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Professional Lives ‘Lost’ to the Health Workforce through Misconduct: A Case Analysis.


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Each year in New Zealand, there are professional ‘lives’ lost to the health workforce through disciplinary action for misconduct. However, the practitioners found guilty of misconduct have often been well educated and are experienced in their field. It is important to notice the factors leading to disciplinary action against health practitioners in order to prevent the loss of knowledge, skill and other capabilities from the health workforce.
This research examines personal, professional and contextual factors factors leading to disciplinary action against health professionals in New Zealand. It seeks to understand more about the factors contributing to situations where practitioners fail to recognise and manage situations involving personal/professional risk.
To critically examine the factors contributing to situations where health professionals fail to exercise the judgement necessary to practice professionally
To understand more about how to recognise and manage challenging situations, including both personal and professional risk, and to focus awareness on the consequences of our conduct as professional people.
A multiple case study approach was used to analyse Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal cases published between 2012 and 2015. Data were developed from 33 case reports published full text on the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal website involving practitioners regulated by the HPCA Act 2003, who were found guilty of professional misconduct. Findings were developed from the research data both deductively and inductively, creating theoretical interpretations grounded in an iterative process of cross case synthesis.
The findings show three core themes that are present in the analysis of cases, including failure to ‘benchmark’ best practice, inability to moderate behaviour, and inability to reflect and learn with colleagues. Key factors contributing to the failure to recognise and manage professional situations indicated practitioners experienced a ‘Perfect Storm’ that gathered around professional, personal and organisational issues. Professional isolation, lack of knowledge and skill, challenging client situations; personal stress, neediness or ‘stuckness’; and organisational factors such as high acuity/demand, all contributed to this ‘Perfect Storm’.
Health practitioners and their colleagues should notice moments when their own or others behaviour is inappropriate or unreasonable in the context of a client’s care, particularly responses that are a recurring pattern. Employers could work to reduce factors causing professional isolation and frustration, such as workload issues.
Policy relevance:
Health workforce development and funding approaches need to consider the professional development needs of health practitioners who work in challenging and constantly changing practice environments. Ongoing education about professional issues are an essential capability requirement for the experienced workforce as more complex demands and work roles impact on practitioners.

Item Type: Poster presented at a conference, workshop or other event, and published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professionalism, misconduct, health practitioners, disciplinary cases
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Patricia McClunie-Trust
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2016 23:21
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:24

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