For close to three decades, I have been representing physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers in disciplinary actions. In the past few years, I have noticed an increase in my caseload _for physicians with alcohol related incidents or arrests. A common theme among these cases is the stress doctors’ face in their daily practices.
Electronic records, managed care, cost cutting by insurance companies all lead to increased stress in the practice of medicine. I recently had a case with a physician who closed her practice due to the constant stress she faced which resulted in loss of sleep, depression, and suicidal ideations. I think it is so important for physicians, and all healthcare workers, to build into their lives stress reducing techniques, time off and vacations in order to maintain a balance.
In this day and age of emails and cell phones, it is difficult to truly get away from work. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Burnout Strikes Midcareer Physicians Hard”* which addresses an increased rate of burnout for physicians between the ages of 40 and 54. These physicians cited additional administrative tasks and work hours as key drivers of their stress.
If you notice that your drinking has increased, this should be a warning sign that you should look at other ways to deal with stress in your life. I have represented hundreds of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are exceptional at their jobs but get into licensing problems as a result of alcohol use. Any alcohol related incident jeopardizes your healthcare license.
We are able to help healthcare workers with drug or alcohol issues and, in many cases, there will be no ramifications on your healthcare license. If you are confronted at work about an alcohol issue, it is best that you say nothing until you speak with a healthcare licensing attorney. Feel free to give me a call.
*The Wall Street Journal; Thursday, January 16, 2020, Page A3