Office of Medical Education at least four weeks prior to the scheduled absence (UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu). In the event of unexpected illnesses/emergencies, students must contact the Office of Medical Education to report the absence. Exceptions to required attendance at “marsh rounds” are the following:
- Students at off-site affiliate campuses with greater than one hour travel time (including those with rotations at Hershey Medical Center)
- Students that have a planned/unplanned absence to an Integrated Science Session must email the Office of Medical Education at UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu with notification of their absence at their earliest convenience.
Consequences of Multiple Absences
Students with excused absences in excess of the amounts stated above will work with the course/clerkship director to determine additional clinical responsibilities needed for successful completion of the course/clerkship in order to receive a final grade. All unexcused absences require remediation prior to distribution of grades for the course and may result in an incomplete or failure designation for the rotation, as well as submission of a professional behaviors concern form.
Absence Notification Process
When students receive approval from their clerkship/course director or acting internship director they should follow the steps below:
- Email UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu with your approved absence date and type, indicating what educational/clinical sessions you will be missing. Please include the date your request was approved and the name of the facilitator.
- For unplanned absences please report to the course/clerkship director, site director, course coordinator and the Office of Medical Education at your earliest convenience.
- For attendance questions please contact UP-COM@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.
See attendance details in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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.
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.
Supervisors of Medical Students in the Clinical Setting
- 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 their professions.
- 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.
- Supervisors of medical students must be aware of their students’ 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.
- 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 Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine.
- Penn State College of Medicine 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.
This policy will be distributed annually to all health professionals who supervise medical students in the clinical setting in any Penn State College of Medicine rotations; the educational leadership at affiliate sites; and all medical students.
All announcements regarding all Phase II-IV (clinical) 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 and may result in a professional behavior citation.
View the email communication document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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 OASIS 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 that 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.
View the direct observation of clinical skills document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
The LCME has defined as a standard that “institutions must develop a system of assessment which assures that students have acquired and can demonstrate on direct observation the core clinical skills, behaviors, and attitudes needed in subsequent medical training.”
In partial fulfillment of this requirement, all fourth-year students at Penn State College of Medicine must satisfactorily complete two separate history and physical examinations observed by a faculty member, including attending, fellow or chief/senior 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, review with the student regarding performance and oral presentation.
Observed history and physical exam sessions may occur in the inpatient or outpatient 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 Penn State College of Medicine and its affiliated teaching sites are committed to support student development and provide formative feedback. The Office of Medical Education will send yearly reminders to faculty describing this evaluation process.
The first required form must be completed by Oct. 31 of the fourth year. The second required form must be completed by Jan. 31 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 Penn State College of Medicine.
An evaluation form for this exercise is available. 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 that 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 or uploaded to the student’s Academic History in OASIS.
View the direct observation of clinical skills document on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Students should report duty hour violations during Phase II through IV rotations to the Clerkship/Course Director or the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine and log in OASIS where applicable.
Medical students in Phase II
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 Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine and must comply with the following maximum limits:
- A maximum of 80 hours per week
- One day in seven free from clinical experience or on-site educational responsibilities, averaged over 4 weeks, not to exceed 80 hours in 7 days
- On-call duties no more frequent than once weekly averaged over 4 weeks
- A maximum of 24 continuous work hours with an additional 4-hour window for on-site educational activities, sign- out and handoffs.
Medical students in Phases III and 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 Assistant Dean for 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; and a maximum of 24 hours continuous work hours with an additional 4-hour window for on-site educational activities, sign-out and handoffs.
View the duty hours on our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
LCME Standard: 6.5. ELECTIVE OPPORTUNITIES
The faculty of a medical school ensure that the medical curriculum includes elective opportunities that supplement required learning experiences and that permit medical students to gain exposure to and deepen their understanding of medical specialties reflecting their career interests and to pursue their individual academic interests.
LCME Standard: 11.2. CAREER ADVISING
A medical school has an effective career advising system in place that integrates the efforts of faculty members, clerkship directors, and student affairs staff to assist medical students in choosing elective courses, evaluating career options, and applying to residency programs.
College of Medicine Policy and Procedure
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 adviser to discuss their choices for elective and acting internship courses.
The academic adviser must document that the advising meeting has occurred and that they approve 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 adviser. Any changes to elective choices will be submitted by student to adviser, signed off and sent to registrar for approval and change.
Students are encouraged to meet with their career specialty adviser and/or other faculty members for additional advice and guidance, but these meetings are supplemental to the meeting with the academic adviser described above. Information about the Career Advising Program 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)
Please note: As of Feb. 1, 2020, this policy will be replaced by the one below.
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.)
View elective requirements in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
The following policy will come into effect Feb. 1, 2020.
