Section 6: Clinic Attendance and Absence Policies

For each rotation scheduled during the academic year, students are required to complete 12 individual shifts in order to receive a passing grade (11 during summer term). Up to two (2) absences are allowed during an 11- or 12-week rotation, which must be made up before the end of the following term. Students will be given a grade of incomplete until those absences are made up.

Holidays and unexpected closures due to inclement weather are included in the total number of absences for that rotation. Exceptions may be made by the program dean if there are an unusually high number of unexpected clinic closures.

In the event of a failed rotation, any patient contacts and hours accrued will be recorded and used as makeup hours if needed. In the event of prolonged sickness, a medical leave of absence may be obtained. It is the student’s responsibility to keep the associate registrar updated on any planned absences or schedule changes.

6.1 Clinic Attendance and Shift Tracking Procedure

Students track their own clinical hours via the student timesheet provided by the Registrar’s Office, which includes an up-to-date list of patient contacts. The student timesheet constitutes the primary evidence regarding how many shifts were attended and patient contacts were accrued in a given rotation.

To track clinical attendance, students must use the following procedure:

  • One timesheet is given per rotation. Students should keep a copy for their own records.
  • Each week, the student enters the time in and time out for the shift, the total hours, number of patient contacts, and maintains a patient log on the reverse side.
  • At the end of each week’s shift, the student gives the timesheet to the supervisor (faculty or resident) to verify and initial the hours present and patient log. The supervisor/resident will continue to record the student attendance hours and patient contacts in the attendance records binder each week.
  • If a student misses a week due to a holiday/clinic closure or an absence and makes it up during the same term, those hours are entered at the bottom of the timesheet, and the supervisor from the makeup shift will initial it.
  • At the end of the 12-week rotation, the student keeps a copy for their own records and gives the original hard copy to the supervisor.
  • At the end of the rotation, the clinical supervisor turns in the student timesheets along with their clinical evaluations to the registrar.

For students who began clinical rotations prior to summer 2017
Students who began clinical rotations prior to summer 2017, and have missed shifts on a rotation for which they have already received a “P” grade, will have until graduation to make up those specific misses. This only applies to those specific missed shifts prior to summer 2017. Any missed shifts beginning summer 2017 will result in an incomplete grade that must be made up by the end of the following term.

6.2 Clinic Absences

Students are expected to attend all clinic rotations. More than two (2) absences per clinic rotation will result in a failing grade. These include days missed because of clinic closures due to inclement weather or holidays. Students are not allowed to “guest” on clinic shifts, but must make up all hours missed through substitutions or scheduling extra holiday shifts.

During the first week of clinic rotations only illness, bereavement and family emergencies will be considered for approved absences through the associate registrar. All absences, whether planned or unplanned, must be made up by the end of week 12 of the term following the absence (or by the end of any holiday weeks that are scheduled immediately following week 12 of a term).

Planned Absences

These may include vacations and/or seminars.

  • Students must request from their supervisor a planned absence and discuss with them the best way to approach their patients’ care, and follow through with the agreed upon plan, if approved.
  • Planned absence notification must be submitted to the associate registrar no less than two (2) weeks in advance using the “Clinic Substitute Request” page on the registrar’s Moodle page (see Section 6.3 below). As long as a clinic substitute is found, the associate registrar will notify the faculty supervisor, resident and clinic staff of the excused absence. If no substitute is found, students are required to submit a clinic absence approval form to the associate registrar with the supervising doctor’s signature.
  • If approved, students are responsible for obtaining a substitute unless otherwise approved in writing (via the “Clinic Absence Approval” form or email) by the supervising practitioner. All absence approvals without substitutes must be submitted to the associate registrar, who will notify the clinic front desk staff or community clinic staff.
  • The supervising doctor has the authority to approve or deny a planned absence request.
  • A request may be denied if there have been prior absences or if clinic closures are anticipated due to holidays or inclement weather.
  • All missed clinical shifts MUST be made up to pass the clinic rotation by the end of the following term.

Appeals Process for Denied Planned Absences

If a planned absence request has been denied, the student may appeal the decision by completing an “Absence Request Appeal” form and submitting it to the program dean. Appeals must be received at least ten (10) business days prior to the requested date of absence. Students should give themselves a four-week turnaround time on the entire process if they feel as though their absence request may be denied.

