Standards of Professional Conduct

(Approved by the Faculty of the School of Dentistry: 9/12/2002, Curator approval 4/2004)

Definition: In this document, “student” shall refer to any person having once been admitted to the School of Dentistry who has not completed a course of study and who intends to or does continue a course of study in or through the School of Dentistry. For the purpose of these rules, student status continues whether or not the University's academic programs are in session.

Students at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry are seeking special knowledge, skills, and privileges. The confirmation of a professional degree, inferring the acquisition of knowledge and privileges, places the graduate of this institution in a unique position of assuming direct responsibility for health issues of those persons and institutions who place their trust in the University and the dental and dental hygiene professions. It is a demonstration of, and commitment to, special knowledge, protection of privileges, and assumption of responsibility and trust that, by definition, delineates a professional. Therefore, those who would aspire to receive the confirmation of a professional degree are expected to provide satisfactory evidence that exceeds knowledge and technical competence. Evidence that the well-being of patients, trust of society and respect of colleagues is a primary goal must be demonstrated. Accordingly, students must subscribe to principles of ethics and a code of professional conduct that gives testimony to their commitment and ability to deserve the privileges and trust with which society and their patients will honor them. This document serves as a guide for students.

The Standards of Professional Conduct are drawn from the Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct of the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Code of Ethics. The former recognizes that students are under the supervision of graduate dentists and dental hygienists and other faculty during interactions with patients. Students should aspire to meet the high ideals of their professions which may exceed their legal duties, but must meet the minimum standards expressed in the School of Dentistry’s Code of Professional Conduct.

  1. Dental and dental hygiene students must achieve and consistently demonstrate acceptable levels of personal hygiene and dress.
  2. Dental and dental hygiene students must achieve and consistently demonstrate concern for patients, peers, and others. Dental and dental hygiene health care providers have a duty to ensure:
    1. Patients are treated according to their desires and must be included in treatment decisions.
    2. Patient confidentiality in the entire range of the provider-patient relationship which includes dental records.
    3. That no harm or potential harm is done to the patient either through intent, ignorance, lack of preparation for the patient encounter, lack of skill, personal impairment of any kind.
    4. That no patient is “abandoned” which is defined as discontinuance of care without just cause and without giving the patient adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another provider.
    5. That the patient’s welfare (i.e. the provision of competent and timely delivery of dental care within the bounds of clinical circumstances as presented by the patient such as needs, desires and values) is paramount and takes precedence above all else. This also includes the obligation to a) identify and report perioral signs of abuse and neglect and to consult with faculty to report suspected cases to proper authorities as required by law; and, b) report instances of faulty treatment whether intentional or not, to the appropriate faculty member.
    6. That all people including patients, staff, faculty and all other individuals are treated fairly, respectfully, and without prejudice.
    7. All standards and requirements of patient care established by the School of Dentistry are followed.
  3. Dental and dental hygiene students’ behavior must exemplify the highest moral and ethical standards. The following represents conduct that is incompatible with these standards:
    1. Any behavior that tends to gain an unfair advantage for any student in an academic matter. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following guidelines:
      1. No student shall, during an examination have, use or solicit any unauthorized information or material (written or oral), copy from another student’s paper or discuss the examination with any other person.
      2. No student shall during an examination knowingly give any unauthorized aid to another student.
      3. No student shall acquire by any means knowledge of the contents of an examination yet to be given.
      4. No student shall fraudulently claim for credit any classroom, clinical, laboratory, or other procedure or assignment performed by an unauthorized person, including a fellow student.

Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe that a student has acted unethically is obligated to bring the matter to the attention of the Assistant Dean for Student Programs or his/her designee who will follow the process identified in the Preliminary Procedures section of the UMKC School of Dentistry Honor Council Due Process Procedures for Violations of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to determine whether there has been a violation and whether charges should be brought.