Professionalism and Appropriate Behavior


Your admission into the College of Pharmacy is an important step in your life’s journey to your individual and professional development. The years spent in the professional doctoral program are intended to help you develop into a caring, dedicated professional who will bring honor to oneself, one’s family, the College, the University, the profession of pharmacy, and those whom you will serve with your knowledge and skills. But to be professional in one’s behavior and orientation is a constant challenge and your behavior in future years within the practice of pharmacy will be largely shaped by your experience in the College of Pharmacy . Indeed, your faculty are your role models and play a central function in the development of your professionalism and it is expected that their behavior will mirror appropriate professional behavior.

The importance of professional behavior cannot be emphasized enough. To prevent misconceptions or unfavorable attitudes about what is expected of the doctoral pharmacy student, a subcommittee of the College’s ad hoc Academic Integrity Committee has outlined some key issues to guide you while you are a student in the College and throughout your future life.

Curricular Issues

The Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum is intended to provide you with basic knowledge and skills to enter the practice of pharmacy. During these formative years, issues may arise that affect you on an individual basis or as a member of your class. When there is an individual circumstance (e.g., personal illness, a question of academic performance), you are encouraged to meet with the course coordinator and appropriate faculty member(s) involved in your instruction as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to discuss issues of personal importance with your academic advisor, the Office of Student Affairs, and/or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. If they are unable to help you, they should know where in the University you can be provided appropriate assistance. In particular, it is important that issues of academic difficulty are resolved as early as possible.

In those instances of a death in the family or other significant personal or family situation, please contact the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible. The Office will then send out a notice to all coordinators of the courses in which you are enrolled.

For those issues that concern your entire class (i.e., scheduling of examinations, course handouts), a process has been designed to facilitate open discussion among faculty team leaders. ________________________________________________________________________

1 Adapted from the University of Maryland Student Government Association Professionalism and Appropriate Behavior, August 25, 1999 (Revised draft 11/19/01)

Course coordinators, participating faculty, and students. The first step is to work with an elected student class representative who can work directly with the team leader, course coordinator(s) and/or participating faculty. Class representatives are elected by their fellow students and are responsible for establishing an open communication link between faculty members and students regarding any curricular concerns. Issues not resolved at this level should be directed to the student class president. He/she may wish to meet with other student class officersto discuss options before meeting with the faculty team leader, course coordinator, or involved faculty. Assuming the matter is a curricular issue, if the concern is not handled at this level, it should be brought to the attention of the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) through the second professional year and third professional year student members on this Committee.

The attached diagram demonstrates the pathways available for the student to follow on issues of importance that need remediation and/or clarification.

Academic Integrity

The College expects you to embrace academic integrity and live its tenets as you progress through your professional education. The ad hoc Academic Integrity Committee appointed by the dean in the Spring Semester, 2003, has outlined the following expectations of students with respect to academic integrity. These will be discussed with each entering class during College Orientation Week.

I. Civility

A. Respect for Colleagues, Faculty and Staff

The College will not tolerate incivility towards any member of the College’s or campus community. A healthy academic environment is constituted on mutual respect between and among the students and its administrative officers, faculty and staff. Any verbal, written or e-mail remarks that are found to violate University policy will be dealt with through informal and formal disciplinary procedures. Each student is encouraged in the strongest terms to read the policies regarding appropriate use of e-mail and communication via the internet especially as found on the UIC Webpage, i.e., www.uic.edu, under Computing. In the event, you perceive faculty actions towards you or other students to be disrespectful; you should use a similar approach to resolving these issues as outlined above under Curricular Issues.

B.Classroom Etiquette

Professional behavior in the classroom begins with demonstrating a respect for the course coordinator, instructors, and fellow students involved in the course. There are several ways you demonstrate this respect. For example, p unctuality is an important tenet of being a professional. Thus, you should make every attempt to be in your seat when the instruction begins. True, being a commuter campus, there will be days when inclement weather might make this impossible or an unforeseen at-home circumstance occurs. However, if you must arrive late, please enter discreetly with minimum disturbance to your instructor and fellow students.

It is also disrespectful to leave the class before the instruction is completed. If it is unavoidable and necessary, it is important to share this with your instructor beforehand. Our expectation is that you should remain seated for the entire presentation. Other potential distractions (e.g., cell phones, pagers, PDAs, laptops) should be turned off during classes, recitations, and laboratory sessions. Sleeping in class or participating in other distracting behavior (e.g., reading a newspaper) is also very distracting and disrespectful to your peers and the faculty.

Undoubtedly, nothing is more disruptive in the classroom setting than conversation during the presentation and/or discussion of material. No matter what the volume of the conversation, it can be extremely disrespectful and distracting to the instructor and fellow classmates. Therefore, there should be no conversation whatsoever during lecture presentations or discussions in which the student is not directly involved. If for some reason a colleague of yours is not being courteous, you may want to handle it on a personal level. However, if this individual refuses to respect classroom etiquette guidelines, contact one of your class officers so that the issue can be addressed. Waiting until the breaks between classes to converse with colleagues is the accepted way to discuss issues.

