Absences & Attendance

Absences and attendance policies vary for each educational lecture or experience. Please review the following information for specific policies.

Absences from M1 & M2 Core Lectures and Basic Science Core Small Groups

In general, notification is necessary only for sessions involving less than the whole class (e.g. small groups or other situations where the Core Director notes that attendance is required). In these cases, students must notify the Core Director when they will be absent.

Problem-based Learning

Attendance for all Problem-Based Learning small group sessions is mandatory:

  •  If a student is absent, no matter for what reason, facilitators are to mark the student as "absent" from PBL.
  •  If a student is tardy, facilitators should note the tardiness (how long) in the comments section of the Student Assessment. Students are not to confront or argue an excuse for a tardy with his or her facilitator.

All student absences will be collected and entered into a spreadsheet and kept at the Educational Support Office. Absences/tardiness will be kept in a cumulative total throughout all years in medical school. Core Directors and Year Directors will be given a list of all student absences (cumulative) at their respective meetings and will be able to discuss any patterns noticed.

For all absences after the first absence, students will receive a professionalism letter in their student mailbox noting the absence and all previous absences. This letter will also be sent to the Associate Dean for Admissions and Students and put into their student files. Letters in the student files can be used when composing the residency Dean's letters. Any consistent patterns of absences and/or tardiness may be handled by the Associate Dean as a professionalism issue to discuss with the student.

Absence from examinations/OSCE

The examination calendar is made available to students as early as possible, and students should make every effort to attend all examinations at the regularly scheduled time.  In the event that you do need to request an exam absence, please follow these guidelines:

  • Exam absences must be requested through the Curriculum and Educational Research Office (cero@unmc.edu).  Allow 3-4 business days for approval and confirmation.
  • In addition to religious obligations, absences are generally approved for four reasons: 
    • participation at a scientific meeting;
    • personal illness;
    • funeral for a family member/close friend;
    • major participation in a wedding party (bride, groom, attendant). 
  • Special requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Students are limited to one exam absence during their first two years.
  • Typically, students will be asked to complete the examination the day before or day after the regularly scheduled examination.
  • No request is guaranteed an approval, even if it fits the guidelines above.  Students who misuse this policy will be referred to the Dean for Student Affairs.
  • It is your professional duty to communicate your planned absence to the Core Director after approval has been granted.
  • If you become ill the evening before or morning of an examination, please contact the CERO by sending an email to cero@unmc.edu.

M3 - M4 Years

Students missing clerkships/rotations for any reason other than illness or death in the immediate family must request approval at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the rotation.  No approval will be given for late requests.  Failure to follow this policy will be noted on a professionalism document.

Absence from Clinical Clerkships (M3)  
 The College of Medicine curriculum committee strongly supports allowing students one day off-service per week (each clerkship director will determine what day (if any) is appropriate).

 Absence is not allowed from required clerkships except as follows:

  • Students who have unexpected absences due to illness or death in the immediate family must notify the clerkship director as soon as possible to arrange for appropriate make-up.
  • Any absence will result in an incomplete grade until appropriate arrangements for make-up have been made.
  • Any unexcused absences from clerkships during the year will result in automatic review by the Scholastic Evaluation Committee.
  • Before taking time off the service, each student must obtain coverage for their patients and must inform the appropriate supervisory personnel of that coverage.

Off-campus electives

Students may take no more than three elective months off-campus during the clinical years, if approved by the appropriate department. The three months does not include the Family Medicine preceptorship. The committee will not approve additional off-campus time to investigate residencies or for personal or social reasons.

Release time - residency interviews

Senior medical students may request up to five weekdays and two weekend days off from each of four non-required rotations for the purpose of interviewing for a post-graduate position. Absence requests should be made to the clerkship director at least two weeks prior to the start of the rotation. The elective director must approve each student’s request individually and determine what make-up, if any, is required.

Approved Curriculum Committee – 11/25/14

Other M4 absences

Senior students may be allowed time off of non-required electives in order to participate in medical meetings or to take USMLE Step 2 CK or CS exams. The elective director must approve each student’s request individually and determine what make-up, if any, is required.

Approved Curriculum Committee – 11/25/14

Conflicts between religious obligations and patient care responsibilities

 Conflicts between religious obligations and patient care obligations are handled on clinical rotations much as they would be in clinical practice with patient care responsibilities taking precedence unless coverage has been previously arranged.

 Departments should make every effort to respect students' religious customs and to adjust the on-call schedule to allow students to observe religious activities as long as this does not penalize other students or jeopardize patient care.

The student must inform the department of his or her request well in advance of the rotation if it is to be incorporated in the on-call schedule. When scheduling conflicts cannot be resolved, however, it is up to the student to make sure that their patient care and on-call responsibilities are met in full. In the event that students cannot obtain coverage, they are expected to take call themselves, regardless of the religious conflict.

Health Care issues

Students with health care issues requiring absences from cores or clerkships will be accommodated if at all possible. Appropriate arrangements must be made by the students to discharge their required obligations during their absence.