COM Student Handbook 

Student Travel

Pending availability of funds and advance approval of the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the College or other organizations will support travel for students in good academic standing as follows:

    1. AAMC Organization of Student Representatives (OSR)

      Sophomore Member:
      The sophomore may attend the Regional Spring Meeting after finishing his/her sophomore year. The previous fall meeting may be attended when financially feasible and approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

      Junior Member:
      The junior may attend both the fall National and Spring Regional Meetings.

      Senior Member:
      The senior may attend the fall National Meeting, the last time to serve as a voting member. If he/she holds a national or regional elected office, the senior should plan to attend both the fall and spring Meetings. The spring Regional Meeting may be attended when financially feasible and approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

    2. AMA – Medical Student Section
      Travel and expenses for one or two students to attend each of two meetings (Annual Meeting in June and Interim Meeting in December) will be paid by the College (1/2 of total) and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (1/2 of total).

    3. American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
      If the USA branch can demonstrate that regular meetings have been held in which there was participation by members of each class and the faculty sponsor(s), then the College may support the travel of a representative to the fall Annual Meeting.

    4. Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
      The College may pay travel, hotel, and registration expenses for one student to attend the SNMA Region III Annual Meeting. The student will be recommended by the USA SNMA and by the Assistant Dean of Educational Enrichment. Additional students may be supported if funds allow.


Vacation Time

Preclinical Students:

Classes are not scheduled on official University holidays. Spring break may or may not coincide with spring vacation for the rest of the University.

Junior Students:

In addition to Spring and Christmas vacations, junior students receive the same official holidays given   to   USA faculty   and   staff   (Martin   Luther   King   Day, Mardi   Gras, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving holidays). The students’ holiday begins at the end of their clinical responsibilities on the day prior to the official holiday. Students return at the usual reporting time on the day following the holiday. Occasionally, additional holidays are approved and are noted on the USACOM Academic calendar.

Senior Students:

Time off on holidays is at the discretion of the supervisor of the elective, or may be delegated to the responsible Resident on the service. The student is expected to assume in many respects the role of a physician, and in so doing to recognize the needs of patients for attention and the need of the service for coverage, regardless of weekend and holidays.

Employment and Work Hours Outside


The medical curriculum requires the major portion of a student’s time and concentration. It is suggested that all students arrange their finances in a sound way before entering medical school in order that employment during the regular academic year will not be necessary. If a real need develops, it is possible that permission would be forthcoming for the student to work on a part-time basis. It should be remembered, however, that (1) school assignments cannot be changed to accommodate the work schedule and (2) any money earned may affect the amount or type of financial aid that the student is eligible to receive. In any case, if a medical student desires to work during the academic year, the Associate Deans of Medical Education and Student Affairs must be consulted; failure to do so may result in a meeting of SPEC.


Student Duty Hour Limitations

Duty hours are defined as all clinical and educational activities related to the educational experience. This includes direct patient care, administrative duties of patient care, transfer of patient care, in-house call, and educational conferences, meetings, didactics, simulation, or active learning sessions. Examples of activities that are excluded are (1) Reading, studying, and preparation time occurring separate from rotational assignments, (2) At-home call, and (3) Volunteer clinical activities.

Required student duty hours, for the third year clerkships and the senior electives (including acting internships), shall not exceed 80 hours in a given work week when averaged over 4 weeks. Consecutive hours worked cannot exceed 16 hours. There must be a minimum of 8 hours off between shifts. There must be an average of a least 1 day off per week when averaged over 4 weeks. It will be the student’s responsibility to log duty hours into E*Value on a weekly basis.


Technology Use and Access


All students entering the University Of South Alabama College Of Medicine as first year students are required to purchase a laptop computer configured to meet the minimum requirements set out by the College of Medicine. COM Students are subject to the USA policy regarding use of computers which can be found on the University’s web site.

Copy Card

The COPICARD is a sturdy plastic credit card with a magnetic strip on the back. The strip carries the magnetically encoded data which controls the photocopiers located in the Biomedical Library or Campus Library and in the USAMC Library. As copies are made, the reader senses the copy pulse and registers the copy count in memory and also on the magnetic card as a deduction from the card’s previous value. After the user has completed the copy run, the LED display indicates the number of copies remaining on the user’s COPICARD. When the user pushes the return button, the card is returned.

At the beginning of each academic year, during registration, each medical student is given a preprogrammed COPICARD allowing 200 copies. Each student is responsible for his/her card and must keep it secure; lost cards will not be replaced. Staff in the Biomedical Library will replace damaged cards, if the number of copies remaining can be determined. Students wishing more than their allotted 200 copies per year may purchase additional cards at 10¢ per copy.