Section IV: Attendance Policy

Excused Absences

Do not make travel or conference plans until you have determined whether or not an absence will be excused. An excused absence may be granted for the following reasons:

  • Illness:  An excused absence may be granted if you are ill.  For your own sake and the sake of others, you should not attend classes, see patients, or take exams if you are sick.  An excused absence due to illness requires a note from Health Services or your physician.
  • Presentation at a meeting/conference:  An excused absence may be granted for students presenting at a conference.  Conference attendance, without presentation responsibilities, does not meet the requirements for an excused absence.
  • Leadership activity: An excused absence may be granted if you are representing Brown in a leadership capacity at a conference or meeting (for example, as the president of our SNMA chapter, or as an elected representative from Brown on an AMSA committee). Conference attendance, without leadership responsibilities, does not meet the requirements for an excused absence.
  • Major life event: An excused absence may be granted in light of a major life event such as a death in your immediate family, the wedding of an immediate family member, or other major event. The granting of an excused absence in these instances will be considered on a case by case basis.
How to Obtain an Excused Absence

All Courses, Clerkships and Clinical Rotations

In order to obtain an excused absence, request a make-up exam, or request an exam extension (including IMS exams, OSCEs and Shelf exams), please first contact your Academy Director (in the preclinical years) or Clerkship Coordinator (for required clerkships in the clinical years) via email. Both to maximize your own learning and to help course leaders and administrators with their planning, please request approval as far in advance as possible, two weeks at a minimum. In the case of illness, an absence will be approved retroactively with appropriate documentation. Please make sure to provide the required note from Health Services or your healthcare provider to your Academy Director/Clerkship Coordinator within two days of your return.

In order to reschedule a Doctoring mentor session, please start by working directly with your mentor.  If you and your mentor are not able to reschedule a mentor session either with a mentor or one of the mentor’s clinical colleagues, then please contact the Assistant Director of the Doctoring Program (Julia Noguchi) for assistance.

Absences from clinical electives (vs. required clerkships) need to be arranged directly with the course leader.  If a student misses more than a few days, the student may ask for the elective to be shortened and only receive credit for the weeks attended (for example, 3 weeks instead of 4).

A pattern of repeated absences may be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

Requirements

Integrated Medical Sciences (IMS) I-IV

Lectures: Attendance at medical school lectures is strongly encouraged but not required.

Small Group, Team-Based Learning (TBL),  and Laboratory Sessions (Anatomy, Histology, SFM, Pathology, Brain Sciences, Microbiology/ID, Epidemiology and Pathophysiology problem-based learning sessions): Timely attendance and active participation are mandatory. All absences must be excused and more than one excused absence per course is strongly discouraged. Students need to communicate with their Academy Director for permission to miss a small group, TBL, or laboratory session.  If granted an excused absence, students must then notify their small group leader(s) and perform the make-up work for that session.  If a student misses two or more small group, TBL, or laboratory sessions (even if excused) within a course, s/he may receive a grade of NC in the course and may be required to remediate the deficiency by special accommodation or by retaking the course. A pattern of unexcused absences across courses may result in a professionalism citation (see Section V of this handbook for more information about citations) and will be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean for Medical Education. 

“Golden Ticket” for IMS I-IV

Once during the first two years of medical school, students are permitted to request a single exemption to the AMS policy on excused absences.  Known as the “Golden Ticket” policy, students may have a single unexcused absence across the two preclinical years without incurring the usual penalty for an unexcused absence (i.e. a “Golden Ticket” excused absence does not contribute towards a potential NC in a course or towards a professionalism citation- see above paragraph). ).  “Golden Tickets” are applicable to IMS courses only (not Doctoring courses), and the policy does not apply to exams or exam extension requests.  For example, you cannot cash in your Ticket in order to miss a scheduled exam, or as a means to request an exam extension.  Students who wish to “cash in” their exemption must follow the procedures outlined above in How to Obtain an Excused Absence.