- To meet graduation requirements, students in the Penn State College of Medicine must successfully complete
- All Phase II elective requirements in their track:
- Students participating in the Hershey Track (main curriculum) must complete 4 weeks of clinical electives and 6 weeks of career exploration and synthesis selectives. Students may take one two-week independent study elective during Phase II. For students participating in the LIC format at Hershey campus, Penn State Health affiliates or University Park, career exploration selectives/electives may be provided longitudinally as part of LIC experience.
- For students participating in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ Track, the requirement for Career Exploration and Synthesis electives are waived.
- A minimum of 24 weeks of Phase III-IV elective rotations
- For students participating in the Hershey Curriculum 3+ Track, Phase III-Discovery electives are waived and these students will complete at least the equivalent of 8 weeks of electives. Certain Phase IV electives may be offered in an accelerated fashion as developmentally appropriate in Phase I.
- A maximum of 8 weeks of research elective will count towards the graduation requirement unless the student is enrolled in the Clinician-Scientist option of the Hershey 3+ Track.
- All Phase II elective requirements in their track:
- Any listed pre-requisites must have been successfully completed prior to beginning the elective
- Changes for Phase II-IV elective rotations are not permitted within four (4) weeks prior to the start date of the rotation without approval of the Associate Dean for Medical Education or Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine.
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All Phase II Clinical Clerkships, intersession courses, the Integrated Sciences course for Hershey Tracks or Patients and Sciences 3 for University Park Track, 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, unless a delay is granted by the Assistant Dean for 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, enthusiasm and professionalism. Expectations common to the clinical clerkships, acting internships and courses can be found in the respective individual course syllabus.
Requirements for rotation-specific procedure logs will be provided by the individual clerkships/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.
For students participating in the Hershey tracks, the Phase II curriculum begins with a Transition to Clerkships course. This course is designed to provide students with necessary knowledge and skills to begin clinical rotations. A similar curriculum, contained in Patients and Sciences-3, is provided for students participating in the University Park Track. Phase II includes required core clinical clerkships in Internal Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, Psychiatry, Health Equity, Neuroscience, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Surgery which may be delivered in a block or longitudinal format depending upon track and option. Students participate in career exploration and synthesis selectives, other elective(s) and instruction on Integrated Sciences and Humanities.
Phases III and IV
Phases III-IV consists of Discovery Phase and Residency Preparation consisting of elective rotations and required advanced clinical experiences. These would include 2 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 Transition to Internship course. The College of Medicine offers a variety of both clinical and research electives. There are plenty of opportunities for clinical and research experiences locally, regionally, and nationally. (See reference to away-elective policy.)
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Narrative assessment is used to provide a student with feedback on their progress within the College of Medicine’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)
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 Core Clinical Conditions document in 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 and track all 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.
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.
At the conclusion of the clerkship, all students must complete 100% of the assigned patient encounters/procedures. 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 completion. If the student does not contact the director and complete the requirements, they will be given an incomplete and possibly fail the course.
All Phase IV students at the Penn State College of Medicine must satisfactorily complete two history and physical examinations observed by a faculty member, fellow, or 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, oral presentation, subsequent discussion of a differential diagnosis and plan, and a 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 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 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 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 Oct. 31 of Phase IV. The 2nd required form must be completed by Jan. 31 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 Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine.
Completion and documentation of the above procedures, patient encounters, and observed examinations are graduation requirements for the Penn State College of Medicine.
Directions for the use of OASIS, including logging into the system, entering procedures, running reports, etc. can be found on the Profession of Medicine II SIMBA site. Reference also CA-27 Direct Observation of Clinical Skills (Required Clerkships) Phase II and CA-28 Direct Observation of Clinical Skills (Phase IV).
View the Patient Care and Procedure Requirements in our policy management tool. (ePass login required)
Students must achieve a passing grade in each clerkship. Students should be familiar with the individual grading criteria for each clerkship. Students who fail a clerkship will be referred to the Academic Progress Committee.
Additionally, students must pass each competency and achieve a passing score for the NBME shelf or final medical knowledge examination in order to successfully pass the clerkship.
Students who do not perform satisfactorily in any assessed subcompetency area in a clerkship will be given an “Identified Deficiency” grade and referred to the Competency Progress Committee. These students will meet with the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine, develop and begin a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), and will be tracked for successful attainment of the competency. Failure to remediate the subcompetency will result in a referral to the Academic Progress Committee.
Successful completion of the NBME shelf exam or final medical knowledge exam is a requirement for passing clerkships that use this examination to assess the students’ knowledge.
- For each required clerkship, students will be permitted to retake the shelf exam or medical knowledge final exam one time after an initial failure.
- Students must contact the clerkship director within two weeks of notification of shelf/final exam failure to discuss the exam.
- Students will be given an “Identified Deficiency” grade and referred to the Competency Progress Committee. These student will meet with the Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, develop and begin a PIP and will be tracked. Students must complete a two-week study period before retaking the exam. This study period may occur during Phase II or immediately following Phase II.
