Program Policy Information
Notice: This page does not include a complete listing of all academic and administrative policies applying to enrolled students. Other policies are contained in the college catalog and in official health science center documents and publications. The information provided here is intended to assist potential applicants who are considering application to the program. Complete information on academic and administrative policies may be obtained by contacting the Division of PA Studies at the university. The health science center reserves the right to amend or add academic policies and scholastic regulations at any time during a student s enrollment period provided that such changes or additions are intended to improve the quality of education, and are introduced in a fair and deliberate manner with appropriate notice provided to all students affected by the changes.
Registration is conducted each semester and consists of paying tuition and fees as well as completing the appropriate registration forms and submitting them to the offices of the Registrar, Financial Aid and Student Affairs. Late fees are assessed for late registration for each day following the designated registration date. PA students are only permitted to attend courses and clinical practica listed on their official schedules and/or otherwise approved by the Chair of PA Studies. Students are not permitted to enroll in two or more courses scheduled to meet at the same time. Only properly enrolled students will be permitted to attend classes. No record will be kept of academic work done by individuals whose enrollment has not been duly authorized. A check returned because of insufficient funds will incur a penalty and may also result in additional charges for late registration.
Classroom and Laboratory Participation
Participation in class and laboratory sessions is essential to good academic performance. Courses are typically offered only once during a student's enrollment period, therefore students are expected to attend all scheduled educational activities. Attendance is required at all laboratories, small group sessions, and clinical experiences. The program and/or course director reserves the right to take attendance and students may be asked to sign attendance sheets. No student may sign an attendance roster on behalf of another student. Excessive absences can be considered unprofessional conduct, can contribute to a failing grade or contribute toward consideration of dismissal from the program.
Each student is responsible for obtaining and learning subject materials presented during their absence. Instructors and/or course directors are not obligated to provide make-up sessions to students. The PA Student Performance Committee is permitted to consider attendance when reviewing a student's performance and making recommendations on probation, remediation and/or dismissal.
Clinical Practica (Rotations)
Clinical practicum experiences generally will require 40+ hours per week of attendance. Some practica may require students to be available for more than 40 hours a week in order to meet all educational and performance objectives; including taking call and attending to patient care experiences during non-regular hours. Other activities that may require additional attendance by the student include attending rounds and medical education activities; researching and presenting case studies. Students who become ill or have an emergency which causes them to be absent from any portion of a clinical practicum are required to notify the attending preceptor and the program as soon as possible. Excused absences are approved by the Vice Chair of Clinical Education in accordance with school policy. Clinical preceptors are not authorized to approve excused absences. Students will usually be required to make up any missed time from a practicum experience, even if the absence was considered excused. Students who miss more than 4 days of a practicum may be required to repeat all of the affected clinical practicum and may be subject to other sanctions as well, including dismissal. Most rotations will occur within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Each student should anticipate a minimum of one rotation to be conducted outside of the Metroplex area.
Performance of Patient Care Related Activities
Student involvement in patient care is permitted only when authorized or by an assigned clinical preceptor or faculty member. Achieving educational goals of the program calls for students to become involved in activities at medical clinics and hospital settings where patient care is provided; this includes supervised direct patient care and provides students with access to confidential patient care information. Students are expected to follow all policies, regulations, and laws related to maintaining patient confidentiality. Students also are not permitted take the responsibility or place of qualified professional staff. Under no circumstances are students permitted to write patient care orders independently.
Off-Campus Educational Activities
Some educational experiences take place off-campus and outside the immediate vicinity of Fort Worth. Attempt is made to assist students in obtaining reduced-cost housing; however students are not guaranteed its availability.
Students are expected to give attendance to completion of assignments and rotation requirements priority over employment. Some assignments may call for the student to attend patient care activities at unusual or irregular hours or at places that are geographically separate from the main campus and/or their primary residence. Failure to meet course expectations due to employment conflicts may be cause for dismissal from the program.
Excused Absences for Special Activities
Excused absences from regularly scheduled activities are generally granted for emergencies (i.e., death in the family) or personal illness. Under certain circumstances, absences for special activities may also be approved by the Chair of PA Studies. Such approval must be documented and approved prior to the absence. Students are cautioned not to confirm travel plans or purchase nonrefundable tickets until written approval for the special activities absence has been obtained.
Holidays and Religious Holy Days
Consult the official academic calendar for school-approved holidays. Students may request excused absences to observe religious holy days by submitting a request within 14 days of the first day of the semester the holy day falls within. A letter of verification may be required from the religious institution. Reasonable attempts are made to accommodate all requests. Please refer to Section 51.911 of the Texas Education Code to see other applicable guidelines for this policy.
Leaves of Absence
A student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence due to a medical or serious personal problem. Students seeking leave of absence should obtain assistance from the Office of Student Affairs. Requests for leave of absence must be submitted in writing. Leave cannot be granted for reasons of poor academic standing. Requests for leave of absence submitted by a student on academic probation shall be considered on a case-by-case basis. A request for leave of absence due to medical reasons must be accompanied by documentation from a physician or licensed professional describing the nature of the disability and the estimated length of time for recovery. A request for leave of absence due to personal reasons may also require substantiating documentation. Students must submit a written request for an approved leave of absence through the Chair of PA Studies to the Registrar before they can be placed into an approved leave status. In addition, prior to readmission into the program the student must submit a request for readmission through the Chair of PA Studies to the Office of the Dean. The request for readmission must be accompanied by documentation (such as a letter from a physician) substantiating the student's ability to participate fully in the academic program upon their return. The student may also be required to reaffirm their compliance with the Health and Technical Standards of the program. Leave of absence will not be approved beyond one calendar year.
Evaluation of Student Performance
The primary method used for evaluating student performance is by direct observation and through the administration of practical and written assignments. Evaluation of student performance occurs in small group, classroom, laboratory, and individual settings, where students are required to demonstrate visual, somatic, communicative, analytical and behavioral discriminatory skills. Student behavior and professionalism is also assessed.
Methods used include asking students to correctly respond both orally
and in writing to questions; asking students to identify and name
anatomic structures; asking students to set up and use properly use
medical equipment and instruments; asking students to properly
demonstrate manual skills, to conduct medical interviews, and to perform
physical examinations; and asking students to demonstrate proficiency
in problem-solving, by participating in group discussions, and by making
entries on official documents.
All course and practicum grades are recorded on transcripts, including repeated courses if applicable. Grade point averages are determined using a 4.0 scale. The academic standards for successful completion of the program include a minimum requirement to obtain letter grade of C or pass or better in each course and clinical practicum.