Student and Faculty Conduct

Professionalism encompasses a broad set of aptitudes, attitudes, and behaviors. Being a professional can mean many things, including internalizing a set of shared values, behaving according to standards of medical practice or scientific investigation, and being accountable for one’s actions. Students have a responsibility to act at all times in accordance with the highest standards of integrity. The same standards of behavior are expected in the classroom, laboratory, clinic, hospital, or elsewhere on campus, including housing, or whenever you are seen as representing the School. As a student, we expect you to adhere to the same professional codes of behavior as physicians and scientists.

ISMMS Student Code of Conduct

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) is dedicated to providing its students, residents, faculty, staff, and patients with an environment of respect, dignity, and support. Please review the Student Mistreatment Guideline in the Institutional Guidelines Section of this Handbook.

Office of Ombuds

The Ombuds Office for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is a confidential, informal, neutral, and independent resource where medical students can freely discuss any issue of concern. They are dedicated to promoting fair and equitable conflict resolutions for individuals and groups who have identified problems in their workplace or studies.

Disciplinary action may include the following:

  • Warning: An official notice in writing which describes consequences contingent on a student’s future actions or behaviors.
  • Probation: An official notice in writing that specifies a time period that must pass without incident or conditions that a student must meet to avoid further consequences, including but not limited to disciplinary action.
  • Suspension of enrollment: A removal of the student from educational activities or patient care settings. Immediate suspensions may be made in circumstances where the student poses a risk to patient care, other members of the School community, the School, or the learning environment.
  • Dismissal: Expulsion of a student from the School.

Assault, sexual assault, theft, lying, cheating, or any intentionally dishonest behavior, including falsification of documents or other dishonest behavior during exams will result in dismissal from the School of Medicine absent exceptional circumstances. A student who is arrested or charged with a crime is required to inform Student Affairs. Failure to do so will result in dismissal. A dismissal decision cannot be changed to a voluntary withdrawal absent exceptional circumstances. All types of disciplinary action will be given in writing. Students are required to return a signed copy of the letter within 14 days of receipt.

Disciplinary action may be imposed by the Dean for Medical Education, the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs or the Promotions Committee.

The appeals process for disciplinary action is identical to the process for appealing the decisions of the Promotions Committee. (See section on “Committee Decisions and Appeals.”)Any disciplinary action will appear in the MSPE in the Academic History section and also in the Academic Progress section of the MSPE (for more information about the MSPE, see the CPS app.) Disciplinary actions will also be permanently recorded on the transcript in the comments section if a student is suspended or dismissed for academic reasons.

Faculty read the following oath at each year’s White Coat Ceremony to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in teaching and mentoring:

The mission of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is to produce physicians and scientists who are prepared to enter society as informed advocates and activists who are able to advance clinical care and science and promote change.

We, the faculty, seek to embody this mission and so pledge the following to you, our students, in our effort to help you to become the best possible physicians and your best possible selves:

  • To serve as models for caring, competent, and unbiased care of our patients.
  • To engage you in the joy and privilege of practicing the art and science of medicine and the rewards of learning for life.
  • To uphold the highest standards in scientific and medical research.
  • To inspire you to respect the art and science of medicine, but also to question the status quo.
  • To recognize that our opportunity to teach is also our opportunity to learn.
  • To not just teach, but also nurture.
  • To share of both our craft and ourselves.
  • To demonstrate that self-examination means as much as examinations.
  • To be kind in evaluating you and ourselves.
  • To never lose sight of our wellness and the wellness of all of those around us.
  • To have the courage to stand up for the oppressed and vulnerable and against prejudice and racism in all that we do.
  • To be aware of our own biases and those around us and strive to eliminate them.
  • To meet you where you are and get you where you want to be.
  • And, finally, to never forget as physicians, scientists, and educators what we know as human beings.

Before taking all exams or quizzes, students must review and agree to abide by the following rules of conduct:

1. I will take this exam or quiz by myself, not in a group.

2. Unless a particular information source or a calculator is explicitly permitted by the course director, I will not use any material to assist me during this exam or quiz, including texts, online/web sources/sites, auditory information, study notes, or any other material. I may use a calculator for calculations but not to store equations.

3. I have not received feedback about the exam or quiz from any student who has taken it earlier.

4. While I take my exam or quiz, I will not communicate to anyone about the exam or quiz content or questions. If I become aware of a problem with the exam or quiz while I am taking it, I may notify the course director immediately. Once I have completed the exam or quiz, I will not discuss exam or quiz questions or content with, or in the presence of, any student who has not completed the exam or quiz.

5. I will not copy, record, photograph, or retain any lasting record of any of the questions from this exam or quiz. I will not provide information about this exam or quiz to any current or future ISMMS student.

6. The online examination process allows students who encounter technical difficulty during an exam or quiz to open a second attempt within one hour of being logged out of a first attempt.  Logging in for a second attempt is not permitted for any reason other than technical difficulty.  A second attempt at an exam or quiz falls under the same Honor Code rules as a first attempt.  Before logging in for a second attempt, I will email ASCIT@mssm.edu and the course director to notify them of the reason for logging in a second time.  I understand that logging in a second time for any reason other than technical difficulty and failing to send the required email before logging in to a second attempt constitute breaches of the Honor Code.

7. The ethical code of the medical profession requires that physicians report breaches in ethical conduct by their colleagues. If I witness any student violating any of the terms of this Honor Code, I am responsible for reporting the incident to the Course Director within 48 hours.

8. I agree that a breach of the Honor Code is a serious ethical violation, and I understand that a student found not to be in compliance with the Honor Code will suffer serious consequences, including, but not limited to, inclusion of Professional Development Form in the student’s file, suspension, or dismissal.

