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Bull Menninger Clin. 2004 Winter;68(1):60-72.

Profiles of impaired health professionals.

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Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, New York City, NY, USA.


There are numerous studies that describe the characteristics of impaired health professionals and the types of professional misconduct leading to licensing board action. These studies have two fundamental limitations. The first is the sampling procedure, and the second is that they typically do not examine health professionals who are currently in treatment. This study describes the problems that lead health professionals--comprising psychiatrists, nonpsychiatric physicians, psychologists and social workers--to seek treatment and the sources of referral for treatment. A total of 334 health professionals were studied who sought out an evaluation or treatment at The Menninger Clinic between 1985 and 2000. The findings indicated that the participants' therapist was the largest referral source and that the most commonly cited problems leading to referral were marital and emotional difficulties rather than substance abuse, boundary violations, or prescribing problems. Licensing and regulatory agencies can take proactive steps to identify professionals with social and emotional vulnerabilities who may be at greater risk for unethical and negligent behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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