Medical Student Supervision and Teaching Policy

Medical Students (M.D.)

Policy ID Number: N/A
Policy Title: Medical Student Supervision and Teaching Policy
Classification: University
Approval Authority: Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
Responsible Entity: College of Medicine-Undergraduate Medical Education
Policy Owner: Clinical Sciences Planning and Evaluation Committee


I. Policy Statement

This policy outlines the responsibility and expectations for medical student supervising and teaching during clinical education activities.

II. Scope

This policy applies to students enrolled in the College of Medicine MD Degree program.

III. Approval Authority

The final governing committee which is responsible for approving the policy is the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The Clinical Sciences Planning and Evaluation Committee will periodically review the policy for updates.

IV. Purpose of This Policy

Medical students are learners and are not licensed to provide patient care. At all times the supervising attending physician retains medical and legal responsibility for the patient’s care and is ultimately responsible for the evaluation and management of the patient. While some of the day-to-day supervision of medical students may be delegated to house staff, the supervising attending physician retains full responsibility for the supervision of the medical students assigned to the clinical rotation.

While engaged in clinical rotations or clinical activities associated with prescribed course work, medical students should be incorporated into and accepted as an integral part of the team, permitted to participate in team care of the patient, and expected to demonstrate individual ownership of patient care responsibilities.

V. Who Should Be Knowledgeable about This Policy

College of Medicine Students
College of Medicine Residents, Staff, and Faculty

VI. The Policy

To facilitate the education of medical students, supervising attending physicians and/or resident physicians should do the following:

  • Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate responsibility and ownership for patient care responsibilities:
  • Take patient histories, perform complete and/or focused physical examinations and enter findings in the medical record of the patient with the approval of the patient's supervising attending physician and under the supervision of the attending physician or designated house staff. Students may write the patient’s H&P or daily note, enter orders, and coordinate care in a fashion commensurate with their training level. The findings entered in the medical record of the patient by the student may be utilized by licensed physicians with proper editing and attestation but cannot be used in lieu of any required medical staff and/or house staff documentation. Students must clearly sign all entries in the medical record, along with the designation that they are medical students. Student notes do not require signature by the supervising attending physician or designated house staff unless they are used for billing.
  • Be encouraged to write their own admission orders for education purposes even if the orders will not be entered as the official patient documentation.
  • Be assigned and directed to provide additional patient care services under the direct in-person supervision of the attending physician or designated house staff. In addition, specific approved procedures identified in course curricula may be performed by students under the appropriate level of supervision by the attending physician or authorized house staff. Documentation of supervision is required. In all such patient care contacts, the patient shall be made aware that the individual providing the care and/or performing the procedure is a student.
  • Be encouraged to review focused topics related to patients on the service and report information back to the team to demonstrate self-directed, clinical learning and application of knowledge to the care of patients.
  • Provide students with regular feedback, both positive and constructive. The clerkship or course director should be notified immediately if serious academic or professional gaps in student performance exist. Students should also be encouraged to perform self-assessment and report to the attending physician and resident identified areas for improvement along with a plan for improvement. Students should be encouraged to contact the attending and/or the clerkship or course director with problems or concerns in clinical, administrative, professional or educational matters. Students may also directly contact the Associate Dean for Curriculum-Clinical Sciences.
  • Set a model example of professionalism and collegiality, and demonstrate the attributes becoming of a professional (altruistic, dutiful, knowledgeable, and skillful) and those prescribed in the MUSC Code of Conduct (integrity, trustworthiness, respect, etc.) Individual courses/course directors will provide specific guidance to students to explain the student’s level of responsibility and the scope of approved activities and procedures expected or permitted on rotation. This information will be shared with all teaching faculty, residents and staff annually.

VII. Special situations


VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance

Any violations of this policy will trigger investigation and possible elimination of clinical sites or instructors that do not ensure appropriate levels of supervision and teaching for medical students.

IX. Related Information


X. Communication Plan

Medical students, faculty, fellows, and residents are notified of this policy through required annual online modules.

XI. Definitions


XII. Review Cycle

Reviewed every 2 years.

XIII. Approval History

Approval Authority Date Approved
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee June 15, 2012
CSPEC August 8, 2018
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee August 17, 2018

XIV. Approval Signature

  August 17, 2018
Donna Kern, MD Date
Title: Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, College of Medicine