- 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.
- Retake exams are only given on already established exam days as well as several alternate exam days setup by the Office of Medical Education. Students should work with the Clinical Curriculum Operations Manager and Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine to schedule retake exams at an appropriate time. A two-week notice is required to schedule these exams.
In the rare instance a student NBME shelf exam must be rescheduled, it will be under the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine at Hershey or the Assistant Director of Clinical Medicine at University Park 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, they may be requested to 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.
Per LCME requirements, clerkship directors are required to submit final grades within six weeks after completion of the clerkship.
Students have two months after receipt of their clerkship assessment 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 assessment.
Students who wish to question or challenge their grade assigned in a course must first discuss the grading rubric and assignments with the clerkship director. 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 30 days within receiving the course grade to submit the grade adjudication petition form. They may wish to meet with the Assistant Dean for Clinical Medicine at Hershey and/or Associate Dean for Medical Education at Hershey to discuss the process further. Students in the University Park program may meet with the Assistant Director of Clinical Medicine or the Associate Dean for Medical Education at University Park.
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.
- All residents will complete/attend the scheduled GME orientation. Participation will be recorded and tracked by the Office of Graduate Medical Education.
- Residents are expected to complete/attend scheduled CORE GME development sessions. Participation will be recorded and tracked by the Office of GME.
- Residents will be encouraged to complete an evaluation after each GME RaE development session. These evaluations will be used to improve future offerings.
- 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)
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)
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
- Medical students shall only access the records of individuals for whom they are providing direct patient care.
- Students shall follow the privacy regulations set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) at all times.
- Students are expected to document medical care in the EHR during clinical rotations at the HMC.
- Teaching physicians are responsible to provide proper documentation for billing purposes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Students may participate in the development of Discharge Instructions and Discharge Summary as permitted by the course director and patient care team.
- 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
- 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.
- The medical student notes shall be organized within the current note framework of the system.
- 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.
- Final signature of the student note may be the attending, fellow, or resident, as determined by the respective chair in each corresponding department.
- Publishing Status. Medical student notes shall be viewable to all after completion by the student and before final signing.
- 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)
Communication strategy: Within the context of this policy, communication strategy refers to the event-specific communication plan that is devised for a crisis or emergency caused by humans or a natural phenomenon.
Crisis or Emergency: Defined broadly, a crisis or emergency is an event which can negatively impact (including serious damage) participants of Penn State College of Medicine. These terms can be used interchangeably in reference to any situation that:
- Requires immediate and coordinated action to minimize impact on the student population
- Has a significant impact on the operation or reputation of Penn State College of Medicine
Internal constituent: A member of a group associated with Penn State College of Medicine that has an interest or stake in the outcome of the events. I.e., PSCOM students, faculty, and staff
Timely warning: This refers to Penn State College of Medicine’s obligation to provide a warning to students, faculty and staff at risk when a serious incident occurs that may pose a continuing threat to others. Timely warnings will be issued in collaboration with Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State University offices.
Penn State Health Alerts and PSUAlert Systems: These are the primary emergency notification systems for students, faculty and staff within the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State University organization. These systems allow internal constituents to receive urgent notifications via phone call, text message, mobile app, e-mail and more.
Emergency Operations Plan
Penn State College of Medicine’s emergency response team will activate an emergency operation plan when a significant event threatens normal operations and/or the safety of our patients, students, faculty and staff. System administrators have been designated to carry out an emergency communications plan.
Weather Emergency Operations Plan
The possibility of severe weather conditions during the academic school year requires Penn State 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 Service, 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 business in the area.
The decision to close school or delay the start of classes at the College of Medicine is made by campus leadership at respective locations after a thorough examination of current and predicted weather conditions.
Penn State College of Medicine, along with Penn State University may use various methods of communication to alert students, faculty and staff of imminent threats to health and safety as well as informational notifications that may affect your work or training locations, or require you to take some action. System administrators will send notifications about events such as security-related incidents, severe weather, mass casualty incidents in the community where we play a role, infrastructure failures at our facilities or technology systems, clinic closures or class cancellations.
Penn State College of Medicine encourages all students, faculty and staff to register and indicate their notification preferences to ensure the timely delivery of accurate and important messaging. Participation in both alert systems will guarantee students, faculty and staff are receiving pertinent messages regardless of their location within Penn State College of Medicine.
Penn State College of Medicine’s system administrators are responsible for devising the appropriate communication strategy during a crisis or emergency. Components of the communication strategy may include:
- Identification of internal and/or external audiences
- Key messaging and communication tools that will be used
- Frequency of communications
To avoid confusion, reduce uncertainty and help ensure that all information being released is factually accurate and consistent, all Penn State College of Medicine representatives should adhere to the following:
- All actions and messaging will be coordinated through the system administrators.
