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5 boundary violations that could affect a medical license

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Physician Licensing

Physicians work to ensure the well-being of their patients. To maintain the trust and safety of the patients served, it is important to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct.

Unfortunately, some healthcare professionals may inadvertently cross important boundaries, leading to serious consequences that could result in the loss of their license.

1. Sharing personal information

One common boundary violation is the sharing of personal information. Patients trust their healthcare providers with sensitive details about their health and life. It is important for physicians to maintain confidentiality and not disclose personal patient information to others without proper authorization.

2. Dual relationships

Dual relationships occur when a healthcare provider assumes multiple roles with a patient, such as becoming a friend or business partner. This can blur the lines of professionalism and might compromise the patient’s well-being.

3. Gift acceptance

Accepting gifts from patients might seem harmless, but it can actually lead to ethical issues. Gifts can influence the patient-provider dynamic and compromise the objectivity of healthcare decisions.

4. Self-disclosure

Sharing personal information with patients might provide a way to create rapport, but it can backfire. Healthcare providers need to focus on the patient’s needs rather than diverting the attention to their own experiences.

5. Improper physical contact

Physical contact is an essential aspect of healthcare, but it must happen within appropriate boundaries. Licensing boards may construe any form of physical contact that goes beyond the scope of medical necessity as a violation.

In 2022, 388 physicians had their licenses suspended and 211 lost their licenses. By avoiding these common boundary violations, physicians can safeguard their licenses and continue to provide quality care to those in need.