Netter School Code of Conduct

On Professionalism

In order to uphold the mission and aims of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, students are given the responsibility of conducting themselves in a manner that positively reflects the School of Medicine and the interests of current and future patients they will encounter throughout their medical training and career. As such, the standard of professionalism is defined by our interactions with colleagues, commitment to excellence in theory and in practice, courteous behavior between colleagues, faculty, administration, patients, and community partners, and maintenance of accountability, effective communication, presentation to others, consistency in work, and commitment to adhering to the standards and guidelines enumerated in the Netter School of Medicine Code of Conduct.

Faculty, administration, and staff are expected to recognize and address violations of the code of conduct. Violations of the code of conduct may result in submission of Reports of Concern and/or lead to review by the Professionalism Board and/or other disciplinary actions.

The Code of Conduct for the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine is based on the following principles.

  • Compassion
  • Duty
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Professionalism

All members of the School of Medicine, including faculty, students and staff are expected to abide by the standards articulated in this Code of Conduct as well as current university policies and procedures.

Violation of the standards may result in disciplinary action, up to and including loss of position.

I. GENERAL STANDARDS

Conduct of Faculty, Administrators and Staff

  • Members of the School of Medicine shall perform their duties in a fair and ethical manner in accordance with established policies, procedures and regulations.

  • Members of the School of Medicine shall carry out their duties with professionalism, and in accordance with the guiding principles of this Code of Conduct.

  • Supervisors and administrators shall provide equal opportunity and access to the school’s programs, benefits, and services.

  • Supervisors and Administrators shall demonstrate compliance with the Code of Conduct within their unit.

  • Inappropriate personal relationships between supervisors and those they supervise are prohibited.

Civility
  • Members of the School of Medicine shall promote a spirit of civility and collegiality that allows open and constructive intellectual debate.

  • Members of the School of Medicine have a responsibility to treat each other with consideration and respect. Administrators and supervisors have an elevated responsibility to demonstrate these behaviors and to promote their expression in the workplace. 

  • Engaging in behaviors that harass, intimidate, bully, threaten or harm another member of the School of Medicine, or other members of the community with whom we learn and/or provide patient care, undermine a respectful and civil work environment, and are expressly forbidden.

Non-Discrimination
  • Members of the School of Medicine are dedicated to fostering a safe working and learning environment for all; all forms of discrimination and acts of intolerance including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, intimidation, and retaliation, are condemned.

Harassment
  • Members of the School of Medicine are dedicated to fostering a safe working and learning environment for all, and condemns all forms of discrimination and acts of intolerance including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, intimidation, and retaliation.
Confidentiality
  • Members of the School Medicine respect and maintain the confidentiality of faculty, staff, patient, student and research records in accordance with University and Clinical Site policies and procedures, state regulations, and federal laws.
Attire
  • All students shall familiarize themselves with the Dress Code policy set forth in Section XVII of the Academic Policies (“the Dress Code Policy”). Students should remain cognizant that the Dress Code Policy is in place to ensure (i) patient and student safety; (ii) patient comfort; and (iii) general standards of professionalism. The Dress Code Policy applies to clinical sites, CAS events where standardized patients are present or any other event where faculty explicitly advises students that students shall dress in accordance with the Dress Code Policy.  If a student violates the Dress Code Policy, such student shall be informed of such violation by a faculty member. Additionally, students may inform their fellow students of their concerns regarding violations of the Dress Code Policy by either speaking directly with the student or by submitting a Report of Concern.
Timeliness/Punctuality
  • Students should be prepared and ready to participate at the start time of all events. Accordingly, students should strive to arrive at least five minutes prior to the stated session start time to ensure that they have had time to unpack and are ready to actively participate when the event begins. This punctuality will add to the respectful, professional, and cooperative learning environment one’s peers and faculty deserve. Arriving late to a required event is both disruptive and disrespectful to fellow learners. As such, arriving after the start time of a required event would be considered a violation of the student Code of Conduct.
  • Similarly, faculty should begin educational events on time.  Unless otherwise noted, educational events in the pre-clerkship curriculum conclude 10 minutes prior to the hour. 
  • Students will complete educational tasks/assignments by the prescribed deadline.
Computer/Telecommunications Use
  • Employees, students and volunteers are provided with access to the University’s computer and telecommunication networks to allow them to carry out the functions of the institution, and are responsible for the appropriate use of these resources.
  • The members of the School of Medicine understand, support, and abide by the policies concerning the ethical and responsible use of computers and electronic information at Quinnipiac University.
  • Students at clinical sites abide by the site policies concerning the ethical and responsible use of computers and electronic information.
Regulatory Compliance
  • Members of the School of Medicine strive to ensure that they meet the highest possible standards wherever relevant federal, state and local regulations, laws and guidelines apply.

