The worldwide spread of COVID-19 is placing unprecedented stress and demand on California physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other medical professionals. However, despite these urgent demands, the administrative disciplinary system continues to investigate claims of unprofessional conduct, and hearings for nurses and doctors are still being scheduled, prepared, and settled, despite the temporary court closure (which we have written about in a separate article).
As doctors and nurses make sacrifices to protect the public interest, it is essential for those nurses and doctors who are under investigation or facing a disciplinary matter to carefully document their workload, conditions, and sacrifices during the pandemic. The burden of caring for an entire state during this crisis is thankless, and doctors and nurses often do so with humility and courage. However, medical professionals facing discipline should take care to do the following:
– Make a detailed log of shifts worked and working conditions
– Establish contact information for their supervisors and colleagues
– Document the presence of, or substitution for (if any), protective equipment
– Carefully monitor their own health during the crisis
All of this information will be relevant when the pandemic subsides, and could be used to positively reflect on the character of a doctor or nurse whose professional fitness is being questioned by a state agency. Additionally, this may be an ideal time to reach a stipulated settlement to allow professionals to continue working without the cloud of license discipline affecting their employment future.
We urge any medical professionals who face a threat to their license to contact experienced professional license defense counsel for assistance.