200.006 Ethical and Professional Conduct

Approved by the faculty, April 2012, revision approved June 5, 2015.


The purpose of this School of Pharmacy Policy and Procedure (SOP OP) is to establish guidelines and expectations with regard to student ethical and professional conduct.

Review Policy/Procedure

This SOP will be reviewed by September of every odd-numbered year (2011) by the Student Affairs Committee and approved by the Dean and the Executive Council.

200.006.001 – Introduction

The Policy on Ethical and Professional Conduct (referred to as the policy hereafter) for pharmacy students at Marshall University School of Pharmacy (MUSOP) is based upon the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists as adopted by the American Pharmacists Association as well as The Tenets of Professional Behavior which follow:

Code of Ethics for Pharmacists


Pharmacists are health professionals who assist individuals in making the best use of medications. This Code, prepared and supported by pharmacists, is intended to state publicly the principles that form the fundamental basis of the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists. These principles, based on moral obligations and virtues, are established to guide pharmacists in relationships with patients, health professionals, and society.

I. A pharmacist respects the covenantal relationship between the patient and pharmacist.

Considering the patient-pharmacist relationship as a covenant means that a pharmacist has moral obligations in response to the gift of trust received from society. In return for this gift, a pharmacist promises to help individuals achieve optimum benefit from their medications, to be committed to their welfare, and to maintain their trust.

II. A pharmacist promotes the good of every patient in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner.

A pharmacist places concern for the well-being of the patient at the center of professional practice. In doing so, a pharmacist considers needs stated by the patient as well as those defined by health science. A pharmacist is dedicated to protecting the dignity of the patient. With a caring attitude and a compassionate spirit, a pharmacist focuses on serving the patient in a private and confidential manner.

III. A pharmacist respects the autonomy and dignity of each patient.

A pharmacist promotes the right of self-determination and recognizes individual self-worth by encouraging patients to participate in decisions about their health. A pharmacist communicates with patients in terms that are understandable. In all cases, a pharmacist respects personal and cultural differences among patients.

IV. A pharmacist acts with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.

A pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth and to act with conviction of conscience. A pharmacist avoids discriminatory practices, behavior or work conditions that impair professional judgment, and actions that compromise dedication to the best interests of patients.

V. A pharmacist maintains professional competence.

A pharmacist has a duty to maintain knowledge and abilities as new medications, devices, and technologies become available and as health information advances.

VI. A pharmacist respects the values and abilities of colleagues and other health professionals.

When appropriate, a pharmacist asks for the consultation of colleagues or other health professionals or refers the patient. A pharmacist acknowledges that colleagues and other health professionals may differ in the beliefs and values they apply to the care of the patient.

VII. A pharmacist serves individual, community, and societal needs.

The primary obligation of a pharmacist is to individual patients. However, the obligations of a pharmacist may at times extend beyond the individual to the community and society. In these situations, the pharmacist recognizes the responsibilities that accompany these obligations and acts accordingly.

VIII. A pharmacist seeks justice in the distribution of health resources.

When health resources are allocated, a pharmacist is fair and equitable, balancing the needs of patients and society.

Adopted by the American Pharmacists Association membership, October 27, 1994.

200.006.002 – Purpose

The purpose of The Policy is to provide pharmacy students a guide in his/her relationships with other students, faculty, staff, heath care professionals, patients, and the public. As such, it is expected that all students will be law abiding citizens and uphold the honor of our profession.

The intent of MUSOP, in placing this policy into effect, is to give all manner of assistance to the student to remedy any deficiencies in professional conduct. MUSOP intends that appropriate feedback will guide the student in moving forward in the profession of pharmacy. Thus, students who have not demonstrated adequate professional and ethical behavior will be identified by a concerned faculty member, staff member, other students, or administrators.

200.006.003 – Tenets of Professional Behavior

1. Honesty/Integrity

2. Reliability/Responsibility

3. Respect for others

4. Compassion/Empathy

5. Self-Improvement

6. Self-Awareness/Knowledge of limitations

7. Communication/Collaboration

8. Altruism/Advocacy

EXAMPLES of unprofessional/unethical behavior include, but are not limited to:

• abuse of power in interactions with patients or colleagues

• bias and/or sexual harassment

• no respect for patient autonomy and/or confidentiality

• engaging in any facet of pharmacy practice prior to graduation that is not under the direct supervision of a licensed practitioner

• not attending required lectures/group sessions/examinations

• failure to respond to communications from faculty/administration

• not attending required patient-related activity

• falsifying applications, forms, or records

• knowingly producing false evidence against another or making charges in bad faith against another

• failure to meet requirements in place to progress in the curriculum such as receiving immunizations, obtaining intern license, passing background check, dressing inappropriately, etc

