After graduating from medical school, matching a residency program to specialize in your chosen field is the next phase of your training as a doctor. Attending a resident program in Pennsylvania is quite an enriching experience, allowing you to work with professional medical teams and diverse patients to hone your skills. And while it can be exciting and memorable, it also comes with challenges and pressure as your supervisors expect you to improve your knowledge with every passing year.
Whether it's the 80-hour workweeks or applying the clinical knowledge you possess in real-time, you may become overwhelmed and stressed. Although it's a normal part of the process, not all pressure results in positive outcomes. Increased stress causes many issues, the least being errors while working. Your supervisors expect you to learn and make mistakes. Still, if the violation is severe, you may find that you'll face sanctions or even dismissal from your Pennsylvania medical residency program. In such scenarios, you need the guidance of a skilled attorney who helps you overcome competence and behavioral misconduct allegations.
Dismissal from a Pennsylvania Medical Residency Program
Training does not exempt medical residents from making errors that have disastrous consequences on their future. The main issues lie in your competency and conduct, two vital components of your profession. Since people rely on you to help them make decisions about their health, you must have the proper knowledge and skills to help them maintain their health. However, even the most skilled doctors must be excellent communicators and maintain ethical boundaries to continue working with patients.
As a medical resident, you must follow the establishment's rules and those dictated by your affiliated school. If you engage in misconduct or display repeated behavioral issues, you may face disciplinary measures that lead to dismissal. A particularly egregious mistake or repeated incidents place your reputation at stake and affect your career path negatively. Since you're in a position of public trust, you have less room for error and more responsibility towards others.
Maintaining the Core Competencies
Medical residents in Pennsylvania and nationwide must have competency in six core areas to progress in their program. Established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), these competencies allow supervisors to create, direct and gauge your skills to determine if you are making progress. As a doctor, you must demonstrate the following competencies:
- Medical Knowledge: In this segment, supervisors evaluate how much information and knowledge you have and make sure you continue to build on that base.
- Professionalism: You are committed to your field and create and maintain boundaries with patients and medical staff. You constantly strive to act in a polished and competent manner.
- Patient Care and Procedural Skills: Your supervisors evaluate the quality of the patient care you provide and estimate how well-versed you are in following the proper procedures.
- Systems-based Practices: You must familiarize yourself with healthcare systems at the local end and those implemented nationwide. These change with time, and you must remain updated on new methods to provide the best care to your patients.
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills: As a doctor, you meet countless people who come from different backgrounds throughout your career. Your job is to communicate well, compassionately, and efficiently to help medical teams, patients, and their families understand what is happening while in your care. You may also have to deliver bad news or sensitive information. The way you say it has a significant impact on others.
- Practice-based Learning and Improvement: In medical school, you mostly learn about the theoretical aspects of your field. Once you start your residency program, you must apply that knowledge in real-world settings with patients. Not only must you do that properly, but you must also continue to improve your method as you advance in the program.
These core competencies help your supervisors evaluate how well you're doing and highlight areas that need improvement. If you consistently fail to meet their standards, you may face sanctions from a disciplinary board.
Behavioral and Ethical Expectations
As a doctor, people look up to you as an authority in your field and admire your discipline. While most doctors take ethics seriously, sometimes things happen that lead to lapses in judgment. While these mistakes are not intentional, they harm your reputation and chances of completing your Pennsylvania medical residency program.
There is no set way that a medical resident engages in misconduct. What differs from other professions is that you must maintain ethical behavior even when you aren't working. For example, salespeople may not lose their job if they are publicly intoxicated or have a DUI. Doctors do not have that leisure. Some examples of behavioral misconduct that can land you in hot water as a resident include:
- Inappropriate social media posts
- Discussing or disclosing confidential information to others
- Driving under the influence
- Stealing medication from the hospital pharmacy for personal use or distribution
- Knowingly engaging in conflicts of interest
- Performing a medical procedure on a patient who does not need it
- Being aggressive or violent towards medical staff or supervisors
- Getting into physical or verbal altercations
- Consistently failing at being able to handle stress appropriately
- Engaging in sexual misconduct or abuse
- Using power imbalances to impose your decisions
This list provides a few examples of the many ways your behavior gets you in trouble as a medical resident in Pennsylvania.
Hiring an Attorney
Your path to becoming a doctor didn't come easy – blood, sweat, tears, and likely hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition costs are just the tip of the iceberg. If you made a mistake or had a lapse in judgment, it shouldn't cost you a career in medicine.
Regardless of the allegations against you, you deserve due process and a fair chance to defend yourself and your career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands how hard medical residents like yourself work to make their dreams a reality. With years of experience working with medical residents in Pennsylvania, attorney Lento negotiates with your board to increase your chances of a favorable case outcome.
If you are a medical resident in Pennsylvania facing allegations of misconduct or competency issues, don't hesitate to fight back. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options discreetly and confidentially.