Graduating from medical school and getting matched to a residency program in DC is the culmination of your life's dreams. This is the part of your medical education where you're finally going to be able to work with actual, live patients. You'll be gaining real-world, real-life experience, assisting in helping real patients in real-time settings. Although you're technically still in training, you'll be working on real people.
Because of this, everything that you do will be carefully watched and noted. Your supervisors and your patients will be holding you accountable for everything. Even though you're a new doctor, you're expected to act with integrity, ethics, and professionalism. With all of this new responsibility comes the increased likelihood of mistakes. You will inevitably make mistakes because you are new.
Many people make mistakes when they are thrust into a new environment and start new jobs. The difference is that doctors are held to a much higher standard than others when it comes to their work. A mistake by a doctor can cost someone their life, so you have to be “on” at all times. No matter what's going on in your outside life, your work life needs to be impeccable. If not, you could make mistakes that could cost you your license.
Dismissal From DC Residency Programs
Whether you're just beginning your medical residency or you're several years into it, the responsibilities grow over time. With those increased responsibilities, you're expected to rise to the challenge at every step. You will be judged based on several factors, including your professionalism, the way you interact with other people, your competency, and other factors. At any one of these levels, you could make mistakes that could end up having you dismissed from the program.
Ethical, Personal, and Professional Behavior
When you're starting a career in another profession, you're generally given a certain amount of time to make mistakes and learn from them. As a doctor, you don't get those types of considerations.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has created a national codification of medical ethics. This has been created to help improve public health and ensure that the care that patients receive at hospitals is always top-notch. Some of the professional, personal, or ethical violations that medical residents could be accused of include the following:
- Engaging in sexual misconduct
- Not handling your stress properly, causing you to make errors at work and cause friction with the people that you are responsible for and your coworkers
- Using your social media irresponsibly
- Accepting bribes
- Discriminating against other people based on things like their race, their nationality, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation
- Making critical decisions about patient care even though you're fully aware that there is a conflict of interest between you and the patient
- Getting a DUI or being accused of physical assault
- Engaging in substance abuse or being drunk in public while on the job
- Stealing pharmaceuticals from the hospital
Your competency level is one of the most critical aspects of your career as a doctor. You can be the most ethical resident in the world, but you'll make a terrible doctor if you're not able to master the core competencies that are required in the medical field. The Accreditation Council for Medical Education requires that residents are competent in six separate areas in order to practice medicine:
- Patient care: As a medical resident, it is your responsibility to provide top-quality and compassionate care to your patients. You must provide them with the care that is relevant to their ailment.
- Medical knowledge: As a resident, it's expected that your knowledge and expertise in clinical and biomedical knowledge isn't just theoretical. You're expected to be able to put that education into practice perfectly and seamlessly, competently applying it to patient care.
- Professionalism: You are expected to carry yourself in a professional manner at all times. This means that you will always be ethical, and you will always be sensitive to the needs of others.
- Interpersonal and communication skills: A doctor's bedside manner isn't just a suggestion: it's expected. Being a doctor goes way beyond science. It's important for you to be able to effectively and compassionately communicate with your patients, and it's important for you to be able to collaborate professionally and competently with your colleagues so that you can work together towards the furtherance of optimal patient care.
- Systems-based practice: As a doctor in DC, you must be able to show competency and awareness of DC-area healthcare systems as well as healthcare systems used across the United States.
- Practice-based learning and improvement: As a resident, you have a responsibility to continue your learning. Every minute of your day should be used towards the quest for more knowledge that can help you provide top-notch patient care. This requires an ability to be introspective and self-evaluative so that you can increase your proficiency over time.
Sanctions and the Disciplinary Board
All teaching hospitals have disciplinary boards. These boards exist to enforce program and hospital policy compliance. Medical residents are in danger of receiving sanctions from the board if they participate in behavior that violates any of the policies laid out by the hospital and program. Depending on what they've done, sanctions could range from getting a simple verbal reprimand to being dismissed from the program.
When faced with having to appear before a disciplinary board, many residents mistakenly believe that they can handle it on their own. Doing so could have lasting implications that affect the rest of their lives. Once their license is gone, it's gone.
Hiring an Attorney-advisor
Whether you're at the beginning of your residency or you're close to finishing, sticking to all of the policies and fulfilling all the competency requirements necessary is crucial to helping you become a doctor.
In spite of this, many students do end up making mistakes. Some of those mistakes are so grave that the residents are no longer able to practice medicine. If you're dealing with having to go before a disciplinary board, you need someone on your side who understands how to navigate this entire process.
Medical residency lawyer Joseph D. Lento and his team have years of experience representing medical residents across the country who've gone through exactly what you're going through now. They have experience negotiating with the attorneys on the general counsel teams at teaching hospitals and programs, so they may have the ability to help you avoid litigation and come up with alternative solutions to dismissal.
Don't compound a mistake by facing the disciplinary board alone. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or send them a message via their online portal so that they can help you with the next steps.