These policies are written to delineate specific areas that the school has identified as being important regarding professional conduct. The Academy’s primary concerns are with those forms of conduct deemed to be disruptive to the pursuit of training in an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect for the rights of the school’s community members and their patients. Every student, staff member and patient of the Academy has the right to expect that a safe, respectful and professional atmosphere will be maintained. Demonstration of professional conduct is an academic standard, and is evaluated from the first day onwards of your education at the Academy. Expectations for professional conduct are described below.

Professional Conduct as an Academic Issue

The Academy is committed to academic excellence. In addition to the knowledge and skills you acquire, you will also learn and develop a high standard of professional behavior. Professional behavior involves a strong commitment to personal honor, moral integrity, and mutual respect.

The following are some of the values you can expect to encounter and cultivate:

  • honoring the individual gifts of each member of our community
  • holding each other in the highest regard
  • grounding all of your actions in honesty and integrity
  • conducting yourself in a manner that fosters trust among peers, faculty, staff and the wider community
  • fostering individual responsibility for learning and well-being
  • consciously using your words, presence, and touch as methods of healing
  • cultivating deep respect, thoughtfulness, and compassion

Each student must demonstrate the maturity, emotional stability, and good judgment that will allow him or her to become a safe, effective, and independent practitioner. Additionally, certain behaviors are essential for safe and ethical clinical practice. We believe that professional behavior plays an important role in our ethical development as practitioners.

We assume responsibility for our own actions and are committed to personal growth into a professional role. Toward that end, the following are some, but not all, requisites for developing sound professional behavior:

  • Be willing to be a learner.
  • Ask for help when needed.
  • Listen receptively.
  • Be responsive versus reactive.
  • Be respectful.
  • Seek accuracy in stating facts, practices, conclusions and laws.
  • Offer only constructive feedback to faculty, staff and other students.
  • Examine and discuss questions of interest and freely express opinions without judging others.
  • Be open to receiving coaching.
  • Hold oneself accountable for one’s actions.
  • Develop rapport skills.
  • Develop the ability to bring forth the appropriate mood, emotion, or disposition.
  • Conscientiously use words, presence and touch as instruments to effect change.
  • Be in partnership with others.
  • Exhibit a professional demeanor.
  • Use appropriate opportunities to enhance faculty and staff understanding of students’ needs.
  • Use opportunities to enhance communication and critical thinking skills.

As an acupuncture student, your behavior reflects not only on you as an individual but also on all students, the Academy and acupuncture as a profession. We expect that you will conduct yourself professionally in and out of the classroom, and that you maintain a respectful and ethical manner in your relationships with others. A student who violates the regulations that affirm medical and professional ethics and state laws, or the practitioner/patient relationship will be asked to leave the program.

The Academy requires all students to adhere to high standards of integrity in their academic work. Material submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or cheating on examinations, is unacceptable, and will result in immediate disciplinary action including expulsion from the school.

The Academy seeks to offer a supportive place for learning and growing. It is our wish that each student should feel safe and supported. Behavior that is disruptive to classroom learning or clinic training, or violates the safety and mutual respect for the rights of others, should be reported to the academic dean. The issue will be addressed in a timely manner or referred to the appropriate person depending on whether it is a disciplinary, academic or interpersonal concern.

To advance through the programs offered at the Academy, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. Academic progress is monitored by quizzes, practical work, papers, projects, attendance and intersession homework assignments.

Attendance is mandatory in all classes. We understand that this expectation may differ from your previous educational experiences where absences could be “excused” for medical or family reasons. However, your presence is essential to making the intensive structure possible.

During intensive sessions students must be present for no less than 85% of class hours (Acupuncture program) and 75% of class hours (Herbal Studies program). Credit for any intensive session when two or more days are missed will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Factors to be weighed include: attendance history, class participation and academic standing. During the residential clinical year, students must be present for no less than 85% of all didactic and clinical training classes per clinic level (all programs). Failure to meet attendance guidelines per clinical level may result in a grade of “Incomplete” for that portion of the program. An “Incomplete” grade in any clinical level may mean waiting as much as a year to re-take that level.

Attendance requirements in all other courses such as western clinical sciences, adjunctive studies, practice management and national exam preparation, are specified in the course syllabi.

Students who miss instructional time in any program may be given make-up work assigned by the instructor in consultation with the academic dean. Such work may include additional reading, writing assignments, testing, or meetings with tutors/faculty members. Students are responsible for any additional costs associated with make-up requirements. Poor attendance is grounds for probation or dismissal from the program. Reinstatement shall be at the discretion of the Academy.

Please take care of yourself and others by staying home from school when a health condition might be contagious. If you are experiencing symptoms of a common cold or flu, repeated or ongoing coughing, repeated or ongoing sneezing or a sustained fever, please question whether coming to class is at all a health risk to those around you. Your classmates will appreciate you for your consideration.

Professional conduct includes adhering to schedules and appointments on time. Class hours are generally 9 am – 1 pm and 2 – 6 pm. Lunches are usually from 1 – 2 pm. This includes the last day of each session. Attendance is taken in the morning and afternoon. Class times may on occasion vary to fit the material being taught. A short break is provided every hour or so. Please try not to leave classroom lectures until a break is announced.

Students are expected to be in their seats or at their clinic stations at the scheduled start time. If you arrive late you will be marked “Tardy”. If you are late and the classroom door is closed, you may be asked to wait until the next break before you enter the classroom. Repeated “Tardy” marks are grounds for academic probation.

Students are expected to clean up after themselves and leave the school and clinic in good order and clean at the end of the day. The last person out of the building – administrative, classroom, and clinic – is responsible for:

  • checking to see that all doors are locked
  • turning down the air conditioning
  • turning off all lights and computers
  • turning on the alarm system

Students of the Academy are not permitted to practice acupuncture and herbs other than in a supervised clinical setting. This means diagnosing or treating a medical condition, advertising, or accepting payment for services without being licensed in the state of Florida. Any of these activities taking place outside of a supervised clinical setting can be cause for dismissal from the Academy. Needling without supervision at any time during your training is grounds for immediate expulsion from school.

Patient confidentiality is a serious matter and essential to our work at the Academy. A student should not discuss patient information to anyone outside of the classroom, clinic or school community without the written permission of that patient. To do so is considered unprofessional conduct. In order to protect patient confidentiality, do not include a patient’s name on any document that might be mailed to or from the school. Confidential information should not be discussed with anyone except on a professional need-to-know basis in order to further the delivery of patient care. Releasing confidential patient information, whether intentional or accidental, is in conflict with the professional guidelines of any medical or health care entity, including the Academy. Violations should and will lead to disciplinary action, suspension or even dismissal.

This is a risk management issue that should be and is taken extremely seriously by the health care profession. Any time there is confidential patient information abuse there is potential for a lawsuit against not only the Academy but also against the individual employee or student. Please read your HIPAA Self-Study packet carefully.