- Official messages will be timely, honest, concise, and professional
- Communications will comply with confidentiality laws and be sensitive to the privacy of PSCOM students, faculty and staff
- Messaging may be delivered via the following channels:
- Penn State Health Alerts (phone calls, emails, text messaging and mobile app)
- PSUAlerts (phone calls, emails, text messaging)
- Penn State College of Medicine website
- Via e-mail from college leadership and/or departments
Weather-Related Closure Information
Should Penn State College of Medicine experience a weather closure at any of its locations one of the following messages will be made:
- Delay for Penn State College of Medicine: Two-hour delay for medical student and physician assistant student classes. Medical students and physician assistant students should make all attempts to continue their patient care responsibilities. Graduate students should check with their thesis advisers for laboratory activities.2. Cancellation for Penn State College of Medicine: Classes are cancelled for medical students and physician assistant students. Medical students and physician assistant should make all attempts to continue their patient care responsibilities. Graduate students should check with their thesis advisers for laboratory activities.
In November of each year, this plan for handling weather emergencies will be issued to the medical students, physician assistant students, graduate students, faculty and staff.
It the students’ responsibility to ensure that the appropriate contact information, including emergency contacts, is up-to-date on LionPath. 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 LionPath, you will be required to provide or confirm your emergency contact information and, optionally, your cell phone number and carrier.
View the emergency contact policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
View the lockdown procedure on the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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.
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 University Park (UP), healthcare is available locally for University Park Program students at University Health Services (UHS) located at Penn State, 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.
Student Health Team
Healthcare is provided to all medical, graduate, physician assistant and nursing students in the College of Medicine and their spouses and children. Beth Wallen, MD, MPH, is the director of Student Health. The office is staffed with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, along with a dedicated staff including the office associate coordinators, Janice Mesarick and Angie Phillips, and an administrative senior LPN, Patty Hamner.
Student Health provides comprehensive primary-care services. These include acute and chronic care for medical problems, preventive healthcare including gynecology, family planning services and well-child visits. Referrals to specialists are provided as necessary by the Student Health providers.
Hours of Operation
Scheduled appointments are available as follows:
- Mondays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Tuesdays: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Thursdays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fridays: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturdays: 8 a.m. to noon
To schedule an appointment, call 717-531-5998. Call early for availability. If you need a same-day appointment weekdays, call before 11 a.m.
If there is no answer, follow the voice prompts at this extension.
After 4:30 p.m. weekdays, as well as on weekends, healthcare concerns are forwarded to the hospital nurse triage system. If the nurse triage system has concerns they are forwarded to the Family Medicine physician on call.
In addition, a new urgent-care center has opened in Hershey; Med Express Urgent Care Center at
565 E. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day except Christmas. Call 717-533-4935 for details.
According to UHC – First Student, Penn State’s insurance offered to students, Med Express in Hershey is in-network, with no copay. However, the $250 deductible must be met. After the deductible is met, visits are covered at 90 percent to a maximum of $,1300 out of pocket. A referral is not necessary. For information on other insurances, check the Med Express website.
Student Health is located at a family practice office, Penn State Medical Group Fishburn Road, 845 Fishburn Road, Hershey, PA. (See details here.)
Take Route 322 east toward Route 743 south, and turn right at Fishburn Road. The office is located approximately three-quarters of a mile on the left. If you need transportation from campus to the clinic, please call Shuttle Services at 717-599-6376 between 7 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. After 3:15 p.m., call Security at 717-531-8711. Sometimes it is necessary to leave a message to request a ride. Remember to leave a return phone number.
Your insurance will be billed for the cost of your Student Health visit. If your insurance does not pay for the visit, you will not be responsible for the cost of the physician fees. However, the cost of prescriptions and laboratory tests, and the cost of any medical services provided outside of the Office of Student Health, are the responsibility of the student and their insurance carrier.
All students are required to have medical health insurance. Specific information concerning the school-offered insurance plan is distributed to all students at the beginning of each academic year. If a student chooses not to participate in the school-affiliated program, the student is required to show proof of equivalent insurance coverage on the waiver application form given to the bursar.
Each student is responsible to understand their healthcare policy and coverage. Services not covered by the student’s health insurance plan are the responsibility of the student.
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 ensuring 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 they 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 themselves 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)
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 emailing Student_Health@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. These are available for you to complete your medical forms for rotations at hospital sites away from 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.
- If the form needs a signature from Student Health, you can email 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.
- Determine how the form is to be delivered to the school: uploaded into VSAS, mailed or faxed.
View completing forms for clerkships in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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 at www.medplusadvantage.com; enter ID number 644220.
The Disability Insurance premium is charged directly to the student account by the Bursar in the Office of the Bursar of the College of Medicine.
The student is responsible for paying this charge the same as any other charge on their account.
