7.3 Student Access to Anticipated Healthcare Policy

Purpose and Scope

The University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) supports students’ access to anticipated healthcare. This policy provides guidance for students, staff, and faculty on managing student access to anticipated healthcare in the clinical phases.

Policy Statement

Students must be given the opportunity to attend anticipated healthcare appointments (such as medical, mental health, and dental appointments) including those scheduled during working hours.

As professional learners and physicians-in-training, students are expected to balance their personal health and learning. Students are expected to seek necessary health care to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Students are also expected to attend educational activities, achieve learning objectives, and gain experience in the clinical learning environment.

Students are allowed excused time away for anticipated healthcare needs:

  • Clerkship rotations less than or equal to six weeks (≤ 6 weeks): Up to one (1) day of excused time away (see definition below).
  • Clerkship rotations greater than six weeks (> 6 weeks): up to two (2) days of excused time away.

Anticipated healthcare absences are not permitted during orientation, the final examination, or other required elements of the course or clerkship.

If additional time is needed for chronic health issues and/or appointments, students should contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS) to pursue possible accommodations.

At the discretion of the Clerkship Director and on a case-by-case basis, make-up activities may be required to achieve clerkship learning objectives.

Students may be allowed additional, excused time away for non-healthcare-related, anticipated absences (see the Attendance & Absentee Policy).


One day of excused time away: An absence for anticipated healthcare requiring more than 3 hours of continuous time away. 
: Timely presence in and attention to assigned activity (may be monitored, recorded, and/or assessed for required activities).
Absence: Non-attendance for an assigned activity.
Emergent healthcare: Health services for an unanticipated and/or emergency injury or illness (COVID-19, etc.).
Anticipated healthcare: Diagnostic, preventative, and therapeutic health services (dental visits, physical therapy, counseling and psychological services, ongoing care for chronic illness, etc.)
Anticipated absence: A planned and pre-approved absence:

  • Planned healthcare appointment
  • Academic or personal event

Unanticipated absence: An unplanned absence for which pre-approval was not possible:

  • Emergent healthcare/illness
  • Personal or family emergency
  • Inclement weather

Procedures and Guidelines

Anticipated Healthcare Absences
Notification Expectations: Anticipated healthcare appointments are a key component to maintaining wellness and fitness for duty. Students should make every effort to select an appointment time that minimizes time away from required activities, if available. Students are not required to state the reason for the healthcare appointment, only provide the necessary time required to complete the appointment.

  • For anticipated healthcare absences greater than three hours (> 3 hours), the student must submit an absence request to the appropriate Clerkship Administrator at least two weeks in advance.
  • For anticipated healthcare absences less than three hours (< 3 hours), students must work directly with their clinical site team (Site Director and/or the Attending/Resident in charge) to plan for the absence and determine if make-up activities are required.

Unanticipated Absences
See the Attendance & Absentee Policy for unanticipated and/or emergent healthcare absences.

Related Policies

Academic Requirements Policy
Attendance & Absentee Policy
Exam Postponement Policy
Clerkship Scheduling Policy
Student Work Hours Policy
Academic Grading Policy
UW Religious Accommodations Policy

Related Student Information & Resources

Department Clerkship Contacts
Disability Resources for Students (DRS)


Effective: Current
Last updated: March 23, 2023
Policy Contact: UW School of Medicine, Curriculum Office, somgov@uw.edu; Education Quality Improvement Office, eqi@uw.edu