Appendix D

Code of Professional Conduct

Standard of conduct

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine has established and maintains an environment of mutual respect. All members of the medical school community are expected to maintain a positive learning environment in which students, faculty, staff and residents treat each other with respect. Members of the community, including institutional leaders, will not tolerate harassment, intimidation, exploitation and/or abuse.

Purpose of policy

This policy is intended to define inappropriate conduct in relationships with students. It also describes the mechanism through which medical students can report violations without fear of retaliation. This policy insures access to educational programs aimed at preventing student mistreatment. For the purposes of this policy, community is defined as all sites where University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine students receive training.

Promoting a Positive Learning Environment

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine provides ongoing educational and developmental opportunities to promote a positive learning environment respectful of all individuals. The policy will be included in both student and resident handbooks, and will be posted on the medical school website. The topic will be addressed at orientations throughout medical school.

  • Residents: The policy will be included in the resident handbook, and will be addressed at resident physician orientation sessions. Clinical department chairs and residency program directors will be asked to ensure that all residents and fellows complete a mandatory web- based training course on identification and prevention of mistreatment and abuse during the first year of their training.
  • Faculty: The policy will be distributed electronically by the Dean to all faculty members, including adjunct and volunteer faculty. The message will include resources for resolution of alleged occurrences.
  • Nursing and Other Clinical/Support Staff: A letter will be sent from the Dean to the Chief Executive Officer at affiliated institutions requesting distribution of the policy to all staff interacting with the medical school students. Resources will be available for presentations on the topic to various groups at the training sites.

Finally, educational materials including a website, posters, brochures and other documents that can easily be referred to by students, residents, staff and faculty will be disseminated throughout the medical school. The policy will also be attached to affiliation agreements with community partners.

Mistreatment of students may occur in many forms and can seriously impair the educational experience. Types of mistreatment include verbal, hierarchical/power, ethnic or cultural, physical, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Specific examples of mistreatment include but are not limited to:

  • Yelling at and/or verbally berating a student in public or private actions that can be reasonably be interpreted as demeaning or humiliating (harsh criticism can be very appropriate in a life and death situation)
  • Assigning duties as a means of punishing students instead of for educational benefits
  • Unwarranted exclusion from learning opportunities
  • Threats to fail, assign a lower grade or give a poor evaluation for inappropriate reasons
  • Requesting that students complete personal chores or errands
  • Unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, innuendo or taunting remarks about a student's physical appearance, age, gender, ethnicity or culture, sexual orientation/identity or marital status
  • Intentional physical contact such as pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, tripping, throwing objects or aggressive violation of personal space

Procedure for Resolution

Please note that all complaints of sexual harassment and'/or discrimination will be referred to Office of Affirmative Action on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Informal Resolution

  • Students are encouraged to utilize any of the informal mechanisms listed below when possible.
    • Direct discussion between student and alleged offender
    • Discussion with course or clerkship coordinator, Associate Dean for Medical Education or Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs

Formal Resolution

When the informal mechanisms mentioned above do not lead to resolution of the incident or behavior, the following protocol will be followed:

  • If the incident involves an allegation of mistreatment by a student, the incident will be referred to the Student Promotion and Conduct Committee.
  • If the incident involves an allegation of mistreatment by a resident, the incident will follow the due process provisions in the Resident Handbook.
  • If the incident involves an allegation of mistreatment by a faculty or staff member, it will be referred to an Administrative Code officer pursuant to Ch. 6 of the NSHE Code.


Retaliation against students reporting mistreatment is regarded as a form of mistreatment and will not be tolerated. Accusations that retaliation has occurred will be handled in the same manner as accusations concerning other forms of mistreatment.

Malicious Accusations

A complainant or witness found to have been dishonest or malicious in making the allegations or at any point during the investigation may be subject to disciplinary action.

Campus Resources

The following campus resources may be helpful sources of information or support in dealing with mistreatment or abuse issues: