Student Conduct & Professionalism


Student Conduct includes all E&H student conduct and honor code policies/standards and program specific professionalism policies/standards as outlined below and in other areas of this handbook.

In accepting admission to the MPAS Program, each student agrees to review and to abide by all policies and procedures of Emory & Henry College, the School of Health Sciences, and the Department of Physician Assistant Studies/MPAS Program. Additionally, each student also agrees to abide by all policies and procedures outlined by individual clinical sites/organizations with which they may be assigned for clinical experiences.

In addition to controlling their own behavior, students are expected to do their utmost to help maintain a high level of conduct among fellow students.

College and Program policies are set forth in writing to give students general notice of prohibited conduct; they are not designed to define misconduct in exhaustive terms, so they should be read broadly. All enrolled students are required to review and, when applicable to the PA student, continuously abide by the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession. Additionally, all students are required to abide by all Emory & Henry College Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations as noted in the E&H Academic Catalog and College Student Handbook. The following information and policies are covered in the Catalog:

  • College Governance
  • Conduct Expectations
  • Application of Conduct Expectations
  • Personal Property – Search and Seizure
  • Hazing Policy
  • Discrimination and Social Harassment Policy
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy
  • College Disciplinary Procedures
  • Code of Conduct Offenses
  • Sanctions
  • Appeals
  • Student Conduct Code

Emory & Henry College Honor Code

Students are required to adhere to the College’s Honor Code. Specifically, the Honor Code states that:

As members of the Emory & Henry College Community, we recognize Honor to include, among other things, the following:

A commitment to tell the truth

A commitment to maintain the sanctity of other’s property, including computer data/access

A commitment to abstain from all forms of cheating and plagiarism

A commitment to uphold the integrity and confidentiality of College documents, including computer records

A commitment to deal responsibly with observed infractions of this code

A commitment to honesty and integrity in all academic settings

Professionalism and the PA Student

Here in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program, one of our goals in educating Physician Assistant (PA) students is to graduate healthcare providers who are not only clinically sound, providing the highest quality of care within their scope of practice, but also well-respected professionals within the medical community. Each student must demonstrate the ability to work effectively within a professional environment among various types of healthcare settings. 

The PA student must demonstrate sound judgment, intellectual honesty, and privacy and confidentiality standards in accordance to HIPAA protocols. Breaching professionalism, particularly when exhibiting any behavior that might pose a threat to the student or to others, may lead to dismissal from the program.

PA students must be aware that even as students they are viewed - by both patients and medical providers - as part of the medical community. As such, PA students are expected to display the highest standards of professionalism. It is critical, therefore, that the development of professional behavior be assessed just as academic and clinical skills are measured.

Professionalism Exhibited Through Attendance

See the MPAS Program Policies on Attendance

Professionalism Exhibited Through Professional Attire & Appearance

The MPAS Program is a graduate professional program and, as such, students are expected to dress appropriately in both the college setting and at clinical sites.

  • During didactic phase activities, PA students must be identifiable by:
    • Wearing the E&H School of Health Sciences badge and lanyard at all times when on campus.
  • During any clinical encounters, occurring both in the didactic and clinical phases of training, PA students must have visible identification that indicates they are an E&H PA Student. Such identification includes:
    • Wearing the program issued short white lab coat with student name.
      • Students are required to wear their Program issued lab coat in the Mel Leaman Free Clinic.
    • Wearing the program issued name tag that clearly identifies themselves as an E&H PA student, and, when supplied by clinical sites, wearing their facility issued identification badge.
    • Students are not permitted to wear their branded scrubs or white coats, College identification badges, or name tags in non-program related activities.
    • Students are not permitted to identify themselves as E&H MPAS students in non-program approved activities.
  • The dress code for the MPAS program requires adherence to business casual attire and professional presentation for all non-lab class-related activities and clinical-related activities. For some but not all lab activities (e.g., clinical skills lab), students must wear appropriate attire for the activity that permits the specific clinical examination to be performed (e.g., cardiovascular exam). Such attire includes MPAS Program approved scrubs with the Department of PA Studies logo and student name and title (i.e., First, Last Name, PA-S) or, at the discretion of the Clinical Skills Course Director, gym shorts and sports bras when appropriate. Occasionally, the Program will permit dress-down days. On such dress-down days, students are still required to dress appropriately but may wear jeans and collared shirt (e.g., polo-shirt) or Program approved scrubs instead of business casual attire. Unless Emory & Henry College attire, no attire should have logos, images, messages, or advertising. After hour study attire on campus must be either business casual, scrubs, or E&H attire only.
  • Business casual is attire that is clean, with limited wrinkles, and appropriate to present a professional appearance (including for a chance meeting with your clinical preceptor, professional colleague, potential employer, or a patient).
    • Clothing such as slacks, khakis (chino-style pants) or a skirt, a blouse, button-down or polo shirt with a collar; sweaters are also appropriate. Suit-coats, blazers, and neckties are not required.
    • Emory & Henry logoed shirts and sweaters are appropriate as are discipline specific (e.g., AAPA, APTA, AOTA, NATA) logoed attired.
    • Closed-toe shoes are required for skills lab, research lab and clinic environments. Open toes shoes cannot be worn in the PA Skills Lab, Sim Lab, Research Labs, or Clinical Facilities.
    • Jeans are not considered business casual; however, programs will have special ‘jeans’ day and events when jeans are permitted.
    • Skirts, if worn, must be knee length.
    • Certain jewelry is inappropriate in lab and clinical settings (e.g., necklaces outside of shirt or blouse, nose rings, hanging earrings, bangles, non-medical bracelets, sharp-edged or large protruding rings). Additionally, gauge earrings may need to be removed or covered.
  • Attire for Clinical Practice Experiences (e.g., Free Clinic, Internships, Clerkships, Practicums):
    • Business attire is the general rule. However, different clinical environments require different attire – the dress code may be determined by clinical sites and students will be required to follow clinic-specific dress codes (e.g., scrubs).
    • Nails, Nail Length and Nail Coloring:
      • Nails must be short so as not to cause discomfort to patients during exams and procedures.
      • You should not be able to visualize the nail edge when looking at the finger from the palmar surface.
      • Colored nail polish is inappropriate.
      • Acrylic and gel fingernails are prohibited in didactic and clinical settings.
    • Hair Length and Appearance:
      • The hair should not fall forward to touch a patient or contaminate a sterile field when examining or treating patients.
      • From a clinical perspective, long hair poses a safety risk. In certain settings, hair must be off the face and, if long, in a ponytail or similar configuration.
      • Facial hair, if present, should be neat, clean, and well-groomed.
      • Due to personal infectious disease risk, some facilities may not permit mustaches or beards.
    • Perfume and Cologne:
      • Given the potential patient and classmate sensitivities, perfume and cologne are to be avoided in all settings.
    • Tattoos:
      • Tattoos considered offensive, as determined by course instructor, patients and/or site supervisors, must be covered. Additionally, some clinical sites may require students to cover all tattoos on exposed surfaces. Student must follow the policies of clinical sites.
    • Covering the 4 ‘B’s
      • It is vital that, at all times - regardless of movement or positioning and regardless of the setting - chosen attire covers the 4 ‘B’s (i.e., belly, breasts, back, and buttocks).
    • Inappropriate Attire includes, but is not limited to:
      • Clothing inappropriate for the activity/setting
      • Clothing or lack of clothing that is, as determined by faculty, staff, and clinical preceptors to be too-revealing, too-tight, too-transparent
      • Baseball hats
      • Flip-flops or similar footwear
      • Open-toed shoes when in a clinical, lab, or research environment
      • Other attire that is deemed inappropriate by principal faculty and/or instructional faculty (e.g., preceptors).
  • In some clinical settings, scrubs are considered professional attire and appropriate in those settings. Each clinical facility differs in this regard and many require certain types or colors of scrubs to be worn. As with other policies, students must comply with Facility-specific policies in this regard.
Professionalism Exhibited Through Professional Conduct

The Physician Assistant student should show respect to all other individuals (e.g., faculty, preceptors, patients, peers) by:

  • Remaining attentive.
  • Arriving on time and not leaving early, thereby not disturbing class or clinic by entering after a presentation or patient encounter has begun or leaving before a presentation or patient encounter have been completed.
  • Observing all policies and procedures of the Emory & Henry College Academic Catalog, College Student Handbook, MPAS Program Student Handbook, MPAS Program Student Clinical Handbook.
  • Observing all policies and procedures specific to SCPE sites.
  • Not using personal electronic communication devices, including, but not limited to cell phones, tablets and laptops, for educational purposes only during class or clinical activities.
  • Demonstrating professional behavior at all times in classrooms, campus, or clinical settings.
  • Obtaining consent for utilizing audio and video equipment.
  • Seeking and following instructional input from faculty/preceptors.
Professionalism Exhibited Through Maintaining Patient Confidentiality and Privacy

The Physician Assistant student is expected and required to always adhere to health information privacy for all clinical encounters, including but not limited to, Clinical Skills and Interprofessional Clinical Simulation Lab activities, Mel Leaman Free Clinic (MLFC) activities, and all Supervised Clinical Practice Experience (SCPE) activities, in accordance to HIPAA guidelines. Maintaining confidentiality towards classmates, standardized patients, simulated patients, and ‘real-world’ patients is equally important and required at all times.

Social Media Guidelines/Guidelines of Use of Electronic Information

Social media are internet-based applications which support and promote the exchange of user-developed content. Electronic social mediums can take the form of websites, blogs or online journals. The principle aim of these guidelines are to identify your responsibilities to the MPAS Program in relation to social media and to help you represent yourself, the College, and the Program in a responsible and professional manner.

Everyone who participates in social media activities should understand and follow these simple but important best practices:

  • Use of College, School, Department, or Program names, logos/branding, and identification (e.g., as an E&H MPAS student) are prohibited unless the social media site has been officially approved by the College, School and Department.
  • You are responsible for the material you post on personal blogs or other social media. Be courteous, respectful, and thoughtful about how other Personnel may perceive or be affected by postings. Incomplete, inaccurate, inappropriate, threatening, harassing or poorly worded postings may be harmful to others. They may damage relationships, undermine the Program’s reputation, discourage teamwork, and negatively impact the program’s commitment to patient care, education, research, and community service.
  • Anything you post is highly likely to be permanently connected to you and your reputation through Internet and email archives. Future employers can often have access to this information and may use it to evaluate you. Take great care and be thoughtful before placing your identifiable comments in the public domain.
  • Protect Patient Privacy. Disclosing information about patients without written permission, including photographs or potentially identifiable information is strictly prohibited. These rules also apply to deceased patients and to posts in the secure sections of your social media pages that are accessible by approved friends only.
  • If you post content, photos or other media, you are acknowledging that you own or have the right to use these items and could be violating copyright or trademark materials.
  • Code of conduct, technical standards, and behavioral and professionalism policies apply to student use of social media. Violations of these codes, standards, and policies will result in consequences up to and including dismissal from the program.