Clinical Phase Attendance Policy

Physician Assistant Studies

Clinical Phase Attendance Policy


Statement of Expectations

Attendance at an assigned clinical site is mandatory. Preceptors are extending their knowledge, practice site, staff, and time as a learning opportunity, and regular, consistent attendance is respectful, illustrates motivation, and is a component of professionalism. Preceptors are asked to indicate if there is any missing time on the Final Evaluation of the Student after each clerkship.


Students are expected to follow the schedule provided by the preceptor and be in daily attendance throughout each rotation unless prior arrangements have been made with their preceptor and the course director. Students are required to submit schedules during the first week of the clerkship. Part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, or lack of pet or childcare are unacceptable excuses for tardiness or absences. Missing more than three (3) days in one clerkship may result in scheduling additional time to meet the required hours as determined by the course director and/or the Student Progress Committee (SPC). Additional time requirements may delay the final grade and possibly delay program completion and graduation.


The student will be consistently present and on time as scheduled by the preceptor. To participate and maximize clinical learning, students should remain at the clinical site until all duties and assignments are complete. If the scheduled hours are changed, and other responsibilities outside of the clinical have been previously arranged, the student must communicate with the preceptor and course director about the inability to adjust to the new schedule due to personal conflict. Tardiness will be considered unprofessional and reflected in grading and/or referred to the Student Progress Committee (SPC).

Clinical Hours

Student clinical training should ideally follow the preceptor's schedule at least 40 hours per week. The UNR Med policy prohibits students from working more than 80 hours a week and/or more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period. For every six (6) days worked, students will be allowed at least one day off.

Participating in a call schedule may vary depending on the preceptor's requirements, and the program encourages learners to take on this opportunity as much as possible to maximize the clinical learning experience.

Scheduled hours may vary between day, evening, and night in some practices. Shift work reflects the real-life situation of a practicing PA, and students may be required to work during holidays. If the schedule given by the preceptor results in the average hours not meeting the minimum, the student is responsible for communicating that with the course director. Logging activities will be monitored closely, and the clinical team will address any situation that illustrates less than minimal hours in the clinical assignment. Students may be given an incomplete grade for the course until such hours are made up in a clinical setting if required.

Health Restrictions

A student must immediately notify the course director and the preceptor of any significant change in their health status that impacts the rotation's ability to progress. The program will work with the student to determine if any restrictions or modifications of the student's rotation are necessary. The SPC or Program Director will further review the issue if an accommodation cannot be made. The student must submit a written statement from a licensed physician, PA or APRN detailing any necessary restrictions and/or confirmation of the student's ability to continue with the program requirements. The details should not include a diagnosis or treatment plan other than the ability to indicate the student's safety in returning to the clinical site.

Examples of Types of Absences:

1. Preceptor Directed Absence

If a preceptor instructs a student to be absent from an assigned site outside of the initial schedule, the student must immediately notify (email and/or text message) the clinical coordinator and course director upon notification that they will not be at the site, or the preceptor will be unable to supervise.

If a preceptor directs the student not to return to the facility, the student must immediately notify the clinical coordinator and the course director.

2. Excused Absence Process

Students are responsible for prompt and consistent communication regarding any absence from the clinical site.

  • Students may only be excused in a family emergency, personal illness, injury, or for other reasons approved at the discretion of the course director, the Program Director, and/or the SPC.
  • Absences due to illness of longer than two (2) consecutive days will require medical clearance and a letter completed by a licensed physician, PA or APRN to excuse the absence and/or return to the clinical site.
  • Each day of an absence, the student must notify the clinical site/preceptor, course director, and/or clinical coordinator the night before or before 8:00 AM the day of the absence.
  • The program will not contact the preceptor or site for the student unless there are extenuating circumstances. Failure to notify the site will be considered unprofessional behavior.
  • Requests for time away for Religious Observation and Practice must be submitted thirty (30) days before the requested days off. UNR Med PA Studies Program follows NSHE policy, and it can be found here:

3. Unexcused Absences

  • Students may not miss more than six (6) unapproved days in the clinical phase.
  • Students with more than six (6) unapproved days during the clinical phase must meet with the SPC to review progression.
  • Unapproved absences for exams will result in a grade of zero on any evaluation/assessment activity unless subsequent documentation about why the absence should be excused is submitted and approved by the course director.
  • Expenses resulting from an unexcused absence are the responsibility of the student.

4. Extended Absences or Missing Days

The course director may assign additional required clinical activity to make up for approved extended absences, which may delay a student's graduation date.

5. Anticipated Professional Time

The course director may approve time away from a clinical training site for professional activities. Students must submit a request and receive approval from the course director before leaving the clinical site/training for professional activities.

6. Clerkship Assessment Days

Clerkship Assessment Days (CAD) are part of each rotation, and students must attend. Students must submit a request and receive approval from the clinical coordinator and/or course director if they cannot attend.

Reviewed. 5/23/23