Late fees will accrue on this fee if not paid by the due date of the statement when the charge is reflected
A hold will be placed on the account for any past-due balance.
View the disability insurance requirement in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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
- 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.
- Scheduled meeting with the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
- Documentation of the College of Medicine’s professionalism report form
- Inability to register for a new semester of classes
- 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)
All medical students will participate in the infectious disease prevention program.
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.
- Two-step PPD must be administered one to three 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 after April 1 of the matriculation year, 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.
- 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.
- 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, bloodwork monitoring and studies.
Hepatitis B Prevention
- Documentation of current immunization with a series of three doses or a positive quantitative Hepatitis B surface antibody titer is required prior to matriculation. A booster dose is recommended for those who were not tested one to two months after a three-dose series. Obtain a quantitative titer one to two months after the booster/challenge dose. If quantitative Hepatitis B titer is negative, the student will repeat the entire series.
- A quantitative titer will be redrawn one to two months after the completion of the second series of Hepatitis B vaccine.
- If the test is negative after a second vaccine series, the student must be tested for HBsAg and total anti-HBc. Those who test negative for HBsAg and total anti-HBc should be considered non-responders and counseled about their status.
- Non-responders will be given information about receiving Hepatitis B immunoglobin in the event of an invasive exposure.
- 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, with first dose administered on or after 12 months of age, second dose administered at least four weeks after first dose.
- If the student has a history of the disease and a negative titer, but not documentation of immunizations, a series of two Varicella injections should be given.
- If a student has further concerns about a negative titer, they will be referred to an Infectious Disease provider.
- Documentation of completed primary polio series is required prior to matriculation.
- If no documentation is available, the student must obtain three polio vaccines, the second given one to two months after the first and the third given six to 12 months after the first./li>
Measles, Mumps and Rubella
- Prior to matriculation, medical students are required to have two doses of vaccine MMR (measles, mumps, rubella): First dose administered on or after 12 months of age, second dose administered at least four weeks after first dose. If the first dose was administered prior to 12 months of age, one additional MMR vaccine is required.
- 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 vaccination is required annually.
- Immunizations are offered yearly in the fall. Students are not charged for influenza vaccinations.
- TDAP history: If no documentation of prior tetanus vaccination, student must receive a complete three-dose primary series (first dose of TDAP, followed by second dose of TD four to eight weeks later, and third dose of TD six to 12 months after second dose).
- This is the recommended vaccine as of Oct. 26, 2005, 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 five years.
- Please refer to the policies “Sharps Injury Blood Exposure – Penn State Health” or “Sharps Injury Blood Exposure at University Park.”
Visiting Medical Students
- Visiting medical students are required to meet the same immunization 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 ensure all requirements are met. Student Health personnel may be consulted on the requirements if interpretation is needed.
- Student Health does provide pre-travel visits and some immunizations. Yellow fever vaccine is not offered, and students are referred to local travel clinics.
- During clinical skills week prior to the clinical years, students will be educated in the method of prevention of airborne and blood-borne pathogens and procedure to follow should exposure occur. Medical students are required to complete Power Air Purifying Respirator training, part of the annual infection prevention requirement. Mask fit testing is provided as necessary.
- 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)
- Influenza vaccination is required annually for all medical and physician assistant students.
- Immunizations are offered in the fall.
- Students are not charged for influenza vaccinations.
Wear all required protective gear for every session, during class hours or after hours.
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 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 to 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 can be called at 717-531-5998 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 717-531-8444 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, call 717-531-8444 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)
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. Makeup 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 the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling 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, 717-531-3876
- Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling, 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.
Every effort will be made to care for a medical student’s inpatient psychiatric needs in a way that will avoid potential compromise the individual’s right to confidentiality. Medical students are preferentially admitted to inpatient psychiatric services at facilities other than our affiliate teaching hospital, Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI). If no alternative facility is available, admission to PPI will be pursued.
In order to ensure adherence to this procedure, several steps have been taken:
- The Clinical Social Work staff within Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Emergency Department have been informed of the procedure. They will not refer medical students for admission to PPI unless no alternative is available. Contact: Annette Ashe, Clinical Social Work Manager, Care Transitions Department, 717-531-5658
- Dauphin County Crisis has been informed about the procedure. During their assessment and referral for placement, they ask about employment and education; therefore, Penn State medical students should be identifiable. They will not suggest admission to PPI unless no alternative is available. Contact: Lauren Davis, Dauphin County Crisis Supervisor, 717-780-7050
- If a student chooses to have inpatient psychiatric care at PPI because of lack of available beds at other institutions, the Director of Student Mental Health and Counseling will contact and work with the Chief Medical Officer and/or the Adult Service Line Director of PPI to develop a treatment plan that will create minimal impact to student confidentiality.Contact: PPI Admissions, 717-782-4693 (Yu-Fei Duan, Adult Service Line Director, or Elisabeth Kunkel, Chief Medical Officer of PPI, 717-782-4796
- A trainee-provider response grid has been created. This grid indicates who can provide psychiatric care for a student within PPI. This serves as a suggestion to best protect student confidentiality. Patient care is held at the highest priority.
