How It Works

Over a 15-day schedule, students will work through five distance-learning modules combining both personalized and generalized comprehensive training in the topical materials. Each participant will spend approximately 25-30 hours to complete the course.

The online learning management system offers an easy-to-use, asynchronous distance-learning format - meaning participants can complete the program from home at their own pace and during hours that are most convenient to them. They do not have to be online at the same time with mentors and other participants. Thus seminar requirements can be made without rearranging schedules or interfering with work responsibilities. No travel, lodging, or meal expenses are involved. All required resources are available online in Adobe Acrobat PDF files.

Equipment Requirements
Enrolled participants must have access to a telephone for private calls with faculty, access to a computer with high-speed Internet connection with a web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari), and word processing software. Participants will be given personal access to the Albany Medical College secure SAKAI Learning Management System. For those unfamiliar with the online learning management system, Albany Medical College maintains a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week help desk for authorized SAKAI users.


Module I: Personalized Introduction to the Course - One-on-One Orientation
To Be Completed On or Before Program Day 1 - Anticipate 2-3 Hours to Complete

Before the online discussion forums open on Day 2, participants will have a personalized, one-on-one session with their faculty mentor via telephone or Skype. This will cover:

  • Assessment of the particular needs of the participant based on a critical review of any problematic situation that may have led to enrollment in this course.
  • Development of personalized objectives and learning plan to meet the participant’s needs.
  • Overview of program and the requirements necessary for successful completion.

Module II: Good Doctoring and Medical Professionalism
To be Completed During Program Days 2-6 - Anticipate 6-8 Hours to Complete.

Participants will discuss key online readings from the literature on professionalism and ethics in a forum with faculty and other participants. Topics include the meaning of professionalism, the importance of respect and honesty in the physician-patient relationship, moral courage, the art of healing, and the basis of medical morality. During days 2-6, discussion forum questions will be posted. All participants are expected to respond and interact with others in a lively exchange of ideas.

Module III: Typical Medical Misconduct Infractions
To be Completed During Program Days 7-10 - Anticipate 5-6 Hours to Complete.

The group will review examples of medical misconduct as found in the files of a state medical board in an online forum. The range of topics include:

  • Impairment-quality of care issues. Malpractice: excusable vs. inexcusable practice.
  • Professional boundaries.
  • Sexual misconduct - harassment - appropriate personal boundaries
  • Honesty - gaming the system, cutting corners, billing misconduct
  • Disruptive, unprofessional behavior

Module IV: Assessing Knowledge and Judgment
To be Completed During Program Days 11-13 - Anticipate 5-6 Hours to Complete.

Six simulated video scenarios, featuring standardized patients, will be shown to illustrate critical types of medical misconduct. Participants will be asked to identify the questionable behavior and suggest possible courses of action to avoid allegations of unprofessional conduct:

  • Case 1 - Quality of care: medical error and physician obligations
  • Case 2 - Inappropriate boundaries: sexual misconduct
  • Case 3 - Intoxication—addiction and impairment: the physician’s perspective
  • Case 4 - Speaking up about intoxication-addiction and impairment: a care team member’s perspective
  • Case 5 - Ethical vs. legal obligations at end of life: responding to a request from a patient
  • Case 6 - Questions about documentation and allegedly fraudulent billing

Module V: Wrap Up - One-on-One Exit Interview
To be Completed During Program Days 11-15. Anticipate 6-7 Hours to Complete.

Module IV and Module V are to be completed concurrently during the last live days of the program. Each participant will post his or her final paper in the discussion forum section of SAKAI. Before the end of Program Day 15, each participant will have a final, one-on-one, debriefing assessment interview. The final interview will focus on:

  • What was learned and personally valuable in the course?
  • The extent to which the personal goals were accomplished.
  • Future plans for personal growth and development.