The legal context for evaluating and dismissing medical students and residents

Acad Med. 1989 Nov;64(11):639-43. doi: 10.1097/00001888-198911000-00001.


Medical school faculty often cite the fear of litigation as a reason for their reluctance to offer candid evaluations of students' and residents' performances and to dismiss them when necessary. This article is written to reassure faculty that they have nothing to fear from the courts and that they should uphold high academic standards. Three legal issues of concern to faculty are addressed: What does fair and equitable treatment entail? What are the due process requirements for academic dismissals? Are negative performance evaluations libelous and defamatory? Recommendations are made to meet legal requirements and to promote academic excellence.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Clinical Competence / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Documentation
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Internship and Residency / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Personnel Management / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States