- Contact with the Chief Medical Officer of PPI, Dauphin County Crisis and Clinical Social Work staff in Hershey Medical Center’s emergency department will be made at least on a yearly basis to ensure that the procedure is still acknowledged and supported.
To address administrative concerns, the following procedures have been put in place:
- Given the University’s policy on missing student notification, students will be urged to contact the appropriate Dean to inform them that they are having a medical emergency that will prohibit them from attending class. If they are unable to provide this information, the director of the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling will inform the appropriate Dean.
- The Director of the Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling will address any additional administrative concerns until the student is able to return to their educational program.
View medical student inpatient psychiatric admission information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
To provide a procedure for any sharps injury or blood body fluid exposure.
All COM faculty, staff, and students
- 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/Attending. They are responsible for source testing.
- Complete the Intake of Sharps Injury or Blood/Body Fluid Splash Questionnaire through the website https://infonet.pennstatehealth.net/sharps or use the QR Code below to obtain a confidential case number for lab work.
- The instructions and case number will be provided to you via a PDF at the end of the report and in a separate email. The Supervisor/Attending will receive an email with instructions on how to obtain consent from the source and have bloodwork performed.
- SEEK IMMEDIATE TREATMENT for sharps injuries or bodily fluid exposures
- Students at Penn State Health- Hershey Medical Center or nearby will be directed to the HMC or nearest Emergency Department.
- Students at our distance Affiliate training institutions (York, Kaiser-Permanente, Summit Health), Penn State Health-St. Joseph, or other institutions should follow the institution/hospital’s established policy for exposure (Generally, this is to report to the institution’s Emergency Room for treatment).
- Students at University Park should follow the Sharps Injury and Body Fluid Exposure at University Park policy.8. Follow up with Student Health at (717) 531-5998 on the next business day. Follow- up lab testing will be done through Student Health.
Financial coverage for students involved in invasive incidents: Any remaining balance after insurance payment is applied will be covered by Penn State College of Medicine.
Applies to all medical students
Person(s) Responsible for Review of Policy
Committee for Undergraduate Medical Education (CUMED)
View sharps injury/blood and body fluid exposure information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
In the event that a student is involved in an invasive incident with a needle or scalpel containing another person’s blood or body fluid, the following procedure should be followed.
- 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
- Notify your Supervisor/Attending
- Seek follow up care according to the policy below
Mount Nittany Medical Center
If a needle stick or other invasive incident occurs while at Mount Nittany Medical Center (MNMC), then MNMC will have the initial evaluation and baseline testing completed through their usual process for all invasive incidents, such as needle sticks. Medical students must report incidents to the provider they are working with, followed by the Employee Health Service Department, who can direct them to the Emergency Department and process testing for the source patient. When seen at the Emergency Department, the student will need to provide their medical insurance information so that charges can be processed.
Students will need to complete an electronic MNMC non-employee event report by typing “event report” in the search bar located on the connect home page. This form can be printed and completed or completed electronically.
The completed form must be turned into the Director of Risk Management (Herb Wilson). For questions please contact the Employee Health Service Department at 814-234-6731.
Source patient testing will be conducted through MNMC Employee Health. Serial testing will be completed initially and at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months, as per the College of Medicine’s protocol. MNMC will correspond in writing and by telephone with student regarding baseline testing results.
Any balance remaining after the student’s medical insurance payment is processed will be paid by Penn State College of Medicine. Please submit these bills to the Office of Medical Education, Suite 304.
Mount Nittany Physician Group Outpatient Clinics
If a needle stick or other invasive incident occurs while at a MNMC Outpatient Clinic, students will contact and visit Mount Nittany Physician Group (MNPG) Occupational Health. MNPG Occupational Health is located at 1850 E. Park Avenue, Suite 302 State College, PA 16803, telephone number 814-231-7094. This is separate from Penn State University Occupational Health, which is located in the same building.
Students will need to complete an initial visit when the incident occurs, and subsequent visits and testing at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months. Students are required to be seen by a physician at each visit.
Any balance remaining after the insurance payment will be paid by Penn State College of Medicine. Submit these bills to the Office of Medical Education, Suite 304.
Penn State Health (State College) Outpatient Clinics
If a needle stick or other invasive incident occurs while at a Penn State Health Outpatient Clinic, students will visit University Health Services located at Penn State University, 438 Student Health Ctr, University Park, PA 16802, telephone number 814-863-0774.
Students will need to complete an initial visit when the incident occurs and subsequent visits and testing at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months. Students are required to be seen by a physician at each visit.
Any balance remaining after the insurance payment will be paid by Penn State College of Medicine. Submit these bills to the Office of Medical Education, Suite 304.
