Core Clerkship Personal Days Policy

Also See: Personal Days Request System (Student Login required); Attendance & Time Off Policy

Jump to: Clerkship-Specific Blackout Dates

Core Clerkship Personal Days Policy

Policy Statement

This personal day policy will define the procedures and expectations of students taking personal days during their required clerkship experiences.


As part of becoming a professional, medical student should have the flexibility to address personal and professional needs at their discretion.  In the clerkship year, as students transition to more of a professional work environment, they gain the responsibility of a working professional, yet do not have the agency to attend to their personal needs.  As such, this personal day policy has been developed by the Student Affairs Office, Medical Education Office in conjunction with the clerkship directors, for the core clerkship year.   In addition to addressing issues of wellness and professional development this policy will teach students the importance of time management and managing days off.


A personal day is defined as a day during a required clerkship in the third year when a medical student will be excused from the rotation and is not required to state why they are taking the day.


BUSM 3 students are allowed two personal days in their third year.  No more than one personal day can be taken on any individual clerkship. Personal Days should be requested as early as possible but not less than 2 days before the requested date. Requests made after 12:00 pm must be made at least 3 days before the requested date. Requests made after that time will most likely be denied. Students must complete the following procedures in order to take a personal day.

Instances where personal days are restricted:

  • Clerkship orientation day
  • End of clerkship exam or OSCE
  • Assignment in which a student has responsibilities that would impact the clerkship, i.e. overnight or weekend call. (Unless the student can make arrangements for coverage)
  • Clerkship specific blackout dates that will be clearly outlined on the MEO website.

 Steps that must be completed before personal day is granted:

  • Student completes the on-line Core Clerkship Personal Day request Form, and indicates the clerkship and dates requested.
  • The student attests that the personal day request does not fall on a day which the clerkship has defined as a blackout or restricted day.
  • An email is automatically generated via the Registrar’s personal day database/system to the clerkship director or coordinator.
  • The Registrar reviews the student’s Personal Day log and if the student has not previously used all personal days notifies via email the clerkship director and clerkship coordinator
  • The clerkship coordinator is responsible for confirming that the requested date does not fall in a restricted period and notifies the student that the request is approved and the service attending or preceptor that the student’s absence is approved.


Clerkship directors will not penalize students or make assumptions regarding interest when students take a personal day.

Students must understand that there are a minimum number of experiences required for valid assessment of their performance on a clinical clerkship.  Students must meet all required experiences for a clerkship and as such, students will not be able to meet expectations of a third-year clerkship if too many days are missed.  Total absences of more than 3 days in a 4 week third-year clerkship, 4 days in a 6 week third-year clerkship, or 5 days in an 8 week third-year clerkship will require notification to the Assistant Dean of Medical Education for Curriculum & Assessment, who in collaboration with the clerkship director and the Associate Dean of Medical Education determines if the clerkship needs to be repeated or if the missed time can be remediated.  If there are concerns with multiple absences, the clerkship director will notify the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Medical Education.

Approval and Effective Date

This policy will take effect in February 2018 as a pilot and will take full effect in May 2018, contingent upon the creation of a personal day tracking database.

Approved by the Clerkship Curriculum Subcommittee (CCS) on January 9, 2018

Clerkship-Specific Blackout Dates
All Clerkships
  • Clerkship orientation day
  • Site orientation day (second day of clerkship)
  • End of clerkship exam
  • OSCE/OCRA exam days
  • Assignment in which a student has responsibilities that would impact the clerkship, i.e. overnight or weekend shift or call. (Unless the student can make arrangements for coverage)
Emergency Medicine
  • Didactic days – Mondays (9am-12pm)
  • Residency Conference days – Wednesdays (7:30am-12:30pm)
Family Medicine
  • The last day at clinical site
  • Didactic days
Medicine 1
  • The first day on a new team or at a new site (this includes 1st and 2nd day of rotation due to clerkship and site orientation and the 1st day of Week 5)
  • The Monday and Tuesday of the 8th week. This is a really limited time frame when students will be 1) Completing final assessments including OCRAs and Directly Observed H and P assessments, and 2) Reading days are assigned during these times. Due to these other obligations, the students will already have limited facetime with their teams. Additional scheduled absences, such as personal days, will significantly limit preceptors’ abilities to complete student CSEF assessments.
  • Didactic Days (Rotating)
  • Didactic Days-Every Tuesday
  • Clerkship orientation days
  • End of clerkship exam or OSCE
  • Clinical Application Days-Every Wednesday
  • BMC/Lahey Students: Days assigned to student-run urgent (PACES) clinic
    • Ambulatory Clinic Rotation: cannot miss primary care clinic sessions, can miss a subspecialty clinic if that is all that is scheduled that day.
    • Last week of the clerkship (Monday-Wednesday) if at BMC except under specific circumstances (please discuss with clerkship director/coordinator)
  • South Shore Hospital: no PD during the Ward /Nursery Week
  • All students:
    • Nursery rotation: cannot miss any days if your rotation week is ≤ 3 days long (unless your site can make up that time at a later date)
    • Didactic Week – must be available for any scheduled teaching sessions each day
  • Clerkship orientation – days 1-2 of week 1
  • Didactic days – Thursdays, weeks 2-5
  • Quiz days
  • First day at any site or new service
  • Last week of clerkship: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Anytime during the 2- week portion of the clerkship ( A1, A2, B1, B2… ) due to being on service for 2 weeks only.