Health and Safety
  • Members of the School of Medicine are responsible for complying with all workplace safety and health regulations and will report unsafe conditions, equipment, or practices to appropriate School of Medicine, University, or clinical site officials.
  • Members of the School of Medicine should not participate in academic activities, including patient care (simulated or real), under the adverse influence of psychotropic substances (including alcohol), whether prescribed or non-prescribed; or if they are otherwise impaired such that it would affect the safety of patients or others.
Conflict of Interest
  • Medical professionals on occasion engage in activities where there may be a real or perceived conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is defined as a situation when a reasonable observer may perceive that a member of the School of Medicine, or a family member, is acting based on personal interests or gain rather than their obligations to the School of Medicine and/or University. Members of the School of Medicine, and their immediate family, should avoid or minimize real and perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible. If faced with a potential conflict of interest, members of the School of Medicine will disclose the nature of the conflict to the appropriate administrator or supervisor, and a plan for managing the conflict of interest must be developed.
  • Members of the School of Medicine will not accept gifts from any person or entity that is seeking to do business with the School of Medicine, the University, or clinical site when such gifts are intended or may be perceived to secure or influence a business relationship.
  • Members of the School of Medicine should not accept gifts from any person or entity that may be viewed as seeking preferential treatment; that may cross professional boundaries; or that is of excessive value. Likewise, they should not proffer gifts in order to seek preferential treatment or cross professional boundaries.
  • Members of the School of Medicine will not engage in secondary employment or activity that impairs their independence or judgment in their official duties or that will require them to disclose confidential School of Medicine or University information, unless authorized by the School of Medicine.
  • Members of the School of Medicine will not use their positions for personal financial gain beyond official compensation, or for the financial benefit of their family members or domestic partners, unless authorized by the School of Medicine.
  • Members of the School of Medicine will not use School of Medicine or University resources for purposes unrelated to their School of Medicine responsibilities.

II. EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS

The most important mission of the School of Medicine is the education of medical students and other learners.  To ensure the highest standards of conduct in all interactions between faculty and learners, members of the School of Medicine shall abide by the following compact.

Compact Between Faculty and Learners

Preparation for a career in medicine demands the acquisition of a large fund of knowledge and a host of special skills. It also demands the strengthening of those virtues that embody the doctor/patient relationship and that sustain the profession of medicine as a moral enterprise. This Compact serves both as a pledge and as a reminder to teachers and learners that their conduct in fulfilling their mutual obligations is the medium through which the profession inculcates its ethical values.

The Teacher-Learner relationship between faculty and medical learners - students, residents, and fellows - should demonstrate the highest standards of ethical conduct in all educational settings and be conducted without abuse, humiliation, harassment and exploitation of relationships for personal gain or advantage.

Guiding Principles

Duty: Medical educators have a duty not only to convey the knowledge and skills required for delivering the profession’s contemporary standard of care, but also to instill the values and attitudes required for preserving the medical profession’s social contract across generations.

Integrity: The learning environments conducive to conveying professional values must be suffused with integrity. Medical learners gain enduring lessons of professionalism by observing and emulating role models who epitomize authentic professional values and attitudes.

Respect: Fundamental to the ethic of medicine is respect for every individual. Mutual respect between learners, as novice members of the medical profession, and their teachers, as experienced and esteemed professionals, is essential for nurturing that ethic. Given the inherently hierarchical nature of the teacher/learner relationship, teachers have a special obligation to ensure that students are always treated respectfully.

Communication among Faculty, Staff and Students: The School of Medicine values an environment of civility that promotes open and constructive intellectual debate. The School of Medicine expects that faculty, staff and students will:

  • Treat all students, administrators, staff, peers, and patients (real or simulated) with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with others.
  • Engage in professional and respectful discourse, manifest by the language used and the timeliness of responses, whether verbal, in writing, or via digital platforms.
  • Promptly report experiences of mistreatment or instances of witnessed unprofessional behavior to appropriate faculty or staff. All such reports are treated as confidential and reprisals or retaliations of any kind will not be tolerated. Any documented unprofessional behavior will be referred to the appropriate department chair/or Dean’s office staff for further action.

Commitments of Faculty: Members of the faculty we agree to do our utmost to ensure that all components of the educational program for medical learners are of high quality.  As mentors for learner colleagues, faculty will:

  • Maintain high professional standards in all interactions with patients, colleagues, and staff.
  • Recognize the importance of personal wellness and, as such, support learners’ needs to have sufficient time to fulfill personal and family obligations, enjoy recreational activities, and obtain adequate rest.
  • Nurture both the intellectual and the personal development of learners. Abuse or exploitation of medical learners will not be tolerated.

