6 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Patients… Without Losing Your License

dealing with difficult patients license defense


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dealing with difficult patients license defense

As a healthcare professional, you have probably encountered your fair share of difficult patients. It can be frustrating, emotionally exhausting, and at times, even risky to deal with patients who are angry, non-compliant, or demanding.

How you handle these situations can have a significant impact on your professional reputation. As an Illinois professional license defense attorney, I want to provide you with tips for dealing with difficult patients without jeopardizing your license.

Common Reasons Healthcare Professionals Face Disciplinary Action at IDFPR Because of Difficult Patients

Before we dive into the tips, let’s discuss some common reasons healthcare professionals may lose their license due to how they deal with difficult patients.

Engaging in any of these behaviors can result in discipline or losing your license, whether reported by the patient or a coworker:

  • Violating patient rights — Healthcare professionals must respect patient autonomy and confidentiality. Violating a patient’s rights while dealing with a difficult situation could result in a complaint to your licensing board.
  • Engaging in unprofessional conduct — If you engage in verbal or physical abuse or disrespect a patient, it could be considered unprofessional conduct, which could result in disciplinary action against your license.
  • Failing to provide appropriate care — Allowing a difficult patient to interfere with your ability to provide appropriate care could be considered negligence or malpractice, resulting in disciplinary action against your license.

Remember, your fellow healthcare professionals have a duty to report harmful behavior from their coworkers.

Tips for Dealing With Difficult Patients Without Losing Your License

Now that we have covered some common pitfalls to avoid, let’s discuss some tips for dealing with difficult patients:

  1. Maintain a professional demeanor. Regardless of how the patient is behaving, it’s essential to maintain a professional demeanor. Avoid getting defensive, raising your voice, or engaging in behavior that could be perceived as unprofessional.
  2. Listen actively. Sometimes, patients just need to vent their frustrations. Active listening can help diffuse the situation and show the patient you care about their concerns.
  3. Set boundaries. If a patient’s behavior is unacceptable, setting boundaries is important. Explain to the patient what behavior is appropriate and what behavior is not acceptable. Be firm but respectful.
  4. Document the incident. It’s essential to document any concerning incident in the patient’s medical record. Include the patient’s behavior, your response, and any actions you took to resolve the situation.
  5. Seek help. If you feel like you cannot handle the situation alone, seek help from your supervisor, a colleague, or a mental health professional.
  6. Follow up. After the incident, follow up with the patient to ensure they are satisfied with the outcome.

Enlist the Help of an Illinois Professional License Defense Lawyer

Dealing with difficult patients is never easy, but it’s essential to being a healthcare professional. However, handling these situations with care and professionalism is crucial to avoid jeopardizing your license.

By maintaining a professional demeanor, active listening, setting boundaries, documenting incidents, seeking help, and following up, you can manage difficult patient situations effectively and defend your healthcare license.

If you’ve dealt with a difficult patient and are concerned with how the exchange may impact your license, contact us today. At 1818 Legal, we’ll review your situation and guide you through the legal waters toward the best possible resolution.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.