Students are required to attend clinic at scheduled times and work the hours set forth by the preceptor. In general, this equates to >/=32 hours per week. If a student is in a clinical experience that does not meet >/=32 hours per week, the student must notify the Clinical Team immediately as this may impact the ability for the clinical experience to meet Program requirements. The student’s clinic schedule can be found in the clinical tracking system (Exxat). This schedule does not specify holiday, night, or weekend shifts, or call.
Requests for changes in clinical placements (including the days of the week) will not be approved, unless the preceptor is requesting the change or in extenuating circumstances. Personal preferences or attending extracurricular activities do not constitute extenuating circumstances. Approval of changes in a clinical placement is at the sole discretion of the Director of Clinical Education and may not be appealed. All requests for absences and change of clinical days must be submitted to the Director of Clinical Education prior to discussing this with the preceptor(s).
- Exceptions to this rule are acute illnesses or emergency situations for which the preceptor should be contacted first, followed by the Director of Clinical Education.
- Requests for changes in clinical schedules due to religious observations must be arranged in advance with the Clinical Team.
Any weeks that students are not in clinical rotations, they will be required to use their time studying for End-of-Rotation Exams, completing Clinical Seminar Requirements and SCPE course requirements, and working on their Capstone Research. These gap weeks will vary by student and will be dependent on the availability of the preceptor and additional rotations being completed during the semester. Gap weeks may be utilized by the Director of Clinical Education to assign clinical experiences for students who need to make up absences. Gap weeks are not considered vacation time but should be utilized for completion of program requirements and travel between rotation sites.
Definition of Clinical Absences
Excused Absence: An Excused Absence is an absence for which permission has been granted by the Director of Clinical Education and the preceptor. Excused absences are considered to occur in voluntary and involuntary situations as defined below:
- Voluntary Absence: An absence for an event or events such as personal appointments and family events. Voluntary absences are generally not permitted; however, unique circumstances must be submitted in writing to the Director of Clinical Education within ten business days from the requested day(s) off. If accommodations can be made, an appropriate plan will be developed by the Director of Clinical Education, with or without assistance from the advisor and/or the Clinical Team.
- Involuntary Absence: An absence for serious illness, jury duty, and academic needs specified by the RVU PA program (i.e., remediation). If a student has an illness or other emergency, they must contact their preceptor(s), as well as the Director of Clinical Education and the Clinical Team, as soon as possible or prior to missing any time.
- Unexcused Absence: An Unexcused Absence is an absence for which permission has not been granted by the Director of Clinical Education. Unexcused absences may be brought to the attention of the Student Assessment and Promotions Committee and may result in a notation on the Professional Development Assessment Tool (PDAT) or failure of the rotation.
- Unexpected Preceptor Absence: An Unexpected Preceptor Absence is an absence necessitated by an unexpected change in the preceptor’s schedule or due to preceptor illness/leave. Students will not be responsible for making up a missed day due to an unexpected preceptor absence, and the absence will be considered Excused if the Clinical Team is notified within 24 hours of the cancellation.
It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Clinical Team of any absences (voluntary, involuntary, or preceptor-driven). Failure to do so may result in a notation on the PDAT or failure of the rotation.
Plan for Excused Absences Approved by the Director of Clinical Education
If more than two clinical days are missed during a one-month rotation, the Director of Clinical Education will work with the Clinical Team and the advisor to determine need for additional rotation exposure.
If there is a pattern of absences through the semester or year, a remediation plan may be warranted.
Other Clinical Experience Considerations
Mandatory Testing: During Clinical Experiences, the student will be required to be on the RVU campus for Competency Assessments (Point of Entrustment #2). Preceptors will be notified of these excused absences.
Inclement Weather: Students are expected to attend clinic even if the Rocky Vista University campus is closed. If the rotation site is open during inclement weather, the student must make every effort to attend. If the site closes due to weather, the student must notify the Director of Clinical Education and the Clinical Team immediately. If the student will not be attending clinic, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the preceptor first to notify them that they will not be there and why. After contacting the preceptor, the student must email the Director of Clinical Education who may consider make-up options, as needed.
Emergency or Illness: If the student is ill and it would be inappropriate for the student to see patients or if there is an emergency, the student must contact their preceptor. After contacting the preceptor, the student must email the Director of Clinical Education to discuss make-up options.
Other Absence Requests: If the student needs to miss clinic for any reason other than an acute illness or an emergency, the student must receive approval from the Director of Clinical Education prior to approaching the preceptor. Requests must be submitted ten business days prior to the requested time off.
University Breaks/Holidays: Students are required to attend clinic during the Rocky Vista University PA Program Winter Break, Spring Break, and holiday days.
On-Call/Night Shifts: On-call responsibilities may be required for a rotation, and the student must discuss the schedule with the preceptor at the beginning of the rotation. A rotation may require on-call nights or overnight shifts.
Job Interviews: Scheduling a job interview during another clinical experience will not be approved. Job interviews must be scheduled during the student’s off-hours.
Students summoned to jury duty must notify the Course Director for a didactic course or the Director of Clinical Education and the Preceptor for a clinical rotation overlapping their summons for jury duty. The student will contact the appropriate court to determine if they have been called for appearance.
If the student is called to appear for jury duty, they must notify the Course Director for a didactic course or the Director of Clinical Education and the preceptor for a clinical course. The student will need to provide the excused absence form from the court to the Course Director or Director of Clinical Education, verifying their attendance for jury duty.
If the student is not called to appear for jury duty, they must report to the required courses or clinical rotation site for that day. If an exam is scheduled for the day the student is summoned to appear for jury duty, the student will follow the guidelines above, and if called to appear for jury duty, the student will work with the Course Director to reschedule the exam for a later date.