Michigan is home to some of the nation's most competitive medical residency programs. With so many applicants vying for placement, getting into the medical residency of your choice is quite an accomplishment. This phase of your career allows you to test the waters and flex your medical knowledge and skills. You'll work with a talented group of peers and superiors as you specialize in your chosen field.
Despite this exciting time in your career path, being a medical resident also comes with significant responsibilities towards yourself and others. You face severe consequences for multiple violations and lack of progress that may end in suspension or dismissal. You'll learn how to work more effectively with teams, help people who seek treatment, and perhaps make a few mistakes. Although making errors is a natural part of your residency – hence the training – some mistakes are costlier than others.
Dismissal From a Michigan Residency Program
Dismissal from a Michigan medical residency program happens for two main reasons: lack of professional behavior and competency issues. Because you're in a position of public trust and both patients and medical teams rely on your guidance, you must have the proper knowledge and ethics to work appropriately. And with the increasing use of social media and calls for accountability, one wrong action may lead to your name going viral or, at the very least, suspension from your program.
That's not to say that you won't make mistakes – even your supervisors do, and they expect it. However, there is a difference between making a minor error or causing a patient's health to deteriorate due to your guidance. With so much that can go wrong, not to mention 80-hour workweeks, the rigorous demands of a medical residency program aren't for everyone. That's why your actions and progress receive scrutiny from peers and supervisors.
Doctors are one of the few professionals who delve into the habits and personal issues of people's lives. Because they have such a sensitive role, they must demonstrate the highest principles of ethical standards to remain practicing. For example, it is not unheard of for even esteemed doctors to lose their license because of a lawsuit or sexual abuse. During your residency, your principles are just as important as your credentials.
The American Medical Association (AMA) established a code of medical ethics that centers on ethical behavior. It acts as a guide for how doctors and patients interact, treatment and technology use, maintaining professional relationships, and being able to self-regulate.
Some examples of professional and ethical violations include:
- Discriminating against patients due to personal bias regarding race, religion, age, gender, and sexual orientation
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while you're on the job
- Receiving a DUI
- Stealing medications and drugs because you have access to the hospital pharmacy
- Sexually abusing a peer or a patient
- Posting or releasing sensitive information about a patient on social media
- Being unable to manage stress levels
- Physically assaulting someone
- Being unable to regulate temperament and impulses
- Engaging in patient-care decisions despite knowing of a conflict of interest
Engaging in professional and ethical behavior is a core requirement of this career. It is essential that you do not abuse your position of power for personal gain. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an overview of what to expect when working and the many ways you may receive a sanction.
Medical residency programs take years to complete, and you must demonstrate improvement for every level of your training. Stagnation or lack of time management causes competency issues that may result in sanctions.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education gauges the quality of a medical resident's education by comparing performance against six core competencies. The competencies help both supervisors and disciplinary boards determine if a resident cannot progress and needs more training. They are:
- Patient Care: Competency in this area means understanding how to care for patients compassionately, respectfully, and in a manner relevant to them. Doctors must discard personal opinions aside and care for patients regardless of their circumstances.
- Medical Knowledge: Theoretical excellence is just one aspect of your medical knowledge. You must also know how to apply what you're learning in real-time and continue to expand on that information as time progresses.
- Professionalism: You are in a position of public trust, and your patients come to you during their most vulnerable moments. As a resident physician, always remain professional with your patients and colleagues. Too much familiarity or a misunderstanding can reach the disciplinary board's ears.
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills: You must be a clear communicator and understand what your patients, medical teams, supervisors, and peers say. While you should not be overly friendly, you must also be agreeable and willing to learn from your mistakes.
- Practice-based Learning and Improvement: As a resident physician, you must continuously improve your knowledge and learn from applying theories in real-time. You should improve as you work, and your supervisors take note if you are struggling.
- Systems-based Practice: Resident doctors must learn systems-based practices both locally and nationally.
Many residents never face problems with their disciplinary board for professional violations. However, they may receive sanctions for competency issues.
Contacting an Attorney-Advisor
Although your residency is a learning period, you may face permanent dismissal for the reasons mentioned in this article. The discharge causes many issues down the line. For example, you may not find a good program later due to reputation damage. When you face sanctions from a disciplinary board, it's best to contact a seasoned medical resident attorney.
Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with medical residents facing sanctions for competency and ethical issues. With his unique and caring approach, Attorney-Advisor Lento negotiates for the best possible outcome to help decrease the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome.
If you or someone you love faces potential dismissal from a disciplinary board, don't wait to take action. Call the Lento Law Firm today for a thorough discussion at 888-535-3686.