Skip to content

Clinical Site Policies

***Of Note: While on clinical rotations, students are responsible for following all MSU PA Medicine Policies in the student handbook. However, we understand certain program policies on occasion will be superseded by those at the clinical site. All questions regarding this should be addressed with the PA Medicine clinical coordinator immediately.

Program Placement of Students

The PA program does not permit students to provide or solicit clinical sites or preceptors. Students are not permitted to coordinate clinical sites and/or preceptors for program-required rotations. All supervised clinical practice sites will be evaluated with the same clinical site and preceptor analysis prior to student placement.

Student Identification

PA students must be clearly identified in the clinical setting to distinguish them from physicians, medical students and other health profession students and graduates. The PA Medicine students will be issued a Spartan Card through MSU, which must be worn at all times while in the clinical setting.

Supervisors of the PA Medicine Students in the Clinical Setting

The MSUCOM PA Medicine curriculum includes required clinical experiences in a variety of clinical learning environments. The role of the student is to participate in patient care in ways that are appropriate for the student’s level of training and experience and to the clinical situation. The student’s clinical activities will be under the supervision of licensed medical Providers (DO/MD/PA/NP). Students may work with a resident, fellow, or other qualified healthcare provider; however, the supervising provider of the student retains full responsibility for the supervision of PA Medicine students assigned to the clinical rotation and must ensure his/her designee(s) are prepared for their roles for supervision of students. The medical provider assigned a PA Medicine Student and his/her designee(s) must be members in good standing in their facilities and must have a license appropriate to his/her specialty of practice and be supervising the PA Medicine student within that scope of practice as delineated by the credentialing body of the facility.

Level of Supervision/Responsibilities

Clinical supervision is designed to foster progressive responsibility as a student progresses through the curriculum, with the supervising medical provider allowing the PA medicine student the opportunity to demonstrate progressive involvement in patient care when indicated. MSUCOM PA Medicine students will be expected to follow clinical policies of the facility regarding medical records and clinical care. PA Medicine student participation in patient history/physical exam, critical data analysis, management, and procedures will include factors, but not limited to:

  • The students demonstrated ability
  • The student’s level of education and experience
  • The learning objectives of the clinical experience  

PA Medicine students will be directly supervised at all times (supervising provider or designee present or immediately available). For some tasks, indirect supervision may be appropriate for some students as allowed by hospital/clinic policy. Direct supervision would be appropriate for advanced procedures.

Supervising providers will provide students with timely and specific feedback on performance. Supervising providers will complete a summative evaluation and are encouraged to contact the course director with any gaps in student performance.

Students with any concern regarding clinical, administrative, educational, or safety issues during a rotation will be encouraged to contact the supervising provider or the PA Medicine Clinical Coordinator immediately.

Student Responsibilities and Expectations

Student Attire and Etiquette

PA Medicine students are to wear clean, white, short lab coats during the clinical practicum unless otherwise instructed. An identification tag (Spartan Card), must also be worn at all times. As a student, you will come in close contact with patients, physicians, peers and other health care professionals each day; good personal hygiene must be practiced. It should also be noted, that although the college does not have a “dress code,” tennis shoes, open-toed shoes, low-cut or midriff blouses, miniskirts and jeans are not considered appropriate attire for hospital/office/clinic settings including lectures. PA Medicine students should introduce themselves to patients and other health care professionals as a PA Medicine student, not as a medical student or physician. This is important so that individuals do not assume that students have more responsibility or authority concerning patient care than that of a PA Medicine student. Patients should be addressed using their last names. Students should remember that, in the clinical setting, they are a reflection of Michigan State University and the College.

Student Responsibilities Regarding Patient Supervision All medical procedures performed by PA Medicine students must be supervised by a licensed provider responsible for the care of the patient. Before starting any procedure, the student must be told to do the procedure on the patient by a provider responsible for the care of this patient. The supervising preceptor and the student share the responsibility for determining the level of supervision needed: either direct supervision (i.e., an appropriate supervisor is present while the procedure is being performed) or indirect supervision (i.e., an appropriate supervisor can be called into the room within a time span appropriate for that procedure). It is understood that a complete list of procedures that a student may perform is neither possible nor desirable to establish, but these general guidelines should be followed:

  • Appropriate informed consent must be obtained and documented. No procedure should be attempted by the PA Medicine student unless s/he is given permission to do so by the patient and the responsible provider.
  • If a student does not feel capable, then s/he must not undertake performance of the procedure without further instruction and direct supervision.
  • If the student is not known by the patient, the student should properly identify her/himself to the patient.
  • If the PA Medicine student is not successful in the performance of a procedure within the reasonable amount of time or without undue discomfort to the patient, the PA Medicine student must withdraw and notify the supervising provider.
  • It is the responsibility of the PA Medicine student to cease and desist from the performance of any procedure at the direction of any nurse/provider responsible for that patient, if that nurse/provider has reasonable cause to ask the student to cease and desist. The supervising preceptor should be notified promptly of any such action.

