Medical Student Fitness for Duty

Policy Manual

TO WHOM THIS POLICY APPLIES

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Medical Students.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW THIS POLICY

UNR Med medical students, faculty, community faculty, staff, and residents.

PURPOSE/BACKGROUND

All University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) students must meet the technical standard requirements outlined as essential functions 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 their academic and clinical duties responsibly and safely; meaning that they are not a danger to patients, colleagues, self, anyone in the learning environment or university/clinical properties. The Fitness for Duty protocol will observe the procedures outlined in the medical Student Dismissal and Due Process Policy.

POLICY

1. UNR Med may require a Fitness for Duty evaluation when:

  • There is a report from any source to the associate dean for admissions and student affairs regarding a concern about a student that may threaten the health or safety of the student, patients, colleagues, anyone in the learning environment or university/clinical property.
  • There is a report from any source to the associate dean for admissions and student affairs regarding a concern that the student is struggling to meet the Essential Functions Requirements for Admissions, Promotion, Continuation, and Graduation.

2. A student may be placed on a leave of absence during the course of the Fitness for Duty evaluation process.

DEFINITIONS

Fitness for Duty evaluation: An evaluation to determine the student's ability to perform their academic and clinical duties responsibly and safely. The evaluation is completed by a qualified, independent, non­University affiliated physician or psychologist who was selected by UNR Med. The Fitness for Duty evaluation is not a confidential clinical encounter between the student and evaluator.

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.

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.

SPCC: The Student Promotion and Conduct Committee (SPCC) is charged with overseeing the personal and professional development of medical students at UNR Med. The SPCC is also UNR Med's disciplinary committee.

Fitness for Duty Evaluation Report: A written report by the physician or psychologist who conducted the evaluation. The report is addressed to the associate dean for admissions and student affairs and includes findings and opinions regarding the student's level of risk to health and safety, ability to perform the essential functions and recommendations for relevant treatment.

Notification: Any and all notifications must be made in writing. Email communication satisfies that requirement.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROCEDURES

PROCEDURES

  1. Any individual with concerns about a student's impairment shall report the concerns to the associate dean for admissions and student affairs.
  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 the report 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/clinical property.
  4. The cost(s) for the initial required Fitness for Duty evaluation will be the responsibility of UNR Med. The cost(s) for any subsequent evaluations and/or treatment be the sole responsibility of the student.  
  5. The SPCC will request that the student meet with the committee in accordance with the medical Student Dismissal and Due Process Policy. At that meeting, the committee will review the reported concerns and will determine if a Fitness for Duty evaluation is required.

a. Fitness for Duty evaluations will be conducted by an independent, non­University affiliated physician or psychologist selected by UNR Med.

b. 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.

c. The evaluator will generate a written Fitness for Duty Evaluation Report addressed to the associate dean for admissions and student affairs regarding the student's ability to perform the essential functions and relevant recommendations.

d. When the Fitness for Duty Evaluation Report is received, it will be shared with the student and forwarded to the Chair of the SPCC. The committee may request the student meet with the committee when considering the report and making determinations regarding the status of the student and any requirements for enrollment.

e. 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).

f. 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 medical Student Dismissal & Due Process Policy.

i. The Fitness for Duty Evaluation Report 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.

ii. 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.

g. Once Student Affairs receives the evaluation, it is no longer HIPAA protected and is instead protected by FERPA