Medical Student Professionalism Policy

Effective: 6/2/2024

To whom this policy applies

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Medical Students, including students in any phase of a dual degree program.


Professionalism is a crucial component of UNR Med’s core educational mission. The practice of medicine requires interaction with multiple other healthcare professionals often in serious and even life-threatening situations.  In order to practice successfully as a physician, one must be able to interact positively, productively, and respectfully with individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, life experiences, and abilities.  These skills are also required of medical students, especially in their clinical activities. 

Students must meet UNR Med’s standards of professionalism as part of meeting the medical education program objectives. The standards assessed are integrity, reliability and responsibility, self-awareness, team building and communication, and patient-centered care as set forth below. This policy states the expectations and consequences for lapses in professionalism and is a companion to the Academic Progress and Promotion Policy and Medical Student Discipline, Dismissal, and Due Process Policy


Professionalism Lapse: Behaviors that deviate from the UNR Med student professionalism standards.

Co-Curricular Activities: These activities are programs or learning experiences that complement the academic curriculum or professional development of students. These activities include, but are not limited to, the Student Outreach Clinic, research, preceptorship, clinical shadowing, and other volunteer activities where the student is participating as a member of the UNR Med Community.

Conference Report: The documentation of the meeting between the student and the administration of the medical school regarding professionalism lapse that will include, but is not limited to, follow up actions, if any.

Learning Environment Review Form: The online form used to document specific lapses in professionalism observed during curricular or co-curricular activities.


To progress and graduate, students must meet UNR Med standards of professionalism as set forth below.  It is understood these standards apply to students, as part of the UNR Med community, including while on leave of absence.

  1. Integrity
    1. Act in an ethical, responsible and dependable manner;
    2. Adhere to the UNR Med Honor Pledge;
    3. Maintain an honest approach in all activities.
  2. Reliability and Responsibility
    1. Complete all tasks in a timely and responsible manner;
    2. Arrive on time for scheduled activities and provide notification in a timely manner prior to delays and absences;
    3. Attend all mandatory activities, including but not limited to classes, workshops, training modules, clinical rotations, and meetings for their full duration, unless other arrangements have been made;
    4. Respond promptly (within 48 hours) to UNR Med and affiliate requests when contacted personally or electronically unless another time frame is prescribed by the requester or policy;
    5. Accept responsibility for one's actions;
    6. Report unsafe conditions or behaviors;
    7. Demonstrate self-motivation and accountability for one's own learning and professional career development;
    8. Read and adhere to the contents of the syllabi published for each course, block, and rotation;
    9. Read and adhere to the policies of all applicable training sites.
  3. Self-Awareness
    1. Accept constructive feedback and critiques in all areas of academic and professional development and modify behavior accordingly;
    2. Maintain professionalism in interactions to avoid disruption in the learning environment, including clinical settings;
    3. Identify personal biases to avoid conduct that is discriminatory or has a negative or disruptive impact;
    4. Develop the ability to use self-awareness of knowledge, skills, and emotional limitations to engage in appropriate help-seeking behaviors.
  4. Team Building and Communication
    1. Facilitate, engage, and respond to communication among team members;
    2. Maintain a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and trust;
    3. Provide constructive and supportive feedback;
    4. Manage conflicts in a collaborative, non-disruptive manner, without engaging in conduct that targets a particular individual or group.
  5. Patient-Centered Care
    1. Meet all assigned clinical responsibilities;
    2. Demonstrate compassion, integrity, and respect to patients and their families, at all times;
    3. Discuss and refer to patients in a respectful and non-judgmental manner;
    4. Maintain patient confidentiality, including but not limited to complying with HIPAA;
    5. Recognize limits to knowledge in the patient care settings and participate in patient care accordingly;
    6. Correct, manage, and report mistakes or errors affecting patient care in a timely and ethical manner;
    7. Notify the clinical supervisor when unable to fulfill assigned patient care duties.

Evaluation of Professionalism

  1. Student professionalism will be evaluated while part of the UNR Med community, including but not limited to curricular and co-curricular activities.
    1. In curricular activities, each student is evaluated by raters using a standard performance evaluation. An evaluator who notes a lapse in professionalism in a student’s performance must submit a detailed description of the lapse.
    2. The Learning Environment Report Form is used to report observed professionalism lapses.
  2. Lapses in professionalism will be reviewed by the Student Affairs and Personnel Committee and routed to the appropriate individual to determine with whom the student needs to meet and will facilitate the meeting. Meetings will be documented in a Conference Report form written by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and/or Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs.
  3. The Conference Report will be part of the student file and will document the meeting with the student and follow-up actions including, but not limited to:
    1. No further action;
    2. Referral to the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC); and/or
    3. Other action as appropriate to the situation, including but not limited to counseling, coaching, mentoring, or other action.
  4. A lapse in professionalism may result disciplinary action up to and including dismissal in accordance with the Medical Student Discipline, Dismissal, and Due Process Policy. 
  5. In the event a professionalism lapse is routed to Title IX/EEO or University Police Department, the policies of those offices will be followed.
  6. A lapse in professionalism may result in academic monitoring or academic probation. Lapses in professionalism that result in academic probation will be reported on the Medical Student Performance Evaluation.