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In addition to achieving passing grades in all required courses and clerkships and passing Step I and Step II of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), medical students are required to adhere to standards of ethical behavior and professional conduct in order to graduate. Professional conduct encompasses demonstration of an interest in learning, appropriate interpersonal skills, respect for differences among fellow students, patients and colleagues, adherence to confidentiality guidelines, abidance by local and national laws, and adherence to the ethical principles listed below. Ethical and professional behavior includes the expectation that students will do their own work and give credit to others where due, e.g., write their own reports or other assignments and give complete citations when quoting material from others, whether from the literature or the Web; and will neither give nor receive assistance from other students on examinations. Failure to demonstrate these attributes on one or more occasions can constitute grounds for review by the Medical Student Promotions Committee with dismissal from the College as a possible outcome.
The Carver College of Medicine insists that its students adhere to the following general principles of medical ethics. These are modified from the American Medical Association’s Principles of Medical Ethics, 1988, which are described as “standards of conduct that define the essentials of honorable behavior for the physician.”
A medical student shall:
Examples of unethical behavior and unprofessional conduct include, but are not limited to:
* Appropriate actions include: approaching the student directly about the observed action, consulting a member of the Honor Council, and/or contacting a Faculty member or an Administration representative.
The health care professions require women and men of superb character who lead lives that exemplify high standards of ethical conduct. A shared commitment to maintaining those standards, embodied in an Honor Code, creates an atmosphere in which community members can develop professional skills and strengthen ethical principles. The Honor Code demands that community members tell the truth, live honestly, advance on individual merit, and demonstrate respect for others in the academic, clinical and research communities.
The central purpose of the Honor Code is to sustain and protect an environment of mutual respect and trust in which students have the freedom necessary to develop their intellectual and personal potential. To support the community of trust, students and faculty must accept individual responsibility and apply themselves to developing a collegial atmosphere. The intent of the Honor Code is not merely to prevent students from lying, cheating and stealing or to punish those who violate its principles. Rather, participation in the Honor Code assures The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine community that the integrity of its members is unquestioned and accepted by those in the academic, clinical and research communities. Participation in the Honor Code confers upon students the responsibility to respect and protect the integrity of The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
Read the Honor Code.
Medical students are required to respect the rights of patients including the right to confidentiality and shall safeguard patient confidences within the constraints of the law.
As a member of the patient care team, students will have access to information from patient medical records and/or computer-stored information. This information may not be discussed with anyone unless this disclosure is required in the performance of duties and responsibilities. It is a breach of confidentiality to review medical records or to access computer-stored patient information not required in the performance of assigned duties.
Students are responsible for maintaining the confidence of patients by sharing confidential information only with others who need to know and by handling any documentation of information appropriately. Students are required to submit a signed confidentiality statement during the Foundations of Clinical Practice I course and each year after that an online confidentiality statement is required.
Students should note that the confidentiality policy applies to all student-patient interactions, in both formal curricular and extracurricular or volunteer contexts.
Patient information furnished to The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and staff/payroll personnel data stored in EPIC are confidential. The following are basic rules of confidentiality you are required to respect:
Students are expected to dress appropriately and to comport themselves in a manner consistent with the location and nature of their educational activities.
When students interact with patients, families, and health care professionals, “traditional” attire and physician-identifying clothing, such as a white coat with the Carver College of Medicine embroidered logo and a name badge, are appropriate. Medical students are expected to identify themselves as students at all times and must assume responsibility to clarify their role to patients.
The following is excerpted from the University Hospital Advisory Committee (HAC)’s Professional Appearance Policy for staff, faculty, physicians, students, and volunteers who are required by UI Hospitals and Clinics Photo Identification Card Policy to wear a UI Hospitals and Clinics identification badge. This policy is effective January 1, 2004 and is available in full online at http://www.uihealthcare.org/otherservices.aspx?id=16194.
For more information, please call the Staff Information Hotline at 356-2444.
When students are assigned to clinical activities in the community, outside of UIHC or the VAMC, they should consider themselves as representatives of The University of Iowa Health Care. Hence, attire and behavior should promote a positive impression for the individual student, the specific course, and the institution. Specific dress requirements may be set by community-based clinical activities. These requirements typically will be included in written course materials, but if any doubt exists, it is the responsibility of the student to inquire.
There are strict protocols at UIHC and the VAMC regarding the appropriate use of scrub attire:
Medical students’ responsible and timely evaluation of lectures, small groups and courses improves curricular and clinical requirements. Additionally, providing evaluation is an integral part of a physician’s career. In order to strengthen curricular offerings and build effective skills in communication, students should offer constructive feedback and avoid excessive negativism and offensive language.
Medical students are expected to attend to their administrative responsibilities in a timely manner. Examples of these responsibilities are paying their University bill on time, meeting the annual immunization requirements of Student Health Service, making and keeping appointments with OSAC deans and other administrators, meeting deadlines such as drop and add deadlines for courses and clerkships, turning in applications and other paperwork on time, etc. Students who consistently violate these requirements and courtesies will be referred to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs with possible referral to the Medical Student Promotions Committee.
Misuse of electronic communication equipment is considered a serious violation of the University Code of Student Ethics and may represent a violation of federal law. Violations of University policy may result in the violator being brought before the Medical Student Promotions Committee with a possible outcome of dismissal from the College. Common sense dictates that collegiate, University and hospital computers shall not be used to access or send to another person material of a potentially offensive nature.
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