Standards for Student Professional Conduct


Student conduct within the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy is held to the highest standards consistent with the expectations of a health care professional. The College’s faculty and staff are committed to developing in all students a sense of professionalism that will guide their conduct, attitudes, and beliefs, ultimately resulting in the optimal provision of patient care. Professionalism in pharmacy is defined as:

Adherence to a set of values comprising both a formally agreed-upon code of conduct and the informal expectations of patients, colleagues, and society. The key values include acting in a patient’s best interest, responsiveness to the health needs of society, maintaining the highest standards of excellence in the practice of pharmacy, and in the generation and dissemination of knowledge. In addition to knowledge and skills, pharmacists should present psychosocial and humanistic qualities such as caring, empathy, humility, and compassion, as well as social responsibility and sensitivity to people’s culture and beliefs. All of these qualities are expected of members of highly trained professions.

The College strongly believes that the development of professionalism begins early in the pharmacy curriculum and continues throughout a pharmacist’s career. Students must realize that their conduct and attitudes when interacting and collaborating with patients, their families, or other health care professionals are a reflection of them, the university, and the profession. Therefore, students are expected to exhibit the highest standards of conduct in all professional activities.

These standards of conduct have been jointly developed by the faculty and students of the College of Pharmacy and are intended a supplement to the student rights and responsibilities outlined in the campus student handbook (the Center Scope). Although the ultimate responsibility for development of professionalism lies with the individual student, it is recognized that the faculty, administration, staff and practitioners all play an important role in pharmacy student professionalization.

Student Conduct in the Classroom

Student behavior that interferes with classroom education is unprofessional and will not be tolerated. Students, as well as faculty, should maintain a sense of respect when addressing or interacting with any individual in a classroom setting. Specific policies regarding classroom behaviors include the following:

  • Class attendance is an important professional responsibility and students are expected to attend.
  • Students shall refrain from distracting behaviors and/or noises in the classroom that may distract others from learning. This includes talking, whispering, and shifting or moving materials (e.g., papers, notes, etc.).
  • Students should refrain from leaving and re-entering the classroom except in emergency situations.
  • Laptop computers, notebooks, iPads, tablets, computers and smartphones in the classroom may be used for educational purposes pertaining to the current class session, but must not be used in such a way as to be distracting to faculty and student colleagues. Use for other purposes is unacceptable.

Student Conduct During Examinations

Students are expected to maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in all of their academic activities. Students are referred to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Honor Code for campus policies and procedures related to academic honesty and integrity in the classroom, laboratory, clinics, and other academic endeavors. Additional College of Pharmacy policies on student behavior during examinations include the following:

  • Caps, hats, or other headgear may not be worn during examinations except for religious, cultural, medical, or ethnic observations.
  • Storage and use of disallowed information in calculators is prohibited. Course directors are responsible for reviewing acceptable use of calculators with their classes prior to each examination.
  • Laptop computers, notebooks, iPads, tablets, and smartphones are not allowed to be used during examinations unless specifically permitted by the course director.
  • Cellular devices are not allowed in exam rooms during examinations. The use of text messaging, camera phones or other forms of communication to send or receive information during an examination is prohibited.
  • Students should keep the level of noise outside the exam room to a minimum.

Student Use of Cellular Devices

Cellular devices are an efficient and common means of communication both directly with others and through email and social media; cellular devices are now required of all students while on rotations. However, the use of cellular devices during didactic classes/lectures or recitations is disruptive to fellow students, faculty, and the educational activity. Students should not engage in electronic communication during class, recitation, or lab. This includes sending or receiving text messages, emails and social media with cell phones or other computer devices.

Therefore, the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy requires that all cellular devices brought into the classroom either be placed in silent or vibration notification mode with immediate responses (e.g., answering a call or leaving the classroom to answer a class or page) limited to true emergency situation.

Student Attire In The Classroom

  • Students must wear a visible UTHSC ID.
  • Hats/headwear - No hats or head covering of any kind, except for religious, cultural, medical or ethnic observations.
  • Pants – 1) No excessively tattered or worn pants and no clothing with holes. 2) Shorts are not allowed. 3) Pants should not be cut too low or worn in a manner that causes the upper portion of the buttock or underwear to be exposed. Jeans and scrubs are also allowed.
  • Shirts – 1) No revealing clothing including low cut blouses or shirts/pants that allow the abdomen to be exposed. 2) No strapless shirts, shirts with spaghetti straps, or halter tops. 3) No T-shirts with discriminatory or derogative statements or graphics. 4) T-shirts that are sold by student or pharmacy organizations or UT are allowed.
  • Shoes – No flip-flops. Dress sandals are appropriate for class.
  • Student attire in professional practice experiences (see below) may be required in the classroom on certain occasions (e.g. visiting lecturers); students will be notified in advance.