HMC or Penn State Health, PSHMG Sites in Hershey
You must use your smartphone or a clinical work station to access the “Intake of Sharps Injury or Blood/Body Fluid Splash Questionnaire” at https://infonet.pennstatehealth.net/sharps.
After submitting the questionnaire, you’ll receive instructions, and a confidential case number to use for lab work. The instructions and case number will be provided via a PDF at the end of the report and in a separate email.
The supervisor you listed in the questionnaire will also receive an email with instructions on how to obtain consent from the source of the exposure, which is usually a patient, and how to have bloodwork performed.
At Unaffiliated Clinics, Hospitals or Other Institutions
- Report injury/exposure to the supervising physician. They are responsible for source testing.
- Follow the institution/hospital’s established policy for exposure.
- Report to the Nearest Emergency Department with your medical insurance card.
- Follow up with Student Health at (717) 531-5998 on the next business day.
Student Health will provide instruction on how to obtain follow up testing and, what to do if you receive a bill for your care and testing.
- If a needle stick occurs after business hours or on weekends at any University Park site, students will go to the Emergency Department at Mount Nittany Medical Center for initial testing. If a needle stick occurs after business hours or on weekends at any Hershey Medical Center site, call the Sharps Injury Hotline at 717-531-7775.
- Students will need to provide their medical insurance information so that charges can be processed.
Follow-up testing will take place at the appropriate corresponding location, depending on where the initial invasive event took place:
- MNMC: MNMC Employee Health
- MNMC Outpatient Clinics: MNPG Occupational Health
- Penn State Outpatient Clinics in State College: University Health Services
- Penn State Outpatient Clinics in Hershey: Student Health Services
Students will need to complete an initial visit to the appropriate office when the incident occurs and subsequent visits and testing at six weeks, three months and six months.
Any balance remaining after the insurance payment will be paid by Penn State College of Medicine. Submit these bills to the Office of Medical Education, Suite 304.
If you have ANY questions, call Student Health at 717-531-5998.
View the sharps injury/blood and body fluid exposure in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
In accordance with recommendations of the Association of American Medical Colleges and standards of the Licensing Committee on Medical Education, the Penn State College of Medicine requires all medical students to have continuous health insurance coverage.
This policy is in place to maintain the health and wellness of our students and provide protection from the financial risk of health care expenses.
Student health insurance is billed to the student’s account around the same time as fall tuition. At the beginning of each academic year, all students will be charged for the PSCOM Administered Health Insurance Plan (also referred to as the University’s plan) unless they are enrolled in another PSU Administered Insurance Plan (MD/PhD students) or are granted an approved insurance waiver.
Students who are married and/or have eligible dependents may elect to enroll their dependents in the insurance plan by completing an online application and personally paying the required premium (which can be found at the provider’s website).
Students have the option of enrolling in the PSCOM-Administered Health Insurance Plan or requesting a waiver for an alternative health insurance plan. If a waiver is granted, the selected insurance policy will provide the same minimum care as the University’s plan and provide uninterrupted coverage throughout the year. Requirements are listed on the Waiver form and shown below (international students have additional waiver requirements-see appendix). A signed waiver form will be maintained in the bursar’s office.
An acceptable health insurance plan will:
- Include coverage for both accidents and sicknesses. Insurance that covers only emergencies will not be acceptable.
- Include coverage for all pre-existing conditions: (ACA)
- Have a deductible not in excess of $3,000 per individual per year.
- Have maternity benefits, these should be the same as benefits for an illness. If they are not the same, the maternity benefit must meet all applicable waiver standards (e.g., deductible, maximum benefit, etc.)
- Have an unlimited maximum benefit per incident: (ACA)
- Have inpatient and outpatients, mental and nervous disorder benefits
- Pay benefits worldwide.
Certain insurances and Medicaid plans (not from PA) do not meet these standards and cannot be accepted. Students that have a regional HMO insurance policy must request a guest membership or purchase a plan that allows the student to have coverage in the central PA area.
Enrollment Procedure: New Students
- During the orientation period students must complete a PSCOM Insurance Enrollment Form via LionPATH, or
- Complete a Waiver of Health Insurance Form and provide proof of appropriate insurance coverage via LionPATH.
Enrollment Procedure: Continuing Students
At the beginning of each academic year, continuing students will need to complete either an Insurance Enrollment Form for the PSCOM-Administered Health Insurance Plan or complete a waiver if opting not to purchase the PSCOM insurance plan via LionPATH.
