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Managing Absence Requests

Jordan Masterson, PharmD, BCPS

Clinical Pharmacist Faculty, Mission Hospital

Assistant Professor of Clinical Education, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy


We’ve all seen this email, right?  It’s the typical introductory communication sent by students to their preceptors which, in addition to highlighting their background or desire to learn more about yourself or your practice site, may also be accompanied by a request for particular days off from rotation.  But I’m sure some of you may have also had emails that looked a little different:

Both of these “requests” for time off are outside the acceptable excused absence categories, as relayed in the UNC Immersion and Advanced Immersion syllabi in Rx Preceptor.  So, how do you handle this type of crucial conversation?

Summary Points About the Absence Policy from the Office of Experiential Programs

  • Preceptors are the final approving authority for any days off
  • No more than two excused absences per calendar month. These days aren’t guaranteed, but they are available as needed for excused absences
    • Exception- up to five excused absences in December and February for 4th year advanced immersion
    • Any student with more than two excused absences for any reason should receive make-up work and/or hours for those additional days. The preceptor is responsible for determining what is most appropriate for the site.
  • Students are expected to be at the rotation a minimum of 160 hours total, with a minimum of 40 hours per week
  • Experiences last for the calendar month rather than a certain number of days.
  • If you have any questions or need further guidance around the attendance policy, please reach out Christy Holland, Director of Experiential Programs (
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