Incident reports document specific circumstances when students do not adhere to the Student Code of Conduct or demonstrate unprofessionalism. Incident reports may be completed by course or clerkship leadership or Medical Education faculty and/or administration. The initiator of an incident report will share the report with you, the student. You must sign the form and you will have the opportunity to respond and comment on the form. The initiator will then share and discuss the report with Student Affairs. If the event is non-recurrent and limited to one episode, then the incident report will not become part of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) or your permanent record. A pattern of concerning behavior may warrant referral to the Promotions Committee for consideration of disciplinary action and documentation in Academic Progress section of the MSPE. A single egregious incident report could prompt a review by Promotions and may be documented in the MSPE. Examples of egregious events include but are not limited to: abandonment of patient care responsibility, lack of accountability in clinical settings, dishonesty, and disrespectful actions or behaviors involving patients, families, staff, colleagues, or supervisors.

Commendations document exemplary actions or behaviors by students. The initiator of a commendation will discuss it with the student and will share it with Student Affairs. Commendations will be summarized in the Academic Progress section of the MSPE.

As a student of the Icahn School of Medicine, I accept the responsibility and privilege of studying medicine, helping care for patients, interacting with peers, faculty, staff, and colleagues, serving the community, society and the profession, learning from my teachers, and teaching others. I commit myself to upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity and to act with compassion towards others. I will always strive to maintain the highest level of professionalism. I will adhere to the following standards, which I will apply to my academic studies, scholarly activities, and clinical encounters.

  • I will be truthful with patients, families, peers, faculty, staff, and members of the patient care team.
  • I will treat patients, families, peers, faculty, staff, and members of the patient care team with respect and dignity.
  • I will not tolerate discrimination in patient care or the educational environment.
  • I will treat as private patient information received as part of any educational experience.
  • If I believe that a patient may be receiving inappropriate care, I will discuss my concerns with a superior or report the incident through established mechanisms.
  • I will conduct research in an unbiased manner and will truthfully report results.
  • I will adhere to the Honor Code for Exams and Quizzes.
  • If I have knowledge of a peer giving or receiving help inappropriately, I will bring the issue to the attention of the faculty, the administration, or the ombudsperson.
  • I will complete clinical, academic and administrative tasks in a timely fashion.
  • My demeanor, behavior, use of language, and personal appearance in the presence of patients, in the classroom, and in health care settings will be appropriate to the setting.
  • I will recognize my limitations, admitting when I do not know something, and will seek help when I need it.
  • I have an obligation to maintain my mental and physical well-being in order to be effective as a physician, including not using alcohol in any way that could interfere with my clinical responsibilities and not using illicit drugs.
  • I will assume an obligation to encourage impaired colleagues to seek professional help and discuss with a supervisor, the administration or ombudsperson as necessary.
  • I will not use my position to engage in romantic or sexual relationships with patients or members of their families.
  • I will adhere to the above Standards of Conduct when representing the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Student misconduct includes, but is not limited to: cheating, plagiarism, breaches of confidentiality, falsification, unprofessional behavior toward patients and colleagues, use and abuse of illicit drugs, abuse or inappropriate use of alcohol, dishonesty, and failure to complete administrative, medical, and financial responsibilities. Administrative responsibilities include course evaluations, student health clearances, HIPAA training, immunizations, infection control training, respirator mask fitting, and Basic Life Support (BLS) certification.

Preface

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai faculty and students are committed to high standards of excellence and personal responsibility as stated in our Standards of Conduct. To that end, faculty and students are expected to assume responsibility for their behavior and work.

Definition

According to the AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (10th edition)1, plagiarism is when an author documents or reports ideas, words, data, or graphics, whether published or unpublished, of another as their own and without giving appropriate credit. Plagiarism of published work violates standards of honesty and collegial trust and may also violate copyright law (if the violation is shown to be legally actionable).1

 The AMA Manual of Style defines four common kinds of plagiarism:

1. Direct plagiarism: Verbatim lifting of passages without enclosing the borrowed material in quotation marks and crediting the original author.

2. Mosaic: Borrowing the ideas and opinions from an original source and a few verbatim words or phrases without crediting the original author. In this case, the plagiarist intertwines their own ideas and opinions with those of the original author, creating a “confused, plagiarized mass.”

3. Paraphrase: Restating a phrase or passage, providing the same meaning but in a different form without attribution to the original author.

4. Insufficient acknowledgment: Noting the original source of only part of what is borrowed or failing to cite the source material in a way that allows the reader to know what is original and what is borrowed.

Potential Venues

In the medical school environment, there are numerous situations that students must be cognizant of when representing their work accurately and honestly. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Scholarly work including scientific papers, proposals, presentations, and posters
  • The electronic medical record in the context of appropriating another’s documentation into one’s own without clear attribution
  • Written examinations or assignments whether formative or summative
  • Essays and personal statements on applications for training, awards, or any other reason

Consequences

All concerns regarding plagiarism will be reviewed by the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Senior Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs. Based upon their findings, a student may be referred to the Promotions Committee and be subject to its decisions which can include, but are not limited to, warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal.

Reference:

1. American Medical Association (AMA). (2009). AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors (10th ed.). Chicago: JAMA/Archives Journals; Oxford University Press. Retrieved December 11, 2012, from http://www.amamanualofstyle.com//oso/public/index.htm

Each year, the entering class of students composes an oath that demonstrates their commitment to upholding the values of integrity and compassion in all aspects of the medical profession. Once complete, the students recite their oath at their class’s White Coat Ceremony in front of faculty, staff, family, and friends. Student oaths are posted on the twelfth and thirteenth floors in Annenberg.