On Presenting a Professional Image
The medical school curriculum and the subsequent years of postgraduate training prepare you for the practice of medicine. What is not taught through a formal course is professionalism. From your very first day of medical school it is essential that you see yourself as a health care professional and act accordingly. Courtesy and honor are hallmarks of a professional. Please keep in mind that your colleagues' and patients' first impression of you is based upon your appearance and demeanor, and it is important that you present a professional image. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. We do not expect skirts and shirts and ties to be worn at all times, particularly since such attire may not be appropriate for laboratory courses. However, we do expect you to wear clothing that is clean and in good condition. As a medical student attending the University of Maryland School of Medicine, you have both the privilege and the responsibility of upholding the image of the many fine physicians who have preceded you.
In the course of providing medical care today, even as a medical student, you may possibly be sued by a patient or one of their family members who is legally designated to do so. The allegation usually is that in carrying out the duty you had to the patient, you breached the standard of care that would have been rendered by most other medical students in a similar situation, and this was the cause of the patient's injury resulting in damages. To protect you, professional liability insurance has been purchased from the Maryland Medical Comprehensive Insurance Program (MMCIP). This is a joint venture between the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and University Physicians, Inc. (UPI), established since 1985 to provide via a Self Insurance Trust professional liability insurance for most physicians and all employees providing medical/health care services at UMMS and UPI and their approved affiliates.
In order to provide advice to mitigate a serious situation or to obtain representation promptly, please contact us immediately in the event of the following:
- Any diagnostic or therapeutic complication
- Incident or potential liability claim
- Contact by an attorney
- Receipt of a subpoena or claim letter
Please call the Office of Risk Management at 410-328-4704 if you have further questions.
Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA applies to health plans, clearinghouses and health care providers who transmit protected health information. Academic medical centers like the School of Medicine who do business with or obtain PHI from them must also comply with HIPAA. All medical students are required to be HIPAA certified.
Any clinical training site may screen students in the same manner in which the site screens employees. Students may be required to have an additional health examination, be tested for drugs or be fingerprinted for a criminal background clearance before beginning placement. Students who cannot pass training site clearance requirements may not be able to fulfill the essential requirements needed to obtain a degree.
Judicial Review System
"...each member of our community should assume the responsibility of learning about and acting in concert with our shared principles. Our community is here defined as administrators, housestaff, students, and faculty. By voluntarily joining this community we bind ourselves to the acceptance of these principles and peer review." (Excerpt from the By-laws of the Judicial Board)
Acceptable behavior within the academic community, including proper behavior on examinations, falls within the purview of the judicial review system and its functioning body, the Judicial Board. The system and operation of the board are defined in the document entitled "Statement of Ethical Principles, Judicial Review System and By-Laws of the Judicial Board," printed in its entirety below. One of the fundamental ideas in defining acceptable behavior for health care professionals, including those in training, is that possession of knowledge and technical skill alone is not sufficient. Health care professionals are given privileges and information not granted to society-at-large. In accepting that privileged position, they simultaneously assume an obligation to a higher ethical standard of honesty, truthfulness and discipline. The Judicial Board document attempts to characterize appropriate ethical standards.
Briefly, the system operates as follows: any member of the community who directly witnesses an act that he or she deems unethical should report the incident in a signed letter to the Chairman of the Judicial Board. This board consists of a chairperson appointed by the Dean and representatives of the different groups in the community.
The board will then investigate the issue and hold hearings, as defined in the document referred to above. Findings of the board and its recommendations with respect to the accused are forwarded to the Dean.
Judicial Board Chairman:
Jill RachBeisel, MD