Doctoring I-IV

Lectures, Small Group Sessions, and OSCEs: For all components of the Doctoring courses, timely attendance and active participation are mandatory.

All absences must be excused and more than one absence per course is strongly discouraged.  When requesting permission to miss a Doctoring session, students should begin by contacting their Academy Director.  If granted an excused absence, then students must notify both the Assistant Director of the Doctoring Program and their small group leader(s).  

All missed work (excused or unexcused) must be completed (see below).  A pattern of unexcused absences may result in a professionalism citation and will be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean for Medical Education. 

Mentor Sessions: Attendance, participation, and documentation are mandatory. Any missed session must be made up in a timely fashion.  Students cannot complete more than two mentor sessions on any given day (maximum of an eight-hour shift).  Please note that there is a make-up mentor session scheduled at the end of each semester to provide more flexibility for those students with an absence during the semester, for whatever reason.  Documentation is both a method of tracking attendance and clinical experiences and an important professional skill for health care providers.  Students with incomplete documentation of their mentor sessions will not receive a passing grade for the course.

Clinical Rotations

Individual clinical clerkships (required third-year rotations) have clearly defined standards for lecture attendance and daily participation in clinical activities. Of note, Clerkship Directors have agreed that all students will be expected to work at their usual clinical assignments on the final Thursday of each rotation, which is the day before the final exam.  Although some students might not have scheduled obligations that afternoon, no Year III student will be dismissed early from scheduled obligations to study.  Unexcused absences can result in a grade of ED or NC (see Student Handbook “Grading and Academic Policies”).

Make Up Work

IMS: Students missing a required IMS small group, Team Based Learning (TBL) or laboratory session will complete a written make-up assignment, the content of which will be determined by Dr. Luba Dumenco (Year 1) or Dr. Paul George (Year 2) in conjunction with their small group faculty leader.  Make-up assignments must be completed before a student can successfully pass an IMS course.

Doctoring: Students missing a required Doctoring session are responsible for any material covered in their absence and must work collaboratively with Dr. Sarita Warrier (Year 1) or Dr. Michelle Daniel (Year 2), the Assistant Director of the Doctoring Program (Julia Noguchi), and their two small group faculty or mentor to make up the missed work in a timely fashion.  Make-up assignments must be completed before a student can successfully pass a Doctoring course.

Clinical Rotations: Excused absences may require commensurate make up activities, the details of which will be explicitly determined by the Clerkship Director and facilitated by the Clerkship Coordinator.

Weekend and Holiday Schedules for Clerkships and Other Clinical Rotations

The University and its clinical affiliates do not adhere to the same holiday schedules. This may complicate weekend and holiday scheduling for clinical rotations. The policy agreed to by the Director of the Clinical Curriculum, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Clerkship Directors regarding weekend and holiday scheduling is as follows:

  1. Depending on the clinical service to which you are assigned, please be aware that you will be working on some weekends and holidays.
  2. It may not be possible for you to predict your weekend and holiday work schedule far in advance. Students' clinical assignments and/or call schedules are generally not finalized until a rotation is about to begin.  If you have any scheduling questions about your upcoming clerkship or clinical rotation, please contact the appropriate Clerkship Coordinator or course administrator via email as early as possible.  Occasionally (but without guarantee), clinical assignments can be adjusted in advance to accommodate important scheduled events such as an upcoming wedding.  It may be impossible to accommodate requests after clinical assignments have been made.
  3. For all Monday holidays, you should make plans as though you will have to work. If you are on a rotation at an institution that observes a Monday holiday, and you are not scheduled to work, then you will be off. If the institution does not observe the Monday holiday, then you will be expected to work.
  4. You will be expected to work on July 4 if you are working on a service that has a call rotation and your team/service is working.
  5. Year III students are expected to work a full day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  All AMS third-year students are off for four days at Thanksgiving including the holiday itself and the following Fri/Sat/Sun, regardless of which clinical clerkship they are on.
  6. Clinical clerkships are not scheduled for the December break. However, clerkships typically start before New Year’s Day and depending on your schedule, you may work on New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day.