The worst fear of this medical student came true in the past year: I was recommended for dismissal from the medical education curriculum due to multiple academic failures. Despite the well-meaning suggestion of many close to me not to pursue an appeal, I decided to go through with the process. I urge any medical student who may be struggling with more than one course to look into their school’s probation and dismissal policies so that they are aware of the process, and to begin seeking out individuals who would be willing to be their advocate in the event that they decide to appeal a dismissal decision. The institution I attend allows the medical student to go before two committees and, if necessary, the Dean of the Medical Program to appeal a dismissal decision. In my case, the initial progress committee voted yes to uphold their dismissal recommendation 14-1 and the second committee voted yes to uphold the dismissal decision 8-7. The Dean has decided to allow me a final opportunity as an adult learner to demonstrate that I can be successful with the medical education curriculum. I was informed that the committee members feel there is nothing the school can do to help and that is their reason behind the dismissal. In other words, I ‘won’ the appeal after being in a state of limbo for six months. However, my time as a medical student from this point forward is not going to be up for discussion but based strictly on passing grades – one more failure and I am out; no additional appeal will be possible.
The appeals process is incredibly isolating, and I want anyone else in a similar situation to know that you are not alone! I was incredibly fortunate to find the advocate that I did when I found them, and I was able to obtain information about the appeals process. Please remain confident that you know what is best for you and your future. It may be uncertain, but that is true for everyone and we all make it through life with faith. I have to continually remind myself of that to remain confident so that I do not let my medical education opportunity be taken away rather than choosing to walking away of my own accord. Everyone who behaves as if I have already lost the opportunity is entitled to that opinion because it is difficult to draw the necessary line between slower adaptation and incompetence when it comes to future health care of patients. However, prior academic difficulty even after becoming a medical student does not have to regulate a person to never succeeding in reaching the goal of being a medical doctor.
This article first appeared in Fall 2008 JSNMA, Volume 14, Number 4
Filed Under: Lifestyles
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