Fitness for Duty

Policy Manual

  • Policy Number: ASA 16-001
  • Effective Date: 03/07/2016
  • Department: Office of Admissions and Student Affairs
  • Originator: Cherie A. Singer, Associate Dean
  • Download: Download Policy ASA 16-001
  1. Purpose and Background
    All University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) students must meet the standards of fitness for duty. Fitness for Duty evaluations are used to determine if a student's academic or behavioral performance is/may be affected by impairment that includes but is not limited to: medical, behavioral or substance abuse issues. The purpose of the Fitness for Duty evaluation is to determine the student's ability to perform his/her academic and clinical duties responsibly and safely; meaning that he/she is not a danger to patients, colleagues or self. The Fitness for Duty protocol will observe the procedures outlined in the Student Discipline & Dismissal Process policy.
  2. Revision History
    1. Date - Revision No. - Modification - Author(s)
  3. Stakeholders
    1. Medical Students
    2. Faculty
    3. Staff
    4. Residents
  4. Policy
    1. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) may require a Fitness for Duty evaluation when:
      1. There is a referral that creates a concern of a threat to the health or safety of the student or others, or to University property; or,
      2. There is a referral that the student cannot perform the Essential Functions Requirements for Admissions, Promotion, Continuation, and Graduation.
      A student may be placed on a leave of absence during the course of the Fitness for Duty evaluative process.
    2. Fit for Duty Evaluation Logistics
      1. The cost(s) for the initial required Fitness for Duty evaluation will be the responsibility of UNR Med.
      2. The cost(s) for any subsequent evaluations and/or treatment will be the sole responsibility of the student.
      3. A Fitness for Duty evaluation report will be considered valid for up to six months after the date of the report if there are no new or continuing concerns. After six months a new evaluation may be required.
  5. Definitions
    1. Fitness for Duty Evaluation
      An evaluation is used to determine the student's ability to perform his/her academic and clinical duties responsibly and safely; meaning that he/she is not a danger to patients, colleagues or self. The Fitness for Duty evaluation is not a confidential clinical encounter between the student and evaluator.
    2. Impairment
      Impairment(s) that may affect a student's academic or behavioral performance includes, but is not limited to: medical, behavioral, or substance abuse issues.
    3. Essential Functions Requirement for Admission, Promotion, Continuation and Graduation
      All accepted candidates to UNR Med are required to sign the Essential Functions Requirement for Admissions, Promotion, Continuation, and Graduation as a contingency of their admission to and continued enrollment at UNR Med. Each student endorses an acknowledgement of said requirement, which becomes a permanent part of the student record.
    4. Referral
      Any communication received by the Associate Dean for ASA regarding concerns that a student's academic or behavioral performance is/may be affected by impairment.
    5. SPCC
      The Student Promotion and Conduct Committee is charged with overseeing the personal and professional development of medical students at UNR Med. The SPCC is also UNR Med's disciplinary committee.
    6. Fitness for Duty Report
      A written report provided by the independent, non-University affiliated physician or psychologist that was selected by UNR Med and conducted the evaluation. Said report is addressed to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs regarding the student's ability to perform the essential functions and relevant treatment.
    7. Notification
      Any and all notifications must be made in writing. Email communication satisfies that requirement.
  6. Responsibilities & Procedures
    1. Any individual with concerns about student impairment shall notify the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs (ASA).
    2. The Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs will notify the Senior Associate Dean for the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and present the matter to the SPCC for review, action and notification to the Dean.
    3. The SPCC receives referral of a student experiencing and/or demonstrating serious academic or behavioral deficiencies that interfere with performing the essential functions set forth in the Essential Functions Requirements for Admissions, Promotion, Continuation, and Graduation or creates a concern for the health and safety of the student, others or university property.
    4. The SPCC will request that the student meet with the committee in accordance with the Student Discipline & Dismissal Process policy. At that meeting, the committee will review the referral and make a determination if a Fitness for Duty evaluation is required.
      1. Fitness for Duty evaluations will be conducted by an independent, non-University affiliated physician or psychologist selected by UNR Med.
      2. The Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs will provide the pertinent information to the evaluator(s) selected to perform the Fitness for Duty evaluation.
      3. The evaluator will generate a written Fitness for Duty report addressed to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs regarding the student's ability to perform the essential functions and relevant recommendations.
      4. When the Fitness for Duty evaluation is received, it will be forwarded to the Chair of the SPCC and the committee may request the student meet with the committee. The committee will consider the report and make a determination regarding the status of the student and any requirements for enrollment.
      5. Options for action for a student who is determined not fit for duty by the SPCC include, but are not limited to: medical leave of absence; personal leave of absence; and/or, dismissal or denial of return to enrollment (i.e. for a former student who previously attended UNR Med and is seeking readmission).
      6. A student who refuses a Fitness for Duty evaluation will not be permitted to continue in the curriculum and may be dismissed from UNR Med in accordance with the Student Discipline & Dismissal Process policy.
        1. The Fitness for Duty evaluation and all written records regarding the decisions and determinations of the SPCC will be kept in the student's permanent file secured in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.
      7. Once we receive the evaluation, it is no longer HIPAA protected; instead protected by FERPA.
  7. Approval Signatures
    1. Legal Counsel
      Name: Matthew T. Milone
      Title: UNR Med, Sr. Associate Dean for Legal Affairs
    1. Approving Agent
      Name: Cherie A. Singer, Ph.D.
      Title: Assoc. Dean, Admissions and Student Affairs
    2. UNR Med Dean or Designate
      Name: Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.
      Title: Vice President DHS; Dean, UNR Med