Code of Conduct

In addition to the PA Program Code of Conduct, all CWRU PA students are required to uphold the University Code of Conduct and all of its proscribed conduct.  The University Student Code of Conduct shall apply to conduct that occurs on university premises, at university sponsored activities and to off-campus conduct that adversely affects the university community, the mission of the university and/or the pursuit of university goals.

Each student shall be responsible for his/her conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual awarding of a degree, including periods immediately before classes begin or immediately after classes end, as well as during the academic year and during periods between terms of actual enrollment. This includes conduct which occurred while a student was enrolled discovered even after a degree is awarded. The Student Code of Conduct shall apply to a student even if the student withdraws from the university while a disciplinary matter is pending. The Vice President of Student Affairs or designee shall decide when the Student Code of Conduct may be applied to incidents of misconduct occurring off campus, on a case by case basis

The University Student Code of Conduct serves to support the overall mission and core values of Case Western Reserve University. This includes civility and the free exchange of ideas, civic and international engagement, appreciation for the distinct perspectives and talents of each individual, academic freedom and responsibility, and ethical behavior.

Last Updated: August 9, 2019

Case Western Reserve University Physician Assistant Student Code of Conduct

Case Western Reserve University's Physician Assistant Program strives to assure clinical affiliates and the public that CWRU physician assistant (PA) students meet professional standards of knowledge and skills. Additionally, the CWRU PA Program attempts to ensure that its PA students are upholding appropriate standards of professionalism and ethics.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner in the classroom, in clinical sites, on campus, and at all other times. Expected conduct is specified in Case Western Reserve University's PA Student Handbook, Clinical Handbook, and in syllabi and other materials distributed by instructors. Unprofessional behavior will be reported to the Program Director for consideration of disciplinary action.

CWRU PA Program's Code of Conduct outlines principles that all CWRU PA students are expected to uphold. Breaches of these principles may be cause for disciplinary review. Disciplinary action taken at the conclusion of a review may include formal reprimand, probation, suspension or dismissal from the program. Disciplinary action may be reported to any state licensing authority, the federal government, the graduate PA’s employer and other interested parties, including individuals seeking information about the graduate PA’s status and academic standing while a student in the CWRU PA Program.

This Code of Conduct represents some, though not necessarily all, of the behaviors that may trigger review under CWRU PA Program’s Policies and Procedures for Disciplinary Matters.

Principles of Conduct

Case Western Reserve University physician assistant students:

  • Shall not engage in cheating or other dishonest behavior that violates the security of any form of student assessment (including unauthorized reproducing, distributing, displaying, discussing, sharing or otherwise misusing any form of assessment including but not limited to test questions or any part of test questions) before, during or after an examination.
  • Shall always do their own work, and may never plagiarize or cheat on tests, papers or any other form of assessment. CWRU PA students may not solicit, obtain, possess or provide to another person an examination or portions of an exam, prior or subsequent to the administration of the exam. A PA student may not obtain or provide test questions to or from other students in any form—oral, written or electronic. A PA student may not obtain test questions (in any form) from previous students or graduates of the program.
  • Shall promptly inform CWRU PA Program faculty when possessing knowledge or evidence that raises a substantial question of students cheating on or misusing questions from a CWRU PA Program examination or any other form of student assessment.

Case Western Reserve University PA students shall comply with all applicable PA program, University and clinical site policies as well as laws, regulations and standards related to their professional role, including but not limited to those governing clinical clerkships. CWRU PA students:

  • Shall demonstrate and uphold the highest level of integrity and ethical standards with patient care, medical documentation, and scholarly work and in professional relationships with faculty and preceptors.
  • Shall behave in a manner that is lawful and ethical, and that upholds accepted standards of professional practice.
  • Shall not employ deceptive means, including submitting to the CWRU PA Program any document or testimony regarding student performance that contains a misstatement of fact or omits any facts.
  • Shall not falsely represent themselves in any way to be a physician assistant or a physician.
  • Shall demonstrate personal and professional responsibility and accountability at all times. This includes but is not limited to accountability to patients, the profession, preceptors and faculty. Avoidance behavior is not acceptable.
  • Shall treat fellow students with courtesy and respect and shall not discriminate against them on the basis of gender, religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
  • Shall treat patients and their families with respect and dignity in their presence and in discussion with other medical team members regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic status. Such respect and dignity will be accorded in both interactions with the patient and/or family or in discussions with other medical team members.
  • Shall respect appropriate professional boundaries in their interactions with faculty, staff, preceptors, patients, patient’s families and others.
  • Shall demonstrate and respect professional relationship boundaries with faculty, staff, preceptors and other members of the healthcare team. Jocularity and overfamiliarity is inappropriate.
  • Shall avoid behavior that would pose a threat or potential threat to the health, well-being or safety of others apart from reasonable risks taken in a patient's interest during the delivery of health care.
  • Shall demonstrate respect for the right of the patient and their family to be informed and to share in decision-making.
  • Shall respect patient confidentiality and right to privacy. The PA student shall not disclose patient confidential information, publicly disclose information about a patient that the PA student learned as part of the student’s educational experience, nor disparage any patient in a public setting, (including through social media) based on information observed or learned as a part of the PA student’s didactic or clinical educational experience.
  • Shall demonstrate good judgment and insight to one’s own abilities and professional and personal limitations and know when to ask for help.
  • Shall only wear their “white coat” when participating in the care of patients in an official capacity and at a time specifically designated by the PA program and/or preceptor. PA students may not wear their ‘white coat” to gain access to medical facilities or to a patient’s medical records when they are not participating in an officially sanctioned PA program educational experience.
  • Shall participate in orientation, the classroom, experiential learning, community service, clinical settings, professional meetings and events or any other setting where judgment is required or patient care might be compromised without impairment from alcohol and/or drugs and shall practice without impairment from cognitive deficiency or mental illness that, even with appropriate reasonable accommodation, adversely affects their practice of medicine.
  • Shall demonstrate the professional behavior expected of a CWRU PA student including:
    • Excellence
    • Altruism
    • Accountability
    • Honor and Integrity
    • Duty
    • Respect for others
    • Intellectual curiosity
    • Teamwork and Collaboration
    • Advocacy and Equity

*Adapted from the National Commission for Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

Adopted: February 26, 2016

Last reviewed by PA Program 3/1/2020.