Background

Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) is committed to providing our students with an excellent education that is balanced with the need for learners to have sufficient time for self-directed learning and overall well-being. In keeping with Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) standard 8.8, WUSM is responsible for monitoring the amount of time medical students spend in required learning activities in the Gateway Curriculum. This monitoring includes the total number of hours medical students are required to spend in clinical and educational activities during clerkships, the latter being accounted for in WUSM’s Duty Hour Policy for Medical Students on Clerkships and Other Clinical Rotations. For the purposes of this policy, required learning activities include clinical duty hours, all scheduled didactic activities, required preparatory work for didactic activities, scheduled clinical skills exercises, required community engagement, required coaching sessions, and summative assessments during Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum.

Policies

Please see WUSM’s Duty Hour Policy for Medical Students on Clerkships and Other Clinical Rotations for policies and guidelines regarding the monitoring of student time on clinical courses within the legacy curriculum of WUSM.

All students will be excused from required learning activities during all official Washington University holidays. All students will also be excused to access health services as described in WUSM’s Medical Student Access to Healthcare Services Policy.

Time spent on all required learning activities will be accounted for in the learning management system of WUSM.

All students spend no more than 35 hours per week on all required learning activities, including required preparatory work for said learning activities, while enrolled in any of the nonclinical courses of Phase 1 of the Gateway Curriculum.

Students are to spend no more than 50 hours per week on all required learning activities during their enrollment in the Clinical Immersions of Phase 1, inclusive of clinical experiences, course-specific classroom-based activities, coaching and online work.

Student workload during required courses of the Gateway Curriculum will be monitored by the Office of Medical Student Education (OMSE) for each Phase 1 course through canvasing of the learning management system and through internal and external surveys of students. In the event that there are concerns regarding the adherence of a course to the WUSM Policy for Monitoring Student Time, data substantiating said concerns will be presented by OMSE to the appropriate course lead. If not corrected, information will be sent forth to the appropriate governance structure for evaluation, monitoring and change management. The Committee on Oversight of Medical Student Education and any relevant subcommittees will charge the appropriate individuals or offices with improvement plans as indicated.

Guidelines

The above restrictions on student workload represent the upper limits of time that students can spend on required learning activities. Course directors are also welcome to utilize less time per week, as appropriate.

All course directors are encouraged to proactively communicate to students the expectations for required preparatory time for all learning activities (including immersions). These expectations can be informed through the use of course workload estimators. To ensure that the time devoted to scheduled instructional activities is accurately reflected in course plans, course directors are encouraged to use best practices, applicable Academy of Educator workshops, and/or consultation with the Instructional Design Studio.

Course directors are strongly encouraged to be considerate of the periodic need for breaks during scheduled required learning activities.

The Washington University School of Medicine Policy for Monitoring Student Time was last approved by the Committee on the Oversight of Medical Student Education governing body on January 4, 2021. All substantive edits to this policy require approval by the Committee on the Oversight of Medical Student Education governing body.