Gaining admittance to a medical residency program is a big step toward becoming a fully-licensed doctor on a long road of education, time, and money. New Mexico's universities, hospitals, and medical centers offer a wide range of resident specialties, from pediatric care and psychiatry to anesthesiology and orthopedic surgery. This high-caliber training will allow you to engage in the work you desire. Still, the immense pressure from 80-hour work weeks and ethical responsibilities to your patients and co-workers can cause any medical resident to violate the rules of conduct.
Even dedicated medical students of integrity can be subject to a program's ethics board. Although you will be training to become a doctor and entrusted with public care, you will be held accountable for your actions as a resident.
Your supervisor or residency disciplinary board may impose sanctions, including suspension or termination from your medical residency program, derailing your chances to practice medicine. However, retaining the support and expertise of a medical resident defense advisor will ensure that you can continue on the path toward becoming a doctor.
New Mexico Medical Residency Governing Authorities
As your medical residency progresses, the educational material and experiences providing care to patients will become more challenging, increasing your risk of making mistakes in life-threatening situations. Not only will your immediate supervisor and medical residency program personnel hold you accountable, but so will the state government.
The New Mexico Medical Board (NMMB) is the state's governing body for healthcare professionals, tasked with creating licensing parameters, securing the enforcement of medical laws, and upholding principles of medical ethics. If licensees or applicants are found responsible for unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, the NMMB may fine, censure, reprimand, suspend, or terminate those issued licenses, including:
- Medical residents
- Physician assistants
Whether the issue is personal or professional, any slight misstep can drastically impact your reputation and threaten your career. In many cases, unethical conduct leads to a suspension or revoking of a license to practice medicine in New Mexico. Therefore, it's vital to understand the governing bodies and ethical boards that watch your every step throughout your residency.
ACGME Core Competency Requirements
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is an independent organization that sets and monitors educational and ethical standards to prepare medical residents for patient care. Programs in New Mexico adhere to the ACGME's six Core Competencies when evaluating the proficiency of medical residents.
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Showing a positive attitude in the workplace and utilizing good communication skills with your patients and co-workers to build valuable relationships.
- Medical Knowledge: Proving that you can prescribe medicine and care for patients without supervision by demonstrating the medical knowledge you receive during your residency.
- Patient Care and Procedural Skills: Displaying correct, ACGME-approved procedural methods for patient care and handling their personal information.
- Practice-based Learning and Improvement: Improving your medical care through the knowledge and hands-on training you get in your program.
- Professionalism: Abiding by personal and professional ethical guidelines that manage those entrusted with public care.
- Systems-based Practice: Working effectively in the systems relating to your specialty and showing you understand what solutions to provide when issues arise.
Engaging in behavior against these core competencies will threaten your ability to remain in the residency program at your New Mexico hospital or medical institution.
Personal and Professional Ethical Behavior Violations
The care of fully-licensed doctors is publicly trusted; therefore, medical residents will receive extensive training and instruction on maintaining good behavior, both personally and professionally. The American Medical Association (AMA) has established a national set of medical ethics that must be followed to promote the best standard of patient care. Examples of ethical personal and professional violations include:
- Accepting bribes to market certain treatments
- Criminal charges (misdemeanor and felony)
- Failing to manage on-the-job stress
- Inappropriate speech or action toward patients, visitors, or other medical care providers
- Research misconduct
- Sexual assault/harassment
- Unethical use of social media
- Withholding conflicts of interest
Medical Residency Sanctions
If such actions or behavior are reported to your medical residency supervisor, hospital, or governing authority—just like disciplinary boards you were familiar with in medical school—you will be subject to grievance procedures that seek to address misconduct.
For example, when the University of New Mexico School of Medicine addresses allegations of misconduct with their residents, the sanctions that may be imposed include:
- Repetition of an entire phase
- Revocation, limitation, or suspension of licenses
- Suspension from the program
- Termination of residency
Disciplinary action will cost you the time you've already spent in your residency and damage your reputation in the medical community. Violations will be recorded by your New Mexico residency program, hospital, and the NMMB. Withholding such information applying to other programs is also grounds for license suspension or revocation.
Regardless, misconduct will make it difficult to gain admittance to another residency program or begin practicing medicine in another state. Your career is on the line the minute you start your medical residency, so it's vital that you know before allegations arise that you can retain the help you need against burdensome ethics boards.
Hiring a Medical Resident Advisor
Each residency program is different, but the way New Mexico hospitals address personal or professional violations is very similar, including the prospect of program suspension or dismissal. Attempting to handle the grievance process and subsequent appeals process for disciplinary action yourself without the guidance of a professional can cost you the career you've worked years to obtain.
Even if your hospital board has already handed down sanctions, you can fight back and keep your position as a medical resident in one of New Mexico's many esteemed hospitals and medical programs. You must take your situation as seriously as saving lives and speak to a specialist.
Medical resident advisor Joseph D. Lento works with future doctors across the U.S. to defend them against disciplinary actions that can ruin their future. He and his team at the Lento Law Firm don't use aggressive litigation as the first means of action like local New Mexico lawyers. They understand how to advocate for medical residents by preparing effective defenses and brokering beneficial resolutions with a residency program or the hospital's office of general counsel.
If you face allegations of unethical behavior, poor performance, or other misconduct in your New Mexico medical residency program, call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to get the extra help you need, or visit the online consultation form. Your personal and professional future depends on it.