Grievance procedures and due process

Residency Program Insider, October 21, 2016

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Institutional administrators and program directors increasingly find themselves dealing with struggling residents and fellows. Factors such as below-average medical knowledge, poor patient care skills, poor communication, and timeliness in completion of records may merit some level of remediation. These attributes, among others, may make the resident/fellow a candidate for a status such as “on review” or “on probation.”
Do not confuse academic probation with disciplinary probation. Examples of disciplinary issues include:
•    Substance abuse
•    Cheating on an exam
•    Performing unnecessary procedures on patients to gain more operative experience

If you fail to advance or terminate a resident based on disciplinary issues, your grievance procedure may be similar to or entirely different from the grievance procedure for academic issues. Disciplinary issues may involve your state licensure board and mandatory reporting requirements, your employee assistance division, or even the local law enforcement authorities.

Academic probation signifies that a resident is having difficulty meeting and maintaining the standards for his or her particular level of training and is not up to speed with his or her peer group. Under academic probation, a program director may decide not to renew a resident’s contract or promote a resident based on poor clinical performance or other associated issues. This is much different from the disruptive or problem resident who may have another set of issues completely unrelated to academic performance.

Source: The Graduate Medical Education Office Handbook

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