Professionalism & Mistreatment


The College of Veterinary Medicine expects all faculty, staff and students to be professional in their interactions with each other and clients, and to exhibit caring and compassionate attitudes. These, and other qualities will be evaluated during patient contacts and in other relevant settings by both faculty and peers. Behavior of a veterinary student, graduate student or postdoctoral trainee reflects on the individual’s ability to become a competent veterinarian, researcher or scientist.

Attitudes or behaviors inconsistent with compassionate care; refusal by, or inability of, the individual to participate constructively in learning or patient care; derogatory attitudes or inappropriate behaviors directed at patients, peers, faculty or staff; misuse of written or electronic patient records (e.g., accession of patient information without valid reason); substance abuse; failure to disclose pertinent information on a criminal background check; or other unprofessional conduct can be grounds for dismissal.

During the years of veterinary, professional or graduate education and training, development of professional behavior is monitored by both the faculty and students. Faculty and peer evaluation of student adherence to the CVM Student Handbook, CVM Graduate Student Handbook and Honor Code also is monitored.

PROFESSIONALISM – Graduates will be able to:

  • Discuss and apply ethical standards of practice
  • Demonstrate humanistic and patient-centered care including respect, empathy, and compassion in their role as the patient’s advocate
  • Demonstrate strength of character and integrity including honesty, altruism, accountability, humility, and moral courage
  • Employ measures to balance clinical responsibilities with personal societal responsibilities
  • Strive for excellence in all professional endeavors
  • Consistently demonstrate the attitudes, values, and behaviors expected of one who thinks, acts, and will be a veterinarian


The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to treating all members of the college community fairly with regard to both personal and professional concerns. The mistreatment policy ensures that concerns are promptly dealt with and resolutions reached in a fair and just manner. The College’s procedures enable individuals to bring problems to the attention of the College of Veterinary Medicine administration in a timely manner. The College forbids any retaliatory action against individuals who present grievances in good faith.

Mistreatment is any decision, act, or condition affecting a person that is determined to be illegal or unjust or that has created unnecessary hardship. Mistreatment may take the form of verbal or physical abuse, discrimination for any reason, or a requirement for individual service activity that is independent of requirements for other team members. When such an incident occurs, the person should take steps to address it. They may first discuss the problem with the individual responsible for the negative action, the Associate Dean for the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies or the Assistant Dean of Community Building and Engagement.

Anyone who has been accused of mistreatment or harassment of others is entitled to due process to refute or challenge the accusations per policies of the University of Florida (UF Regulations 1.006 Non-Discrimination/Harassment/Invasion of Privacy Policies, and UF Regulations 4.012 Student Grievance Procedure). If faculty observe unprofessional behavior or mistreatment of students they should report it to the responsible course or clerkship director.

At any point in the process outlined above, the student also may address their concern about mistreatment with a Veterinary Medicine Mental Health Counselor. This official may provide counseling to the student but is not responsible for attempting to redress the grievance.

Adapted from UF College of Medicine