PA Medicine Student Responsibilities

  • Students are expected to function collaboratively on health care teams that include health professionals from other disciplines in the provision of quality, patient-centered care.
  • Students are expected to identify, access, interpret and apply medical evidence contained in the scientific literature related to patient’s health problems.
  • Students are expected to: assess their personal learning needs specific to this clinical rotation, engage in deliberate, independent learning activities to address their gaps in knowledge, skills, or attitudes; and solicit feedback and use it on a daily basis to continuously improve their clinical practice.
  • Students are highly encouraged to notify their PA Medicine advisor and/or Clinical Coordinator should any deficiencies be identified during this practicum.

Policy for PA Medicine Student Supervision

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Each individual student is responsible for their behavior and is expected to maintain standards of academic honesty. Students share the responsibility with faculty for creating an environment that supports academic honesty and principles of professionalism. Proper relationship between faculty and student are fundamental to the college’s function and this should be built on mutual respect and understanding together with shared dedication to the academic honesty. It is a fundamental belief that each student is worth of trust and that each student has the right to live in an academic environment that is free of injustice caused by dishonesty. While students have an obligation to assist their fellow students in meeting the common goals of their education, students have equal obligation to maintain the highest standards of personal integrity.

Faculty Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the college faculty to specify the limits of authorized aid (including but not limited to exams, study aids, internet resources and materials from senior students) in their syllabi, and it is the responsibility of students to honor and adhere to those limits. Course instructors shall inform students at the beginning of the semester of any special criteria of academic honesty pertinent to the class or course. It is the responsibility of the clinical faculty to provide students with ongoing feedback during rotation upon request. Clinical faculty are generally recommended (though not required) to limit student assigned duty hours from 40 to 60 hours weekly (and not exceeding 60 hours). Both faculty and students are to be treated fairly and professionally in order to maintain a proper working relationship between trainer and trainee.

Use of Electronic Devices During Clinical Practicum

Students are expected to be fully engaged in the clinical education experience. Using electronic devices while on clinical practicums or during other required activities can be distracting and disrespectful to patients, preceptors, lecturers, and your fellow students. Electronic devices are not to be used during rounds, meetings, small groups, or lectures, or when in the room with patients: the only exception would be if instructed to do so by a preceptor. Students wishing to retrieve information that may be relevant to the patient or small group discussion should get permission to do so from the preceptor. It is never appropriate for students to use electronic devices for reading e-mail, texting, surfing the web or other personal activities while on any clinical practicum required activity. Students may receive unprofessional behavior notation(s) for failure to use electronic devices appropriately. All unprofessional behavior notations are forwarded to Promotion Committee for review.

MSU COM PA Medicine Standard Absence Policies

Absence due to Interviews

For the purpose of interviewing only, a student may be absent 1 day on a 4-week non-core rotation during the months of June to August. Interview invitations must accompany the Clinical Practicum Excused Absence Request Form.

Illness/Personal Day Absences

Students are allowed 5 personal days during the clinical practicum year (September to August). These are to be used for illness, physician appointments, and special events (weddings, graduations, special anniversary events) and must not exceed 2 days on any rotation. Prolonged illness and bereavement will be handled on a case-by-case basis between the Promotion Committee. Students must notify rotation team and Clinical Coordinator of emergent/illness absences on day of absence.

Hospital organized events that might lead to periodic absence from rotations – student participation is encouraged and if preceptor approved, would be considered part of the rotation and not a personal day absence.

Jury duty – Due to the time-sensitive nature of the clinical practicum experiences, students summoned for jury service should submit a Request for Jury Service Postponement/Excuse form. If the waiver is not granted and jury service is mandated, student participation is not considered a personal day. Court excuses must accompany any absence. If absence is prolonged, this will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Promotion Committee.

Conference Absence

While on required/core rotations, no excused absences for any professional meeting will be allowed unless the student is presenting research in which they have participated.

  • Appropriate paperwork with proof of presentation and copy of conference agenda must accompany the form.
  • Time off in this situation will be for travel and presentation only.

While on selective/elective rotations: A student may submit a request for an excused absence to attend one (1) professional meeting, time not to exceed 3 days off rotation. The meeting agenda must accompany the Clinical Practicum Excused Absence Request Form.

The exception to the conference absence policy is for program events, such as the Michigan Academy of PAs (MAPA) Conferences, or Legislative events that are program approved.

The Department PA Medicine faculty approved this policy on March 16, 2020.
Revised and approved by the Faculty of the Department of PA Medicine on 3/19/2021, 3/15/2022, 4/18/2023.