Commitments of Students, Residents, and Fellows: Learners agree to do their best to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to fulfill all educational objectives established by the faculty.  Trainees will:

  • Cherish the professional virtues of honesty, compassion, integrity, fidelity, and dependability.

  • Treat all faculty members, administrators, staff, peers, and patients (real or simulated) with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with others, and without regard to gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.

  • Embrace the highest standards of the medical profession and conduct ourselves accordingly in all of our interactions with patients, colleagues, faculty, and staff.

  • Work collaboratively in interprofessional teams to enhance patient safety and quality of care

  • Assist our fellow students and residents in meeting their professional obligations while fulfilling our own obligations as professionals.

III. SCHOLARSHIP STANDARDS

The School of Medicine is committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity in scholarship. These standards include honesty, trustworthiness, objectivity, accountability, openness, respect, and fairness when dealing with other people, and a sense of responsibility towards others.

We understand that academic freedom is essential to creating an atmosphere in which scholarship flourishes. Promotion of intellectual freedom is consistent with assuring a climate of integrity and the School of Medicine has the right and the obligation to inquire into all instances of alleged or apparent misconduct in scholarly activities. All scholarly activity at the School of Medicine will be conducted according to the following standards:

Scholarly Integrity

All members of the School of Medicine will:

  • Properly collect, record, and maintain data related to scholarly activity.

  • Take responsibility for all publications and presentations of which we are author or co- author.

  • Appropriately acknowledge, in publications and presentations, those who have contributed to our scholarly activity.

  • Grant access to data related to scholarly activity to co-investigators involved in generating the data.

  • Grant reasonable access to our resources to other University members involved in scholarly activity.

  • Not interfere with the scholarly activity conducted by students or faculty.

  • Neither commit nor tolerate plagiarism, falsification or fabrication of data, or other misconduct related to scholarly activity.

Human Research

All members of the School of Medicine will:
  • Abide by all federal and state laws and regulations, in addition to the University’s policies and procedures, when performing studies involving human subjects.

  • Respect human research participants and be committed to their safety.

  • Protect subjects by securing institutional review and approval for any human research.

  • Adhere to approved protocols and obtain prospective institutional approval of any changes in those protocols.

  • Engage all human subjects, or their appropriate representatives in a meaningful informed consent process, including explanations of possible risks and benefits before initiating a research protocol.

  • Allow potential or current participants to withdraw from a study at any time without prejudice.

  • Notify human subjects in a timely fashion of any serious adverse events associated with a human-subjects study.

  • Conduct appropriate education and training before initiating a human subjects study.

Animal Research

All members of the School of Medicine will:
  • Abide by all federal and state laws and regulations, in addition to the University’s policies and procedures, regarding the care, transport, maintenance, and use of research animals.

  • Be committed to the humane treatment of animals in research in accordance with state and federal laws and guidelines.

  • Protect research animals by securing appropriate institutional review and approval prior to initiation of any research involving vertebrate animals.

  • Adhere to approved protocols and obtain prospective institutional approval of any changes in those protocols.

  • Conduct appropriate education and training of all involved individuals before initiating animal research.

Laboratory Safety

All members of the School of Medicine will:
  • Abide by all federal and state laws and regulations, in addition to the University’s policies and procedures, concerning laboratory safety.

  • Seek prior approval of appropriate University committees when research involves hazardous chemical substances, bio-hazardous materials, or radioactive materials.

  • Properly document, store, handle, transport, and dispose of radioactive, bio-hazardous, and hazardous chemical materials, pharmaceuticals, and investigative drugs.

  • Participate in appropriate education and training before initiating studies involving such materials.

  • Comply with all workplace safety and health regulations and report unsafe conditions, equipment, or practices to supervisors or other appropriate University officials.

  • Complete required instructional and training sessions when dictated by funding or oversight agencies.

Research Support

All members of the School of Medicine will:
  • Use research funds only for their designated purposes.

  • Accurately account for time and effort related to research funding.

  • Disclose financial conflicts of interest to University administrators and, as appropriate, manage such conflicts in accordance with existing policies and procedures.

  • Properly acknowledge sponsorship of research in our publications and presentations.

  • Disclose inventions produced from our research to the University, in accordance with the University’s policy, so that consideration is given to the protection of intellectual property.

IV. SERVICE STANDARDS

Members of the School of Medicine are expected to engage in service, and in so doing be good citizens within the School of Medicine, and across the University. Importantly, members of the School of Medicine should engage in service and learning activities within the communities in which we work and learn. Because service within the community reflects on the School of Medicine and the University, its members abide by the following public engagement standards and:
  • Believe the reputation of the School of Medicine and University is tied to its responsiveness to the needs of the citizens and communities in which we work and learn.

