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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
MD Education

Medical Student Supervision and Level of Responsibility Policy

Medical students may not provide care in an unsupervised fashion. Supervisors must either hold a faculty appointment or be supervised in their teaching and assessment role by an individual who has a faculty appointment. This may include residents, fellows, and other licensed health professional faculty supervising an activity within their scope of expertise or practice.

Students may be supervised at one of two broad levels: 1) Direct observation or 2) Immediately available indirect supervision.

Medical student education is progressively graduated in both experience and responsibility with primary attention to the benefit and safety of the patient.  The level of responsibility delegated to a medical student should be appropriate to the student’s level of training, the nature of a patient’s condition, the complexity of care and the judgment of the supervisor.  The supervisor is responsible for oversight and delineation of duties and graded responsibilities for care provided by the medical team.  Students are responsible for being aware of their limitations, roles, and responsibilities and may not practice outside of that scope of service. Students who are asked to provide care outside of their scope of service should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, the school’s ombudsperson or their clerkship director if applicable.

This policy also applies to students on rural or global health rotations as outlined on the Institute for Global Health website

Related LCME Standard
9.3 Clinical Supervision of Medical Students

Last Updated: 1/28/2019