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In this Section: Weather  |  Learning Environment  |  Duty Hours  |  Absent Policy  |  Sick Policy  |  Dress Code  |  Professionalism

Inclement Weather

Students are asked to make personal safety a priority in terms of coming to their rotations in inclement weather. If a student is not able to UNC School of Medicine Studentsarrive safely, he or she should let their coordinators, supervising residents and attendings know. Students should contact coordinators by either email or voicemail. Text pages are best for residents and attendings, but emails are an acceptable back-up.

If a student lives within walking distance or can arrive safely, the team will welcome having the student. If a student is on call and has a call room available and can arrive safely, then the student can come in. There are not accommodations for sleeping (unless on call) or transportation for students. If a student arrives in the morning, he or she may need to leave early if driving conditions become hazardous.

Learning Environment

The purpose of this policy is to enhance the learning environment for students in the UNC School of Medicine, residents, fellows, attendings, hospital staff and other trainees. As our institution adapts to a rapidly changing health care environment, we must support an atmosphere in which learning is encouraged and the roles of all participants in the system are respected and valued. Read the full policy (PDF).


Duty Hours

Duty Hours Guidelines:

  1. Duty hours include all in-house clinical and other required activities related to a rotation (patient care, charting, call, conferences, etc.) Duty hours do not include reading and preparation time spent away for the duty site.
  2. Duty hours should not exceed 80 hours per week, averaged over a complete rotation, inclusive of all scheduled in-house call activities.
  3. Continuous on-site duty, including required in-house call, should not exceed 24 consecutive hours. Students who take required in-house call may remain in-house up to 6 additional hours to participate in didactic activities or to transfer care of patients.
  4. Students should have a minimum of 10 hours off between scheduled duty hours.
  5. Student should be provided 1 day in 7 free from all educational and clinical responsibilities, averaged over a 4-week period, inclusive of call. One day is defined as one continuous 24-hour period free from all scheduled clinical, educational and administrative activities.

If students exceed these work hour guidelines they should bring that to the attention of the Educational Resources Coordinator in the Dean of Students’ office.


Absent Policy

MS-III & MS-IV Absences/Clinical Responsibilities

Students who become ill or must be absent from their duties for any reason, even for one day, must notify their faculty and house staff preceptors, as well as the Student Coordinator. In the event of extended absences, the student must consult with the Director and Coordinator of the Clerkship, who will inform the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

A cumulative absence of two days or more from a four-week clerkship or three days or more during an eight-week rotation could result in a grade of incomplete, withdraw, condition or fail unless the absence is approved ahead of time by the Course Director. Personal illness, family emergencies, the Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) and the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills examination are examples of legitimate reasons for being absent. Weddings, visits to family and friends, and pre-purchased airline tickets are not examples of acceptable reasons for being absent from a rotation.


Sick Policy

Clinical Rotation Absence Policy

Students who become ill or must be absent from their duties for any reason, for one day or more, must notify the clerkship and elective program manager in the Office of Student Affairs to obtain an administrative excuse. The clerkship and elective program manager will notify the clerkship coordinator, who will notify the appropriate faculty and house staff. All excused absences are subject to being made up at the discretion of the course/clerkship director. In the event of extended absences the Office of Student Affairs will consult with the clerkship/course director. A cumulative absence of two days or more from a four-week clerkship or three days or more during an six or eight-week rotation could result in a grade of Incomplete, Withdraw, Condition or Fail unless the absence is approved ahead of time by the Office of Student Affairs. Personal medical care including preventive care, personal illness, family emergencies, jury duty, the Clinical Practice Examination (CPX), the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills or Clinical Knowledge examinations are examples of legitimate reasons for being absent.


Dress Code

Students will adhere to the Atrium Health dress code policy. Scrub suits, masks, shoe covers, and gloves are to be worn only in areas designated by department policy and are not to be worn off the premises. Business casual is the default standard.



The University of North Carolina School of Medicine believes that earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree requires mastery of a coherent body of knowledge and skills. A medical student must acquire substantial competence in the principles and facts of all of the curriculum's required basic sciences, must understand and appreciate the principles and practice of all of the basic fields of clinical medicine and must be able to relate appropriately to patients and to other health care professionals. The following technical standards describe the non-academic qualifications that the school considers essential for successful completion of the core competencies of its curriculum.

(a) Introduction. Because the medical profession is governed by ethical principles and by state and federal laws, a medical student must have the capacity to learn and understand these values and laws and to perform within their guidelines. A student should be able to relate to colleagues, staff and patients with honesty, integrity, nondiscrimination, self-sacrifice and dedication. He/she should be able to understand and use the power, special privileges, and trust inherent in the physician-patient relationship for the patient's benefit, and to know and avoid the behaviors that constitute misuse of this power. One should demonstrate the capacity to examine and deliberate effectively about the social and ethical questions that define medicine and physicians' roles and to reason critically about these questions. The student must be able to identify personal reactions and responses, recognize multiple points of view, and integrate these appropriately into clinical decision making.

(b) Attitudinal, Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Attributes. A medical student must be of sufficient emotional health to utilize fully his or her intellectual ability, to exercise good judgment, to complete patient care responsibilities promptly, and to relate to patients, families, and colleagues with courtesy, compassion, maturity, and respect for their dignity. The ability to participate collaboratively and flexibly as a professional team member is essential. The medical student must display this emotional health in spite of stressful work, changing environments, and clinical uncertainties. The medical student must be able to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism. Each student must be open to examining personal attitudes, perceptions, and stereotypes, which may negatively affect patient care and professional relationships. An individual with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder may function as a medical student as long as the condition is under sufficient control to allow accomplishment of the above goals with or without reasonable accommodation. The student must exhibit behavior and intellectual functioning that does not differ from acceptable standards. In the event of deteriorating emotional function, it is essential that a medical student be willing to acknowledge the disability and accept professional help before the condition poses danger to self, patients, or colleagues.

(c) Stamina. The study and ongoing practice of medicine often involves taxing workloads and stressful situations. A medical student must have the physical and emotional stamina to maintain a high level of function in the face of these likely working conditions.

(d) Intellectual Skills. A medical student must possess a range of intellectual skills that allows him or her to master the broad and complex body of knowledge that constitutes a medical education. The student's learning style must be effective and efficient. The ultimate goal will be to solve difficult problems and to make diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. A medical student must be able to memorize, perform scientific measurement and calculation, and understand and cognitively manipulate three dimensional models. Reasoning abilities must be sophisticated enough to analyze and synthesize information from a wide variety of sources. It is expected that a medical student be able to learn effectively through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small group discussion, individual study of materials, preparation and presentation of written and oral reports, and use of computer based technology.

(e) Communication Skills. A medical student must be able to ask questions, to receive answers perceptively, to record information about patients and to educate patients. The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, their families, and with other members of the health care team. This must include spoken communication, and non-verbal communication such as interpretation of facial expression, affect, and body language. Mastery of both written and spoken English is required.

(f) Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Motor Competencies. A medical student must possess sufficient visual, auditory, tactile and motor abilities to allow him/her to gather data from written reference material, from oral presentations, by observing demonstrations and experiments, by studying various types of medical illustrations, by observing a patient and his/her environment, by observing clinical procedures performed by others, by reading digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena, and by performing a basic physical examination of a patient.