SIU School of Medicine

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Office of Education and Curriculum


Honor Code

Students of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine are accepted into the School of Medicine after due consideration and evaluation and are expected to understand and accept the responsibilities of their profession.  Recognizing that all persons have their own beliefs and values, the Faculty explicitly state their belief that medicine as a profession demands the highest level of competence with regard to knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior in the care of patients and/or in the generation and dissemination of knowledge.  The essence of medicine is embodied in the concept of professionalism.

Professionalism requires the physician to serve the interests of the patient above his or her self-interest.  Professionalism aspires to altruism, accountability, excellence, duty, service, honor, integrity and respect for others.

Altruism is the essence of professionalism.  The best interest of patients, not self-interest is the rule.

Accountability is required at many levels -- individual patients, society and the profession.  Physicians are accountable to their patients for fulfilling the implied contract governing the patient/physician relationship.  They are also accountable to society for addressing the health needs of the public and to their profession for adhering to medicine’s time-honored ethical precepts.

Excellence entails a conscientious effort to exceed ordinary expectations and to make a commitment to life-long learning.  Commitment to excellence is an acknowledged goal for all physicians.

Duty is the free acceptance of a commitment to service.  This commitment entails being available and responsive when “on-call”, accepting inconvenience to meet the needs of one’s patients, enduring unavoidable risks to oneself when a patient’s welfare is at stake, advocating the best possible care regardless of ability to pay, seeking active roles in professional organizations, and volunteering one’s skills and expertise for the welfare of the community.

Honor and integrity are the consistent regard for the highest standards of behaviors and the refusal to violate one’s personal and professional codes.  Honor and integrity imply being fair, being truthful, keeping one’s word, meeting commitments, and being straight-forward.  They also require recognition of the possibility of conflict of interest and avoidance of relationships that allow personal gain to supersede the best interests of the patient.

Respect for others (patients and their families, other physicians and professional colleagues such as medical school faculty, nurses, medical students, residents, and subspecialty fellows) is the essence of humanism, and humanism is both central to professionalism, and fundamental to enhancing collegiality among physicians.[1]

The process of becoming a physician is long, arduous, and often overwhelming.  During its course, some students may be tempted to compromise standards.  Certain events may lead students to perform at less than their best.  We must not accept such behavior in ourselves or our colleagues, as it may lead to compromises in patient care.

The same personal integrity that promotes honesty should also promote reporting any infraction of the School of Medicine Honor Code.  Students are encouraged to take concerns, conditions or situations which may lead to violation of the School of Medicine Honor Code to the Student Advisory Committee.

A student who violates the School of Medicine Honor Code may be subject to dismissal or to lesser disciplinary actions as the facts of the situation warrant.

Explicit components of the SIU School of Medicine Honor Code include the following:

  1. Students, as well as faculty and all other members of the SIU community, recognize the right of all individuals, including one’s peers, to be treated in a respectful manner, without regard to race, age, gender, disability, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.  Unacceptable behavior includes (but is not limited to) racial, sexist or religious slurs, racial or sexual harassment, physical violence, or threats of violence, or suppression of rights and intellectual freedom in any way.[2]
  2. All property, both intellectual and physical, must be respected and never plagiarized, defaced, or treated in a disrespectful manner.  Property refers to cadavers, other instructional materials, any school or personal property and any written or electronically stored material other than a student’s own.[3]
  3. Any form of cheating is a violation of the trust placed in future physicians and a serious infraction of the School of Medicine Honor Code.  Each examination must represent the student’s own efforts.  Except as directly and specifically authorized by a faculty member, no student shall be permitted, at any time prior to, during, or following an examination, to give to or receive from any other person, information relating directly or indirectly to an examination; nor shall any student be permitted to communicate in any manner whatsoever, with another person regarding such examination.  The term “examination” is defined to include but not be limited to any test, evaluation, or other form of academic or nonacademic performance assessment.  Likewise, plagiarism, forgery, falsification of records, and/or tampering with examination material is prohibited.
  4. The SIU Student Conduct Code will be followed, except when portions of the above School of Medicine Honor Code express a higher degree of responsibility.

[1] American Board of Internal Medicine Project, Professionalism, 1995.

[2] SUNY - Syracuse School of Medicine Honor Code

[3] lbid


Approved by Educational Policy Committee 05/08/95

Approved by Executive Committee 06/26/95