Behavioral expectations are considered an academic expectation. They include interactions with faculty, fellow students, preceptors, patients, members of the health care team and the UT community. These expectations also include adhering to the UT Student Code of Conduct policy, UT and UTPA social media policies, UTPA HIPAA policy and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Code of Ethics.
Examples of unprofessional behavior include but are not limited to:
- Rudeness, disruptive, disrespectful behaviors (profanity, swearing, screaming, etc.) to faculty and staff including video techs or peers
- Inflammatory emails
- Harassment of other students
- Chronic tardiness
- Recurrent violations of dress code
- Failure to check emails or monitor email account size
- Leaving cell phones on (must be turned off during lectures and away from classroom/labs)
- Failure to maintain a well-functioning computer
- Prohibited online testing behavior
- Wearing headphones or ear plugs during lectures
- Not paying attention during class by emailing, reading emails, text messaging, reading text messages, cell phone use, listening to music, sleeping in class, use of Facebook, Twitter or other social media and surfing the internet while an instructor or professor is lecturing
- Disrupting other students by talking, laughing, and excessive movement in and out of classroom or making excessive noise in any fashion during lectures originating in one’s own or opposite campus
- Leaving classroom after signing attendance sheet or signing in any other student, whether they are present or not
- Giving feedback on peers or teacher evaluations that is not tactful or constitutes a personal insult
Professional Concern Report
Behavioral expectations are considered an academic expectation. The program uses a professional concern report (PCR) to document events that are considered unprofessional. These events may occur individually or between two students or may be observed by a faculty member. (For incidents that involved faculty mistreatment of student(s), refer to the student mistreatment policy.) The PCR report is used to notify the program of the concern. The report is located on the student Canvas home page for students or faculty to report a concern. The concern must be reported within seven days of the event or within seven days of notification of discovery of the event.
- The first PCR will trigger a meeting with the faculty advisor to discuss the issue and develop a professional remediation action plan.
- A second PCR may result in a meeting with the Progression, Promotion and Professionalism committee. The student may be placed on academic warning or probation and will be required to complete professional remediation.
- Continued lapses in professionalism or an egregious lapse of professionalism may result in dismissal from the program.
UT Student Code of Conduct Policy:
PA students are expected to adhere to all UT policies, including the UT Student Code of Conduct policy. This policy addresses multiple areas of conduct, including respectful interactions with the UT community.
PA Social Media Policy:
PA students are expected to be mindful while using social networking websites and applications, as they are held to the highest standard keeping with the ideals of the institution and the profession of medicine. Each student is responsible for their own posting on the internet and social media. Therefore, they should be aware of the risks associated with such use. Violation of the social media policy may result in dismissal from the program.
Students are expected to follow HIPAA privacy standards at all times.
Additionally, the following actions are strictly forbidden:
- In the professional role of a caregiver, one may not present the personal health information of other individuals. Removal of an individual’s name does not constitute proper de-identification of protected health information. Inclusion of data such as age, gender, race, diagnosis, date of evaluation, type of treatment or the use of a highly specific medical photograph (such as a before/after photograph of a patient having surgery or a photograph of a patient from a medical outreach trip) may still allow the reader to recognize the identity of a specific individual.
- Students may not report private (protected) academic information of another student or trainee. Such information might include, but is not limited to, course or clerkship grades, narrative evaluations, examination scores or adverse academic actions.
- In posting information on social networking sites, students may not present themselves as official representatives or spokespersons for UT.
AAPA Code of Ethics:
PA students are expected to adhere to the AAPA Code of Ethics.
Academic Professional Behavioral Expectations and Student Assessment
As health care practitioners, PAs are required to understand and conform to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, following the AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession and the professional expectations of UT's PAM program.
Professional behavior encompasses the principles of honesty, integrity, empathy, respect, advocacy, self-awareness, personal accountability, teamwork, responsibility for learning, courtesy, compassion, moral and ethical interaction and avoidance of conflicts of interest.
PA students must be aware that they are viewed by both patients and medical providers as part of the medical community and are required to conduct themselves in a manner that complies with these principles.