Student Conduct in Profesional Practice Experiences

The professional practice experiences are one of the most important components of the pharmacy professional curriculum. They provide an opportunity for students to directly apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom and to acquire new knowledge and skills that will serve as the foundation for the rest of their professional career. Another important element of the practice experiences is the development of appropriate professional attitudes and behaviors when interacting and collaborating with patients, their families and other health care providers. Students are reminded that their dress, grooming, language, and communication skills will significantly influence what others (e.g., patients and other health care providers) think about their professional competence, the College of Pharmacy, and the profession of pharmacy. Thus it is crucial for students to project a professional image and conduct themselves in a professional manner during all practice experiences. Specific policies on student conduct and dress in professional practice experiences include the following:

  • The College of Pharmacy conducts professional practice experiences at a variety of practice sites. In addition to the standards outlined in this document, students are expected to comply with established policies and procedures at each practice site. These could include, but are not limited to dress and appearance, use of cellular devices, computer, internet and email usage, and patient confidentiality.
  • Students are ethically and legally responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of all patients and patient information. Students should hold colleagues accountable to the highest moral, legal, and ethical standards.
  • Students will collaborate with other medical professionals in order to provide the most complete and accurate care for their patients.
  • Students will apply knowledge, experience, and skills to assure optimal drug therapy for their patients. Students will help patients achieve optimum benefit from their medications, be committed to their welfare, and strive to maintain their trust.
  • Students will commit to being life-long learners so they may serve as a constant source of knowledge about new and advancing therapies.
  • Students will represent the profession of pharmacy with integrity in both professional and personal life by maintaining attitudes and behaviors that are above reproach. Students will strive to conduct themselves in a professional manner so that patients and colleagues will have trust and confidence in their abilities.
  • Students will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that will enhance patient care and ensure a strong future for those who follow.

Student Attire in Profesional Practice Experiences

Students are expected to dress professionally when engaged in experiential practice activities. The following dress code applies to all students in pharmacy labs and practice experiences:

  • Students must wear a name badge and a clean white waist length coat (or a white pharmacy coat) at all times in the pharmacy practice laboratory and practice sites. Scrubs are acceptable in certain labs IF the instructor has given permission. (e.g. Patient Assessment Lab)
  • In all patient care settings, male students must wear a dress shirt and tie and females should dress in similar professional/business attire.
  • Students may NOT wear the following in pharmacy laboratories or professional practice settings:
    • Jeans
    • Shorts
    • T-shirts
    • Dirty or soiled sneakers/tennis shoes
    • A head covering, head garment, hat, or cap unless for religious or cultural practices
    • Excessive jewelry or accessories that may interfere with safety and the effective performance of the professes and procedures being carried out including piercing of the eyebrow, lip, nose, and tongue
    • Provocative or revealing clothing including shirts that expose the abdomen or that are low cut
    • Tattoos should not be visible to patients
  • Individual sites and situations may have their own professional attire policies, which take precedence over the college of pharmacy policy. The student must adhere to those requirements while in the respective facilities.
    • Students are expected to treat patients and their families with respect and dignity
    • o Students are expected to take personal responsibility of their actions during their professional practice experiences. However, it is important that students recognize the limitations of their skills and abilities and to seek the assistance from their preceptor or others when necessary.


In order to promote a harmonious, safe and collaborative learning environment at the University of Tennessee, each member of the university community is expected to exhibit a high degree of professionalism and personal integrity consistent with the pursuit of excellence in the conduct of his or her responsibilities. As benefitting the university’s commitment to its public service mission, university faculty, staff, and students are expected to treat one another and the general public in a cordial and respectful manner.

E-mail is an important and frequently used method of communication regarding college activities and coursework. Students are responsible and accountable for reading their UT email at least daily and responding promptly. Students are expected to maintain email functionality (e.g. ensure adequate space in mailbox to receive messages and monitor SPAM folders). Students and faculty should use the same personal and professional courtesies and considerations in electronic mail (e-mail) as they would in other forms of communication.

Procedure for Dealing with Breaches of the Standards

Faculty members are responsible for ensuring compliance with these expectations for professional conduct in the classroom, laboratories, and professional practice sites in accordance with University guidelines. Students are expected to hold their peers to these guidelines of professional conduct and to report violations to the course director. A faculty member or student may also report breaches of these guidelines of professional conduct. A standardized form will be used to report unprofessional conduct. Once completed, the Student Breaches of Professional Conduct form will be forwarded to the Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee. Although the form will require submitter identification, the only individuals who will know the identity of the reporter will be the Committee Chair and Vice Chair, and the Executive Associate Dean (Memphis or Knoxville) or Assistant Dean (Nashville). The individual may be contacted should additional information be needed. The Associate or Assistant Deans may then refer the incident to the appropriate College of Pharmacy committee or to University officials.

Printable copy of Code of Conduct Link to Acrobat file

Contact Us

Student Affairs

Jennifer S. Williams PharmD

Academic Affairs

Stephanie J. Phelps, PharmD

Student and
Academic Affairs

Peter A. Chyka, PharmD

Student and
Academic Affairs

Tracy M. Hagemann, PharmD