In his bestselling book on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen F. Covey counsels us all to be proactive.
We all have our personal demons. Even people who seem to have it all together on the outside may be dealing with terribly distressing personal issues.
The stakes are very high when a doctor or other medical professional is under investigation. Even if criminal charges are not likely, the accused person’s professional license could wind up suspended or permanently revoked. The damage to the health care provider’s reputation could last the rest of his or her life.
Maintaining proper boundaries is a key part of what it means to be a professional in today's society.
Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a report on disciplinary actions taken so far this year by the 29 professional-licensing boards it oversees.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, it takes the average medical doctor 11 to 16 years of schooling before they are ready to practice medicine. It's because of this very reason that so many doctors and health care professionals value their medical license. It's also why so many get anxious and fearful after medical mistakes.
Last September, CBS News aired a report about the disconnect between medical licensing boards and successful medical malpractice claims against practitioners. The report focused on Florida and did not mention Pennsylvania at all. Even so, the network's research pointed out a problem that could undermine the credibility of medical boards in every state.
Pennsylvania's professional boards had a busy month in July. According to the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, the Board of Medicine took action against 16 medical licensees and the Board of Nursing took action against more than 50 licensed professionals. In all, four practitioners were from Philadelphia.
You are a licensed physician out to dinner with friends. A man at the next table collapses; one of his tablemates dials 911 on his cellphone, and another shouts for help. If you do nothing, is your medical license at risk?
Most professionals, medical personnel included, have a duty to report the misconduct of a colleague. That misconduct may involve alcohol or drug impairment, incompetence or a violation of a code of ethics. The report may go to the appropriate state licensing board or to the police, depending on the conduct, or it may go to a supervisor or someone with authority over the professional. Failing to report may or may not result in discipline.