Students requesting not to participate in the PSCOM-Administered Health Insurance Plan must complete an Insurance Waiver Form at the beginning of each academic year to ensure that the College of Medicine has documented appropriate insurance coverage. Waivers are not automatically renewed from one year to the next. If a Waiver form is not submitted by the assigned insurance deadline (see below), students will be enrolled and charged for the PSCOM-Administered Health Insurance Plan. If no waiver is received by the deadline, students are responsible for the insurance charges and can only be removed from the University’s Insurance Plan within the Open Enrollment period designated by First Risk Advisors. Additionally, if students are enrolled in the University’s plan and use the benefits within the first thirty days of coverage and also present a waiver, they will not be permitted to be dropped from the University’s plan and are responsible for the premium charges.
Deadline and Where to Submit Forms
The deadline for submitting an Enrollment or Waiver Form via LionPATH is Sept. 3 each year. Ideally forms should be received by July 31, to ensure coverage is in place by Aug. 13 (medical and PA students).
An enrollment or waiver form must be submitted online via LionPATH under “My Information – Health Insurance” by the established deadline date to avoid being charged for the PSCOM- Administered Health Insurance Plan. Please contact First Risk Advisors directly with questions (email@example.com OR 267-880-2300).
Premiums Payment Schedule
Student premiums will be charged to the student account each semester to coordinate with Fall (coverage period Aug. 13 to Dec. 31) and Spring (Jan. 1 to Aug. 12) tuition and fee charges.
Students enrolled for coverage in the College of Medicine-administered health insurance plan may also enroll eligible dependents. An eligible dependent is a spouse, domestic partner and/or any unmarried child(ren) under the age of 26 who are not self-supporting. Dependent eligibility expires concurrently with that of the insured student. Students must personally pay premiums for dependent coverage. Contact First Risk Advisors directly to enroll dependents (firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-880-2300).
View the student health insurance policy in the policy tool. (ePass login required)
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.
Students must give the office 48 hours advance notice to complete the request. All students are required to get an influenza vaccine yearly.
If a student chooses to obtain a vaccination at another location it is their responsibility to provide documentation to Student Health and to their clinical sites. If the student is unable to come to the flu clinics provided by Student Health, the student should 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)
- Prior to matriculation a 2 step PPD is required: the second test is placed 1 to 3 weeks after a negative result. An IGRA (T-SPOT or QuantiFERON Gold) 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 matriculation and annually thereafter students are required to have a PPD or T-SPOT for Tuberculosis screening.
- If a student has a positive skin test, an IGRA (T-SPOT or QuantiFERON Gold) TB blood test is required. Annually thereafter these students will be tested via T-SPOT.
- Students with a history of a past positive PPD skin test or positive IGRA (T-SPOT or QuantiFERON Gold) TB blood test, treated or not treated prophylactically, must obtain a CXR 10 weeks prior to matriculation. Annually thereafter these students are required to complete an annual TB symptom questionnaire.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- If a student is exposed to TB, a PPD skin test or IGRA (T-SPOT) TB blood test will be performed. Students are also expected to monitor for signs or symptoms of TB: a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs), weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever, sweating at night; and must notify Student Health immediately if they experience any of these symptoms.
View the tuberculosis policy in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
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.
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)
The Office of Student Mental Health and Counseling (OSMHC) is designed to meet the counseling and mental health 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 OSMHC provides individual counseling, couples counseling, psychiatric services, consultation, crisis counseling, and outreach programing. All Penn State College of Medicine students are eligible for services within the OSMHC.
View the Student Mental Health & Counseling information in the policy management tool. (ePass login required)
- 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 their 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 email@example.com or 717-531-3713 with questions.
Penn State College of Medicine University Park offices and classrooms are located on the third floor of the Centre Medical Sciences Building, 1850 E. Park Ave., State College, PA 16803. Students and residents are asked to reserve parking spaces closest to the building for patients. Parking permits are not required to park in the Centre Medical Services Building lot.
Mount Nittany Medical Center is located at 1800 E. Park Ave., 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 physicians’ lot. Permits are not required to park in the Mount Nittany Medical Center lots.
Local public transportation is provided through CATARIDE. See CATARIDE schedule, RIDEpass application and additional information here.
The shuttle service between University Park and Hershey runs Monday through Friday weekdays all year round. Each trip takes approximately two hours.
You can find more information at the University Park-Hershey Shuttle page.
The University Fitness Center offers a friendly atmosphere with support to help you achieve your personal fitness goals.
Membership is free for students defined as full-time Penn State students enrolled in one of the following Penn State College of Medicine programs:
- Medical school
- Graduate school
- Physician Assistant program
- College of Nursing
Penn State College of Medicine University Park students have the ability to access three recreation facilities on campus at Penn State University Park.
The student Campus Recreation membership will allow access to all three fitness centers (White Building, IM Building and Hepper Fitness Center), most fitness classes, and open recreation areas (indoor track, basketball, racquetball, squash, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, etc.) in the IM and White buildings.
Patrons of any of the campus recreation facilities will be required to swipe into the building using a valid Penn State ID card or membership card with an active Campus Recreation membership.