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  • Dr. Bonilla

Fitness for Duty Evaluation and Review Policy

■The following technical standards are a prerequisite for admission to, progress within, and graduation from the MUSC College of Medicine (COM):

            ▪Intellectual capacity

            ▪Physical ability

            ▪Emotional stability

            ▪Interpersonal sensitivity

            ▪Communication skills

■Students must meet minimal technical standards for COM admission, progress during the period of studies, and for graduation, with or without reasonable accommodations. 

■Difficulty meeting academic standards, professionalism standards, or both is suggestive of deficiency in one or more of the required technical standards.  Deficiency in one or more technical standard may also be due to the presence of a specific educational, mental health, or medical diagnosis.  Deficiency in one or more technical standard is not assumed to represent a permanent circumstance. 

■All students experiencing difficulties related to academic standards, professionalism standards, or both are encouraged to meet with either the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs as early as possible prior to an academic failure or professionalism sanction.  The goal of meeting with a Student Affairs Dean is to assist the student in developing an informal (voluntary) remediation plan to support adequate academic and professional performance.

■All students experiencing difficulties related to academic standards, professionalism standards, or any other interfering issues (e.g., medical issues, psychological issues, other issues of a personal nature) will be referred to the Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS) and the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) for further evaluation and recommendation of appropriate professional services based upon these evaluations.

■This initial contact with Student Affairs, CAPS, and CAE is considered to be voluntary and private.  In addition, any recommendations made by the Associate or Assistant Deans for Student Affairs, CAPS, or CAE professionals are considered advisory (following recommendations is voluntary).  Further, communication between Student Affairs, CAPS, and CAE professionals will be based upon explicit permission (written informed consent) being granted by the student for this communication to occur. 

■Any interruption of studies for 3 months or longer, will require an official leave of absence.  Any time a leave of absence from studies is taken, a Fitness for Duty (FFD) evaluation and review must occur.  

■A Fitness for Duty (FFD) evaluation can also be required at other times on the recommendation of either the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs based on reasonable concern that a student is impaired in terms of one or more of the technical standards required for admission, progress, and graduation from the MUSC COM.  

■FFD evaluations are conducted by qualified professionals trained to address educational, medical, and psychological issues of potential relevance to student academic and professional performance.  Content specific FFD evaluations will occur in the following areas:  educational issues (CAE); psychological issues (CAPS); and medical issues (Student Health Services).   Students may request permission to have all or part of their FFD evaluation completed by qualified professionals outside of the MUSC system.  Alternate professional choices must be approved in advance by the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.  The student is responsible for the cost of FFD evaluations completed outside of the MUSC system.  FFD evaluations completed within the MUSC system (CAE, CAPS, Student Health Services) will not require a charge beyond previously paid student fees.   

■All completed FFD evaluations will be reviewed by the COM Progress Committee for a determination to be made regarding the existence of any deficient technical standards.  Decisions regarding deficient technical standards are administrative findings and express the considered opinion of the Progress Committee that specific barriers to adequate academic or professional performance exist.  Deficiency in one or more technical standard is required as a basis to grant a leave of absence. 

■The FFD evaluation and review is a two-part process with part one occurring at the time a leave is granted and part two occurring no later than 30 days prior to requested resumption of studies.

■The FFD evaluation and review provides a formal assessment of technical competencies (intellectual capacity, physical ability, emotional stability, interpersonal sensitivity, and communication skills).  When leave is granted, the student will be notified by the chairperson of the Progress Committee of noted technical standard deficiencies and will require the student to meet with the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to develop a specific remedial plan.

■Exit remedial plans must be finalized within 30 days of the start date for the granted leave of absence.  The final remedial plan must be reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs as well as the chairperson of the Progress Committee.  Students are required to adhere to the terms of the remediation plan.

■Re-entrance FFD evaluation and review must occur no later than 30 days prior to the planned resumption of academic studies.  The Progress Committee may make several decisions with regard to re-entrance FFD reviews:

            ▪Re-entrance approved (with or without conditions)

            ▪Leave of absence continued (with conditions)

            ▪Dismissal

■Recommendation for re-entrance approval will be based on the judgment that:

            ▪The student adhered to their remediation plan

            ▪The student currently meets required technical standards (with or without conditions)

 

 

■Recommendation for re-entrance denial (either continuation of leave or dismissal) will be based on the judgment that:

            ▪The student did not adhere to one or more aspect of their remediation plan

            ▪The student does not meet one or more technical standard

■The Progress Committee has the authority to grant the conditional resumption of COM studies with specific additional requirements (e.g., tutoring, psychological counseling, etc.) targeted at assisting a student in achieving and/or maintaining the technical standards required for admission to, progress within, and graduation from the MUSC COM.  The student may be placed on academic and/or professional probation.

■COM FFD evaluation and review policy is designed to support and assist students in achieving their academic and professional potential.  The policy is intended to promote growth and development, not to punish students.   

 

 

 

 

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