  • An absence appeal must be requested before the student takes time off from clinic.
  • It will be approved or denied based on the following factors: the availability of substitute coverage; makeup hours planned; and at the discretion of the clinical supervisor and based on patient care needs.
  • If the request is denied, the student will be expected to attend the shift(s) in question or the absence(s) will be unexcused.

Unplanned Absences

These include illness, family emergencies, or attending a birth (for students obtaining a natural childbirth certificate). In the event of illness or an emergency, students must notify the associate registrar, their faculty supervisor, the resident (if applicable), and the clinic front desk staff (or the community clinic supervisor for a community clinic rotation) via phone or email as soon as possible prior to the beginning of their shift. They must provide a detailed explanation for their absence and leave a telephone number where they can be reached for any necessary follow-up. In the event of prolonged sickness, a medical leave of absence may be obtained (see Section 6.4 of the student handbook). A medical excuse must be provided for shifts missed during the first week of the term.

Due to the short notice that typically occurs with such absences, the student is responsible for the following:

  • Contacting the supervising practitioner about the absence. If unable to reach the supervisor directly, the student may leave a voicemail/email message.
  • Notifying the associate registrar, resident (if applicable), and the appropriate front desk staff or community clinic representative of the absence.
  • Reviewing the patient schedule for that day. The student is responsible for consulting with the rotation’s supervising faculty to determine which, if any, patients should be rescheduled with the student for another time and which, if any, patients should be seen that day with an alternate student. This is an important step in quality patient care and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that it happens.
  • When missing a shift to attend a birth (as part of an educational requirement), the student must provide supporting documentation to the associate registrar.
  • If requesting an absence during week 12 (or week 11 during summer term), arrangements must be made with the student’s clinical supervisor to review and sign the final clinical evaluation.

Unexcused Absences

An unexcused absence is one in which neither the associate registrar nor the clinical supervisor were informed and the below steps regarding the absence were not taken. These are unprofessional and create hardships for patients, faculty, staff and peers. Students will be referred to the Honor Council and may be docked 20 clinic hours for any unexcused absences.

6.3 Clinic Substitute Procedure

Students who will be absent from a clinic shift must enter their absence and request for a substitute on the “Clinic Substitute Request” page, located on Moodle under “Clinic Resources.” Once a student signs up to substitute on a shift, they are responsible for attending the shift. If a student is unable to attend the shift for which they agreed to substitute, that student is responsible for finding a replacement. In either event, all clinic absence policies apply. Failure to find a substitute for a clinic shift will result in an unexcused absence, including docked clinical hours and referral to the Honor Council (see Section 6.6 below).

6.4 Inclement Weather and Clinic Closure

On occasion, Portland weather can present dangerous traveling conditions. If this happens, administrators may deem it necessary to close the university and clinic(s) for the day. In some cases, when the weather is expected to improve, the university may be closed and classes cancelled, but the clinics may open during the latter portion of the day. Students are expected to pay careful attention to closure information. Unexpected clinic closures are factored into graded attendance unless there are an unusually high number of them. Students should refer to the emergency closure procedure in Section 18.7 of the student handbook for more specifics about inclement weather closure notifications.

6.5 Makeup and Holiday Shifts

Any student needing additional shift hours in order to convert a grade of “incomplete,” or to meet the graduation requirement, can make up the hours by substituting or completing extra holiday shifts. Students can find makeup clinic shift opportunities on the “Clinic Substitute Request” page on Moodle.

All hours completed that are not part of a student’s regular schedule must be documented on the timesheet for their assigned rotation (if making up hours within the same term that they were missed), or on a “Holiday Hours and Makeup Shift” timesheet. Timesheets must be submitted by the end of the term in which the hours were completed or they will not be accepted. See Section 6.1 for further detail.

6.6 Tardiness

It is both disruptive and disrespectful to supervising faculty, patients and fellow students to arrive late. Students are expected to arrive early and remain through the end of the shift, even if there is no patient, and to utilize the time in clinic constructively.

  • Students should arrive at clinic at least five (5) minutes before the shift begins and be ready for the shift at the time it is scheduled to begin.
  • Students should take transportation and parking into consideration when planning their schedules.
  • If a student is 15-30 minutes late to shift or leaves more than 15 minutes early, it will require one hour of shift time to be made up. Tardiness or leaving early by more than 30 minutes will require the entire shift to be made up.
  • A student may fail a rotation or be referred to the Honor Council for repetitive tardiness.