Policies on Communication, Confidentiality, and Employment, Independent Clinical Training

Communication Policy

Email is the primary means of communication for the Gardner-Webb Department of Physician Assistant Studies outside of class time. All students are assigned a GWU email account at the time of admission to the program.

The GWU e-mail is considered the official University email and the only account that the PA Studies Program uses to communicate with students. Likewise, students should only use their GWU e-mail account for email correspondence with the program, which prevents identification problems related to outside email.

To maintain constant communication between the program and students, students must check their GWU e-mail account daily (including weekends).

Other forms of written communication with students, which do not replace GWU email, include Microsoft Teams for each cohort of students and announcements in Blackboard courses.

  • Faculty and staff will not respond to students who utilize outside email addresses.
  • Program faculty and staff use students’ GWU email as the primary means for distributing information.
  • The program is not responsible if a student has inaccurate or missing information due to failure to routinely check, read, and clear their GWU e-mail account.

Confidentiality Policy

Students must respect the confidentiality of fellow students and patients. PA students are restricted from discussing any fellow students or patients by name outside the academic or clinical environment.

Students should never discuss other students with preceptors.

All patient identifying data for academic presentations and assignments, including name, initials, date of birth, and the facility where the patient is seen, must be excluded.

Employment Policy

ARC-PA 5th ed Standards A3.04, A3.05, A3.15e

The Gardner-Webb University Department of Physician Assistant Studies policy on employment is listed below:

  • Physician assistant students are strictly prohibited from working for the PA Studies Program.
  • Physician assistant students are strictly prohibited from substituting as student workers for instructional or administrative support staff.
  • Physician assistant students are strongly discouraged from being employed while enrolled. Employment cannot be used to excuse absence from scheduled learning activities or to excuse poor performance/progression in the program.

Independent Clinical Training Policy

From the time PA students matriculate into the PA Program until they graduate from the program, they are regarded as PA students 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Therefore, students may not set up independent clinical training situations (direct patient contact or shadowing) without the written prior approval of the Director of Didactic Education or the Director of Clinical Education. Students may only see patients under approved clinical settings and with prior permission. Students are also cautioned against rendering medical services, except in an emergency, under any circumstances not covered by the above.