Visiting Learner Policy

Policy ID Number: N/A
Policy Title: Visiting Learner Policy
Classification: College of Medicine
Approval Authority: MUSC COM EDAS Council
Responsible Entity: College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education
Policy Owner: MUSC COM EDAS Council


I. Policy Statement

The College of Medicine is responsible for enacting policies that ensure sufficient clinical education resources, including preceptor teaching time, patient census and case mix, and learning space, for students enrolled in the MD Degree. In addition, the college works collaboratively to accommodate learners from other MUSC health professions programs when ample resources are available. In accordance with LCME accreditation standards (Element 5.4, 5.5, 5.10), the College of Medicine monitors and restricts the number of learners who may be accepted for learning opportunities in the clinical space.

II. Scope

This policy provides guidance to MUSC College of Medicine faculty and administrators who may receive requests from students, programs, or entities outside of the MUSC College of Medicine to accept learners for shadowing, research, or clinical rotation experiences. This policy addresses high school and undergraduate observers, visiting US medical students, visiting international medical students, visiting students from other health professions, and visiting faculty.

III. Approval Authority

This policy is revised and approved by the MUSC College of Medicine EDAS Council.

IV. Purpose of This Policy

This policy is intended to ensure sufficient clinical learning resources for students in the MD degree program, and to ensure that where sufficient resources exist, those opportunities are protected for students enrolled in degree programs at the Medical University of South Carolina.

V. Who Should Be Knowledgeable about This Policy

MUSC College of Medicine Faculty, Fellows, Residents, Students, and Educators

VI. The Policy

High School and Undergraduate Student Observers

Students who wish to shadow in the hospital or ambulatory setting are allowed to rotate for a maximum of three days total under the close supervision of a physician (MD). Students are not allowed to participate in procedures or have any direct patient contact. All requests for shadowing must be approved by the sponsoring department and/or physician and must follow all credentialing processes set forth by Hospital Human Resources. The College of Medicine Dean’s Office is not responsible for the credentialing of these students.

Students who wish to observe for a period longer than three days will not be considered unless an established agreement exists between the College of Medicine and the student’s home institution or they are participating in an established College of Medicine program. All agreements must be approved by the Associate Dean for Curriculum, Clinical Sciences.

In any case, students are not permitted to observe in environments where clinical education resources and space are more constrained (i.e. Intensive Care Units, the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and in the operating rooms).

The Senior Associate Dean for Research and the Associate Provost for Research must approve all students who wish to participate in or observe basic science or clinical research.

Visiting US Medical Students:

All applications from visiting students must be submitted using the AAMC’s Visiting Student Learning Opportunities Application Service (V-SLO). Application and other fees will apply. All applications are reviewed by the department to which the student applies. Clinical departments are encouraged to accept visiting U.S. medical students ONLY with the clear understanding that having additional students on wards or in clinic, in the academic setting, and in teaching activities should not impede or adversely affect the training of MUSC medical students.

Visiting students must meet all of the following criteria:

• Must be enrolled full time in medical school with LCME or COCA accreditation
• Must have successfully completed the basic core clerkships (Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine) and be in at least the (equivalent of) 4th year of training
• May only apply for established electives and externships (i.e., cannot have separately designed clinical rotations or experiences).

The COM Dean’s Office will consult with individual departments to determine when and how many medical students may be accepted for electives. Departments should be mindful of the effect of additional learners in clinical rotations and should adjust/decrease the number of visiting students they accept for rotations accordingly. All approvals are at the discretion of the department and College of Medicine Dean’s Office.

Medical students from MUSC may also apply to other LCME-accredited medical schools and teaching hospitals for away rotations using V-SLO.

The contact for all visiting medical student rotations is the Director of Clinical Curriculum and Visiting Students.

Visiting Students from Other Health Professions:

MUSC students from other health professions will only be assigned to work with MD preceptors if there is capacity and this does not diminish the quality of the precepting and patient care experience for students enrolled in the MD degree program. MUSC students have priority for clinical education space in our health system and therefore non-MUSC students from other health professions will NOT be assigned to work with MD preceptors.

Visiting International Medical Students:

MUSC College of Medicine does not accept visiting international students for clinical rotations.

Visiting Faculty

All visiting faculty members (US and international) requesting a clinical experience must be cleared through the respective department in the College of Medicine. Departments who invite faculty to visit and attend clinic for the purpose of educating residents, teaching faculty a new procedure, etc. do not require Dean’s Office approval. These invitations are made solely at the discretion of the Chair. The sponsoring department is responsible for following the appropriate hospital policies and procedures for obtaining approval for the visiting faculty member to have access to clinical settings.

If the visiting faculty member wishes to participate as a “learner” on an existing clinical rotation, Dean’s Office approval will be required and prorated tuition may apply.

The Senior Associate Dean for Research and the Associate Provost for Research must approve all visiting faculty who wish to participate in or observe basic science or clinical research.

VII. Special situations


VIII. Sanctions for Non-compliance

In cases where the policy is violated, the College of Medicine Dean’s Office will contact the accepting department and, if applicable the faculty member, to educate them about the policy. The chair of the department will receive a letter regarding the non-compliance, and training will be mandated for the department education coordinator to ensure that a breach does not recur. A second violation will be reported to the Dean who will contact the chair of the department to determine corrective action.

IX. Related Information


X. Communication Plan

This policy will be posted on the MUSC education policy website for access by faculty, students, and potential visiting students. The policy is shared annually with department coordinators and as part of new student coordinator training within the College of Medicine. The policy is included in the annual policy review computer module that is required of all College of Medicine faculty.

XI. Definitions


XII. Review Cycle

The policy will be reviewed every two years by the EDAS Council.

XIII. Approval History

List original approval date and subsequent review dates

Approval Authority Date Approved
Undergraduate Curriculum Committee 2012
EDAS June 6, 2018

XIV. Approval Signature

June 6, 2018
Donna Kern, MD (Signature) Date
Title: Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, Chair EDAS Council