Clerkship Policies

Attendance Policy

General Absentee Policy:

  1. It is in the student's best interest to be present for all days during clerkships. Please try to anticipate personal events and fit them into breaks or elective time off.
  2. Time is too short during two-week clerkships to allow any anticipated time off.
  3. Absences should not be planned for orientation, final examination, or other required elements of the clerskhip.
  4. Students needing any time off need to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least six weeks prior to the start of the clerkship for approval. Not all requests will be approved; requests receieved within six weeks of the start of the clerkship will be denied.
  5. Students absent without permission may receive a Fail grade and may be required to repeat the clerkship. In additionl, students may also receive an unacceptable professionalism grade.

Anticipated Absences

  1. Personal Events
    Personal events including weddings, graduations, presenting papers at conferences and receiving awards. If more than two days off are needed duirng a four or six week clerkship, the clerkship should be rescheduled.
  2. Vacations
    There are no vacation days during clerkships except for Match day. Please schedule vacations during school breaks or time off.
  3. National or Religious Holidays
    As a member of a health care team during clerkships there is no guaranteed time off for University of Washington holidays, traditional observences, or major days of religious significance, just as there won't be when you are a practicing physician. Students are expected to follow the holiday practice of the clinic/hospital/site at which they are rotating. Clinical responsibilities such as night call and rounding take precedence over holiday schedules. to plan ahead for national holidays you may which to call the site in advance to inquire.
    The UW SOM clerkship commitee encourages faculty and students to work together to accommodate students' scheduling constraints in observing their central religious and cultural practices. Similar to when you are in practice, you must take responsibility and plan ahead. If you have religious holidays that require you to miss or modify work consult with the Clerkship Director well in advance to see what accommodations can and cannot be made.
  4. Residency Interviews
    Students should schedule time off for residency interviews. If interviews are offered when students are already scheduled for clerkships in the fourth year, students should work directly with the Clerkship Director/Administrator regarding absences for residency interviews. 
  5. Match Day
    All graduating students will be allowed to attend Match Day celebration with no clerkship responsibility starting at 8am on Match Day until the next morning (variable start time depending on the clerkship). For students doing WWAMI clerkships, additional travel time the day before the celebration may also be needed.

Unanticipated Absences

  1. Unanticipated Illness or Personal Emergency
    Students missing ANY number of days must speak with the site director as well as the attending or resident in charge prior to the start of the shift. It is not acceptable to leave only a phone call or email message or to contact only administrative staff. Students should receive confirmation (direct conversation, return email or phone call) from the site director and/or the attending/resident in charge indicating the team is aware of the student's absence. 
    Students missing THREE OR MORE days must also contact the Clerkship Director who will determine if make-up time is needed for unanticipated absences or if the entire clerkship needs to be rescheduled.
    Grades may be delayed until the time is made up.
    If a clerkship exam must be postponed, the student should contact the Clerkship Director and the Clerkship Administrator to determine if the exam should be rescheduled as soon as possible or delayed until the next time the exam is given. Progress in other clerkships may be interrupted until the examination is taken depending on the situation surrounding the delay.
  2. Inclement Weather
    The incliment weather policy for clerkships matches the policy for holidays. If your team is working in the hospital or the clinic is open, you are expected to show up. If you are unable to access the hospital/clinic due to hazardous travel you must notify your team as described above.

    If you are unable to take your exam due to hazardous travel you need to contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as you know you will be unable to make it to your exam site. 

Switching Clerkship Sites

Per the UWSOM Student Handbook, the following policy applies to students interested in switching clerkship rotations (pg 84):

Third Year Required Clerkships
Once the third year clinical schedules are published, students will have a two-week window to review their
assigned clerkship sites and timeframes. During that two-week review period, students have the
opportunity to "swap/trade" with other students.

"Swap/Trade" Rules
Students who wish to attempt a "swap/trade" of either site or timeframe or both will be required to find
another student willing to "swap/trade" via student-initiated communication. Agreeable parties are
required to set-up an appointment with the SOM Registrar to review, approve, and facilitate the schedule
change. Many factors are taken into consideration prior to approving a "swap/trade" and include, but are
not limited to, schedule and travel coordination, housing availability, and academic standing.

Once clinical schedules are finalized (two weeks after initial publication) students may not drop, add, or
change their required clerkships for the remainder of the year. Approval of any schedule changes due to
extenuating circumstances must be approved by the Associate Dean for Curriculum. Students who feel
they have extenuating circumstances requiring a schedule change after the finalization of clinical
schedules should contact the School of Medicine's Registrar. The Registrar and the Assistant to the
Associate Dean for Curriculum will arrange for the student to meet with the Associate Dean for

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will not approve any switch during the academic year, unless it is proposed by Dr. Mendiratta (i.e. when there is an open spot in WWAMI we will offer it to any student scheduled in the Seattle-area during that time frame). Please do NOT contact our clerkship site directors to propose a swap. Any students wishing to change clerkship sites must have this approved by the School of Medicine's Registrar. 

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure/Needleprick

For current information regarding what to do for a needleprick, or if you are exposed to a bloodborne pathogen during your clerkship experience, visit

Travel For Clerkships

Please visit the SOM Student Travel website for information regarding travel policies while away on rotations.


For more information regarding clerkship policies, please read the Student Handbook.