Examples of professional behavior:
1. Behave in an ethical manner that inspires trust amongst patients, coworkers and the public
- Respect patient’s modesty and protect patient privacy
- Identify yourself as a learner
- Maintain confidentiality of patient information
- Set appropriate boundaries in interpersonal relationships
- Only perform procedures authorized by the program, clinical site, supervisor and/or preceptor
- Maintain and exhibit respect for the privacy and confidentiality of fellow students
2. Exhibit honesty and integrity in all interactions
- Accurately attribute sources in all written and oral presentations
- Accurately represent clinical actions and findings
- Do not intentionally mislead others
- Admit mistakes and errors
- Demonstrate proper care and use of institutional property and personal property of others
3. Advocate for the needs and well-being of patients, learners and others with whom you serve
- Altruistically champion patient rights in a manner appropriate to your level of training
- Respect and assist faculty, staff and students
- Identify when patients’ needs supersede your needs
- Be aware when situations require the help or expertise of others (e.g., reporting abuse, assisting with social services agencies)
4. Demonstrate caring, compassion, empathy, respect and interpersonal skills
- Communicate in a polite tone and manner in all exchanges and encounters
- Communicate effectively, avoiding discipline specific terminology with patients, families and the public
- Use appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication to convey concern, pleasantness, compassion, and professionalism to others
- Communicate in a manner that is respectful of and sensitive to the patient’s and family’s age, orientation, culture and beliefs
- Be sensitive to the emotional needs of others demonstrating sensitivity, honesty and compassion during difficult conversations in a culturally competent manner
- Offer criticism or suggestions in a thoughtful and reasoned manner that fosters respect and trust
- Dress in professional and neat attire, including good personal hygiene, demonstrating respect for patients and others, as well as, following all dress code expectations during clinical training in accordance to the policies of each site
5. Demonstrate awareness of your own perspectives and biases
- Identify conscious and unconscious biases that might influence your interactions with patients and others
6. Assume responsibility and accountability for your education
- Recognize and take action to correct deficiencies in your behavior, knowledge and skill
- Request specific external feedback – measure that feedback against your own self-assessment
- Reflect on and take action to improve in response to feedback
- Seek to achieve deeper learning – learning from every patient you take care of and beyond clinical site learning objectives
7. Function effectively as a team member
- Fulfill assigned roles and request assistance and/or education when needed
- Demonstrate respect for knowledge, skills and expertise of other team members
- Recognize and embrace the role as a member of a team and contribute equally to the work of the team in a cooperative and considerate manner
- Self-regulate your behavior to positively impact the team environment
- Continue to develop and refine robust teamwork skills
- Maintain a professional and calm demeanor at all times, including highly stressful situations
8. Fulfill your responsibilities as a learner and a colleague
- Timely completion of all assignments and duties, effectively and to the best of one’s ability
- Be attentive and participate during learning activities
- Collaborate with classmates in active learning sessions – share your knowledge and skills with others around you
- Complete administrative requirements in a timely manner (e.g., scheduling, evaluations)
- Be punctual to all activities (abiding by UT PA Program attendance policy)
- Strive to contribute to a positive and professional learning environment
- Provide respectful feedback to others to help their continued growth and development
9. Recognize and avoid conflicts of interest
- Recognize and avoid situations in which professional, commercial, or financial interests or activities have the potential to or actually influence academic, clinical and conduct obligations
10. Striving to balance in commitments to self and others
- Recognize signs of impairment in yourself and others and take appropriate action
- Strive to develop personal habits that promote social, physical and mental health
- Recognize the importance of self-care and personal wellness and its impact on others as a leader in the community
Assessment of Professionalism
Students are assessed in a variety of ways on their professionalism. These include self-evaluation, peer evaluations during group work, faculty evaluations during presentations and problem-based learning events, standardized patient assessment and preceptor evaluations.
Each course director utilizes the “professionalism and interpersonal skills assessment tool” to assess student skills in their course. A low score in any category or overall on this tool may result in academic warning, probation or a referral to the Progression, Promotion, Professionalism committee to discuss performance and remediation of behavior.