• cheating

• contributing to/engaging in any activity which disrupts/obstructs any type of class session

• plagiarism (submission of work that is not the individual student’s or taking credit for another’s work without appropriate references)

• submitting any assignment for credit more than once or altering an assignment after it has been evaluated in order to obtain a better grade

• altering or attempting to alter any assigned grade on any official school of pharmacy or University document

• unauthorized access or disclosure of information concerning faculty, staff, students, or patients that should be held in confidence

• illegal activity of any kind

• failure to report violations of the policy

200.006.004 – Commending Professionalism Policy

Students who have demonstrated exemplary professional or ethical behavior may be commended by faculty, staff, other student, preceptor, or administrator. The student may be recognized by a professional evaluation form (PEF) describing the professional act.

200.006.005 – Reporting/Records/Sanctions

Students who have not demonstrated adequate professional and ethical behavior will be identified by a concerned faculty member, staff member, other students, or administrators.

The following will then occur:

  1. The concerned party (person making original accusation) will complete and sign the Professional Evaluation Form (PEF). The PEF in the case of academic dishonesty must be filed with the Office of Academic Affairs within ten (10) working days of the accusation using the format proscribed for an “Academic Dishonesty Report Form” (per MUBOG Policy AA-12 Academic Dishonesty). A PEF for other forms of unprofessional or unethical behavior will include: 1) Student’s name; 2) Location and date of the incident; 3) Name of reporting individual; 4) Description of the event.
  2. The student and student’s faculty advisor will be notified of the PEF to discuss the PEF, and the student will submit a written response to the Office of Student Affairs within ten (10) working days that notification of the PEF is received. The completed PEF will be retained in the student file in the Student Affairs Office.
  3. The Associate Dean of Academic and Curricular Affairs will consult with the faculty advisor, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Chair of Student Affairs Committee, and other personnel if appropriate, to discuss the incident and determine potential sanctions or a remediation plan if necessary.
  4. If deemed necessary, the Student Hearing Subcommittee (SHC) of the Student Executive Council will be convened to investigate the PEF and, if needed, formulate appropriate sanctions or remediation plan. The SHC is comprised of 3 students (members selected by the Student Executive Council from academic years at or beyond the year of the student in question), student’s faculty advisor, and 1 faculty member at large (chosen by the faculty advisor from a list of 3 MUSOP faculty provided by the student in question).
  5. Upon the SHC’s support of the PEF, the Associate Dean of Academic and Curricular Affairs will meet with the student and student’s faculty advisor and review the sanctions or remediation plan within ten (10) working days after receipt of the student response. A copy of the decision will be provided to the student and a copy shall be placed in the student’s file in the Student Affairs Office within five (5) working days of the meeting. A statement confirming that a decision was made for the PEF will then be sent to the reporting individual.
  6. In the case of any remediation plan, consequences of failure to complete the plan successfully will be outlined within the remediation plan. The Associate Dean of Academic and Curricular Affairs will monitor the student’s progress in the remediation plan. Upon remediation, a letter will be presented to the student stating that the terms of remediation have been met and a copy placed in the student’s file.
  7. Should a student receive a second PEF, the above process will be repeated. The terms of the second remediation plan shall include a statement of the consequences should the terms of remediation not be met or if a third PEF is submitted on the student.
  8. The consequences of failing remediation for PEF 1, 2, or 3 may include, but are not limited to: repeating a portion of the curriculum, mandatory referral to Psychological and Counseling Services, probation, suspension, dismissal or other action as determined by the Student Hearing Subcommittee.
  9. Should the recommendation of the SHC be suspension or dismissal from the School, the student has the right of appeal to the Dean. Within five (5) business days of receipt of the Associate Dean of Academic and Curricular Affairs’ notification, the student may appeal the recommendation of the Student Hearing Subcommittee by submitting a written appeal to the Dean.
  10. Per MUBOG Policy AA-12 Section 7.2.3 to 7.2.5:

7.2.3 Should the student, faculty member, or other complainant be dissatisfied with the determination of the Academic Dean, the case may be appealed in writing within ten (10) days of the Dean’s written decision to the Budget and Academic Policy Committee, who shall refer the case to the University Academic Appeals Board for resolution.

7.2.4 Should the student, faculty member, or other complainant be dissatisfied with the determination of the Academic Appeals Board, then they may file an appeal with the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the written decision of the Board. The decision of the Provost/V.P. Academic Affairs shall be final.

7.2.5 Only individual allegations of academic dishonesty may be appealed. If a previous offense was not appealed within the time limit, or was appealed unsuccessfully then subsequent offenses will be counted as repeat offenses and additional sanctions will be levied by the Office of Academic Affairs as described under the section on “Sanctions.”