The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

AN ANALYSIS OF THE COMMON FACTORS INFLUENCING THERAPIST DISCIPLINE

Anthony L. DeWitt; Bartimus Frickleton Robertson & Gorny PC, Jefferson City, MO

Background: Since the AARC effort to obtain licensure, 48 states have opted to license therapists. In almost every state, the disciplinary process has forced therapists from the field for a variety of reasons. This study sought to determine if there were common factors influencing therapist discipline. Method: 100 therapist discipline cases were obtained from licensing boards in California, Missouri, and numerous other states. Cases were grouped into two categories: clinical error and therapist misconduct. Clinical error was defined as the primary reason for discipline being related to an error or mistake in patient care. Therapist misconduct cases were defined as cases dealing with misconduct occuring outside the health care setting (DUI, child abuse, etc.) Cases were evaluated for the presence of common factors. Results: Review of the case files indicates that alcohol and drug abuse play a dominant role in therapist misconduct cases, and are cited prominently as mitigating factors in clinical error cases. The common factors in clinical error cases tend to be fatigue and a lack of attention to detail. Conclusion: Identification and interdiction of substance abuse processes in therapist education programs may be the most effective way to reduce therapist discipline cases. Sponsored Research - None

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