  • Reach out to and engage with communities in reciprocal partnerships.

  • Respect community members, demonstrate cultural competence in their interactions with them, and comply with School of Medicine and University policies, as well as the policies of the community entity.

  • Strive for responsible, engaged scholarship and community-based programs to the benefit of communities by involving our partners in the planning, execution, and dissemination of the knowledge gained by such programs.

  • Recognize and respect the knowledge and behaviors of partners and the value of fostering a collaborative environment.

  • Encourage students to engage in community-based service learning experiences.

V. PATIENT CARE STANDARDS

As a school dedicated to training health professionals, we are committed to modeling and providing care that is of the highest quality, compassionate, and patient-centered. To meet this commitment, we abide by the following standards related to patient care and interactions. All members of the School of Medicine involved in patient care activities will:
  • Understand and support the applicable Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

  • Strive to deliver health care that is based on contemporary scientific knowledge and technology.

  • Provide educational resources and opportunity for consultations with other

  • Health care programs and professionals to assist our patients in the planning of their treatment.

  • Strive to consider the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our patients in making our treatment recommendations.

  • Not extend or receive payments or benefits in exchange for referrals, and base our health care and referrals solely on the well-being of and best treatment for our patients.

  • Recognize that patients have a right to ask members of their health care team about the role of students and residents in their care, and explain to our patients the importance of our educational mission as relates to their treatment.

  • Provide our patients with information necessary to make informed health care decisions.

  • Prepare clear, honest, and accurate patient medical documentation in a timely manner.

  • Maintain the confidentiality of patient information in accordance with existing policies and procedures, federal laws, and state regulations, including but not limited to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  • Not engage in romantic, sexual, or other non-professional relationships with a patient (simulated or real) currently under the care of the trainee.

  • Not misrepresent him or herself as a licensed or certified health care provider.

VI. BUSINESS AND OTHER STANDARDS

All members of the School of Medicine will:
  • Utilize such School of Medicine and University resources properly and protect them against loss, theft, misuse, and waste.

  • Use any form of intellectual property covered by copyright and license agreements in compliance with copyright law and the terms of the license agreement under which it was obtained.

  • Accurately account for time and provide proper documentation when seeking reimbursement for work-related expenses.

  • Not make representations on behalf of the School of Medicine or University without official authorization.

VII. VIOLATIONS OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT

All members of the School of Medicine have a duty and responsibility to report violations of the Code of Conduct to an appropriate administrator or supervisor. Faculty particularly have a crucial responsibility to report student unprofessionalism to maintain a professional and positive educational learning environment. Recurrent or egregious tardiness may result in submission of Reports of Concern and/or lead to review by the Professionalism Board.”

VIII. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The following examples are intended to illustrate application of the Code of Conduct, and is not intended to encompass all circumstances.
Members of the Netter community will:
  • Respond within an appropriate timeframe to official communications from the school. This ideally means within 24-hours, not to exceed 48 hours unless extenuating circumstances such as travel and/or limited means of communication prevents a response within 48 hours.

  • Attend all required sessions unless an excused absence is granted by the appropriate school representative.

  • Avoid tardiness as outlined in section VIIA above.

  • Meet all deadlines for course and clerkship assignments and evaluations unless officially excused by the appropriate school representative.

  • Maintain the integrity of examinations if granted the privilege of an ‘early take’ or ‘late take’ of an examination by not revealing or discussing examination content with peers. Students granted a ‘no take’ may not be present during the examination. Students may only take an examination in the location(s) designated by the school. Cheating will not be tolerated.

  • Offer original work for each assignment or learning task, and properly cite the work of others. Violations and plagiarism will not be tolerated.

  • Admit errors and not knowingly mislead others in the classroom and clinical setting (real or simulated).

  • Recognize the limitations of his/her knowledge, skills, or physical or emotional state, and seek supervision, advice, or appropriate help before acting.

  • Learn to recognize when his/her ability to function effectively is compromised, ask for relief or help, and notify the responsible person if something interferes with the ability to perform course work, clinical or research tasks, safely and effectively.

  • Accept constructive feedback from faculty, peers, and other health professional team members and student colleagues, asking clarifying questions when needed, and implement steps to improve performance based on feedback provided. Maintain a respectful and professional environment throughout feedback sessions.

  • Strive to apply principles of team dynamics and strategies to prevent and resolve conflict.

  • Not alter or falsify academic, patient or simulated patient documents (both paper and electronic).

  • Not gain or provide unauthorized access to academic or administrative files, patient medical records, or research documents, via computer or other means or method. Protect patient and standardized patient privacy to full ability.