Clinical Year Expenses Policy

The GWU PA student is responsible for various expenses that may arise during the clinical year, and an overview can be found here.

Clinical Year Attendance Policy

Attendance at all assigned SCPEs is an aspect of professional responsibility and personal dependability.  Supervised clinical practice experience days, callback days, and Summative Assessment attendance are essential to student success and are mandatory for all GWU PA students.  While on SCPEs, the student functions as part of a healthcare team and must frequently prioritize the needs of the team and patients ahead of personal interests.


During the clinical phase, all GWU PA students are expected to attend every day of their SCPE and follow the schedule assigned by their preceptor.  However, absences or tardiness due to unexpected medical or personal issues are unavoidable.  Therefore, two (2) absences are allowed per semester.  Every absence must be reported to the clinical team no less than within two (2) business days by completing a Clinical Year Absence Reporting Form (link is located in Blackboard)..  However, should circumstances arise that require a clinical PA student to miss a scheduled SCPE day unexpectedly, the student must immediately notify the SCPE preceptor and email the clinical team at [email protected].  Failure to report an absence within two business days by submitting the Absence Reporting Form may result in a referral to APC for consideration of a professionalism violation.

  • as designated by the DCE and ADCE. 
  • A clinical PA student who exceeds six (6) days of absences within the clinical year will need to make up the missed time designated by the DCE (or ADCE).

Should the student be required to make up time due to absence(s), this time may be scheduled during the remainder of the specific SCPE (if allowed by the preceptor) or during designated vacation or remediation periods reserved within the clinical year. The site/preceptor to whom a student is assigned for missed SCPE makeup will be determined by the DCE and ADCE and may not be with the initially assigned preceptor/site. 

Student absences may result in significant progression delays within the PA program, hindered course sequencing, and delayed graduation.

Important Points to Remember:

  • Lack of reliable transportation is not an acceptable reason for missing an SCPE.
  • GWU PA students are not permitted to take “vacations” during the clinical year.
  • University holidays will not always apply in the clinical year.
  • Preceptors are not obligated or expected to give the student days off for study.

Tardiness/Leaving SCPE Early

Promptness is a professional trait expected of the PA student and healthcare practitioners in general. Therefore, GWU PA clinical students must arrive at the SCPE site on time, preferably 5-10 minutes early.  GWU PA students must not arrive late to the SCPE or leave early without the preceptor’s permission.

Travel for Callback Days

  • The student must remain at the clinical site for the entire day before the scheduled CBD unless the student is more than 200 miles from campus.
  • A PA student completing a rotation within 200 miles of campus is required to return to the GWU campus for the EORTM exam and CBD activities.  Reasons include continuity of technology, troubleshooting, and proctoring.
  • A PA student may request to take the EORTM exam and complete CBD activities virtually by completing the Clinical Year Absence Reporting Form (link located in Blackboard). Not all requests for virtual attendance may be accommodated, but consideration of the request will be based on whether CBD activities require in-person attendance.
  • The student who is assigned to a SCPE over 200 miles away from GWU campus may:
    • Must submit a Clinical Year Absence Reporting Form.
    • May use only one (1) day, the day before the callback day, for travel.
    • A travel day will not be granted if the CBD is virtual.

SCPE Schedule Expectations

SCPE schedules will differ based on each assignment but are expected to average approximately 40 hours per week on-site in patient-related care. Some SCPEs may involve slightly shorter (no less than 35 hours per week) or longer hours (no more than 80 hours per week).  Therefore, the student’s SCPE schedule will be determined by the preceptor (or designee).  The PA student is expected to mirror the preceptor’s schedule.  Specific hours/shifts may vary, and preceptor expectations may include on-call responsibilities, evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays (e.g., surgery, emergency medicine, etc.).  Students are strongly encouraged to remain flexible – the best clinical experiences may come at the least convenient times.

GWU PA students must adhere to the SCPE schedule and complete all assignments provided by the preceptor and program. Should the preceptor’s schedule not allow the student to meet the recommended hours, the student must inquire about additional clinical opportunities within the clinical site.   If other options are not available, the student is required to notify the clinical team of any potential deficiencies as soon as possible via email notification to [email protected].

Gardner-Webb Department of PA Studies abides by the American College for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) – Clinical Experience and Education and Work Hours.

By Federal law, here are the regulations regarding duty hours of any/all students in the hospital

setting (residents, interns, medical students, and PA students):

  • Maximum 80 hours/week.
  • Clinical work done from home must be counted toward the 80-hour weekly maximum.
  • Not more than every 3rd day on-call.
  • Clinical work periods for all residents (PA students) must not exceed 24 hours of continuous, scheduled clinical assignments.
  • Residents (PA students) who have appropriately handed off patients following the conclusion of scheduled work periods have the flexibility to voluntarily remain at work in unusual circumstances if, in their judgment, those circumstances benefit patient care or education. Such additional time must be counted toward the 80-hour limit.
  • All residents (PA students) must have at least 14 hours free of clinical work after 24 hours of clinical assignments. Physicians (and PAs) have a responsibility to return to work rested and thus are expected to use time away from work to get adequate rest. In support of this goal, residents are encouraged to prioritize sleep over other discretionary activities. Additional requirements regarding time off between work periods have been modified to support resident (PA) education and patient safety by permitting programs increased flexibility to develop schedules that work best at the local level.

Inclement Weather

The Inclement Weather Policy is found in the GWU Department of Physician Assistant Studies Student Handbook and Policy Manual. However, SCPE sites may be a considerable geographic distance from campus, with dramatically different weather conditions. Therefore, when inclement weather is imminent in the vicinity of an assigned SCPE site, the student should exercise reasonable judgment when traveling. If the student’s assigned SCPE site is closed or the conditions are unsafe for travel, the student must notify [email protected] of the situation.

If GWU is closed due to inclement weather, but the SCPE site is not expected to be affected by inclement weather, the student MUST attend SCPE as scheduled.

On-Campus activities, including Callback Days, Capstone,  and Summative, may also be affected by inclement weather. In the event of inclement weather, the student should call 1.877.GWU.SNOW (1.877.498.7669) or check GWU’s main website,, for information regarding postponement or cancellation of campus activities before traveling. For scheduled campus activities, the PA program abides by closings and announcements made by GWU.

If the university is open and program activities are being held, the student should not travel under unsafe conditions or take unnecessary risks during inclement weather.

Notification must be made to [email protected] if the student cannot attend scheduled activities due to weather or another hazard, and a Time Off Request must be submitted.