Presentations should be forums for discussion and/or questions if the presenter’s time allows. Therefore, your colleagues’ questions and/or comments should be respected. Material that is understandable to you might not be so to your classmates. A simple rule is to show respect for your classmates as you would want them to demonstrate to you and allow them to express concerns and/or questions. At the same time, no one should monopolize the presenter’s time with questions that may not be relevant to the topic being discussed. You are welcome to approach the presenter after the presentation to ask these questions.

If as a student, you have special needs that you would like to have considered to facilitate your learning experience, please make these known to the course coordinator at the beginning of the semester. Although the University is not able to meet everyone’s special needs, the goal of the faculty is to guide your student learning and to create an environment conducive to that end. If you believe you have a disability, you should contact the Office of Disability Services for information on requesting accommodations for that disability.

C. Eating/Drinking in Lecture Halls or Classrooms

Drinking (e.g., water, coffee, soft drinks) in the lecture halls or classrooms is permissible at the discretion of the professor. Eating, however, is not allowed in the lecture halls or classrooms. You should remove all materials that you brought with you to class and dispose of them in appropriate trash containers found in the hallway and some classrooms. Please leave classrooms and laboratories as you expect to find them, neat and orderly.

D.Taking Examinations

You should minimize the number of items carried into examinations. All items will be placed underneath the student’s seat out of view, off to the side of the room against the wall, at the front of the classroom, or as directed by the faculty member in charge of the examination. In those instances where alternate seating is used for examinations, personal items are not to be placed in adjacent empty seats. All students must arrive on time. If you arrive late, you may not be able to take the examination and/or delay the instructor’s ability to get the examination disseminated. Individual faculty members will inform you of other expectations prior to the administration of their examinations. When taking closed-book, open-book or take-home exams or assignments, you must complete your own work as outlined in the school’s Honor Code. If not, you will be subject to strict disciplinary action.

In the event, you are assigned to a specific seat for the examination, you are expected to honor that assignment and not take another seat.

Experiential Learning Etiquette

While participating in any experiential activity (e.g., early experience, clerkship rotation) during your years of study in the College, professional behavior is expected from UIC-COP students. You are expected to dress in appropriate attire while at any experiential learning site. Your white clinical lab coat should also be worn along with your nametag. Your coat should be clean and neat looking. Professional attire will be followed unless your preceptor clearly rules out the necessity of such attire while on rotation.

Professional behavior includes treating your preceptor and employees at the rotation site with respect while upholding patient confidentiality, dignity, and integrity and following all the HIPAA guidelines for that site. Remember that you represent yourself, your College, and your University in all that you will do at the site. Prior to the start of your rotation, you should contact your preceptor as stipulated in course materials. This will ensure that you are able to contact the preceptor/site and determine where, when, what to bring, and how to prepare before you arrive on your first day at the site. At the conclusion of the rotation, it is recommended that you forward a thank you note to the preceptor. This is consistent with professional behavior.

You should remember that these experiential rotations are unique learning experiences and have been established through hard work and communication by the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Office of Experiential Programs. Even though you may believe that there is nothing to be gained at some sites, “seize the moment,” and learn something. There will always be learning experiences, clinical and non-clinical, that will be helpful to you somewhere in your future career. Please remove from your mind the notion that “I know everything there is to know about this type of practice” or “I am not interested in a career in this area.” Many students have had their “eyes opened,” horizons expanded, and career choices altered based on their experiential learning rotations.

Lastly, every aspect of professionalism cannot be described in this document. Nor should there be an attempt to do so. Thus, what follows are the basic characteristics of professional behaviors. Please review them and have them readily retrievable. It is important for you, the student, to review these periodically and assess your development of them. These tenets are as follows:

Characteristics of Professionalism.

A professional is an individual who:  

1. Acts in accord with professional code of ethics

2. Demonstrates knowledge and skills of a profession

3. Commits to self improvement of skills and knowledge

4. Willingly accepts responsibility and is available and punctual

5. Follows through on assignments and is accountable for his/her work

6. Demonstrates respectful, ethical, and culturally sensitive behavior

7. Is considerate of others; puts others’ interests first; is service minded

8. Demonstrates leadership

9. Demonstrates tactfulness and diplomacy

10. Demonstrates creativity and innovation

11. Accepts and learns from constructive criticism

12. Demonstrates personal hygiene and wears appropriate attire

13. Demonstrates pride in the profession


Clearly, some of these topics may not mean much to you at the present time and this document may not have included all aspects of appropriate behavior. Your biggest challenge right now might appear to succeed in the professional curriculum. However, it is also important to develop a professional orientation that will serve as a basis for your career in pharmacy and in life. It is important to remind yourself continually of the College’s standards for appropriate conduct and display of professionalism and develop your own.