Practice Questions & Top Causes of Unprofessional Conduct

Frequently Asked Practice Questions 

Some of the most frequent practice questions we get at the ACOT office are about documentation requirements and about setting up a private practice. The Practice Guideline on Standards for Documentation and the Practice FAQs: Private Practice can both be found on the Practice Resources page of the ACOT website, along with many other handy resources. 

Top Causes of Unprofessional Conduct and Tips to Avoid It

Over the next 10 editions of eNews, ACOT will provide the top ten most common causes of unprofessional conduct across all health professions that can give rise to a complaint. Each edition will also provide tips on how to prevent a finding of unprofessional conduct.

Professional Documentation:

  • A failure to adequately chart or document causes significant problems for professionals.
  • If you have acted professionally and appropriately, then proper documentation will be your best defense.
  • Many unprofessional conduct complaints are referred to a hearing because of significant disagreements about what actually happened. If a case comes down to, “He said, she said,” then you are at risk. Appropriate documentation can objectively demonstrate what really happened.

What you can do:

  • Follow professional charting and documentation practices.
  • Understand and follow your employer’s documentation practices with respect to critical incidents, patient complaints, etc.
  • Document in accordance with professional standards: write legibly, write accurately, record concisely, record events chronologically, record information immediately or ASAP, ensure all documentation is dated and signed or initialed, write in ink, use uniform terminology and correct errors in documentation openly and honestly.
  • When you know that concerns are being raised by a patient or family member, ensure that every step you take is adequately documented.

Professionalism is not about perfectionism. All professionals make mistakes. However, we all need to ensure that we learn from our mistakes. By being alert to some of the root causes of unprofessional conduct we can do our very best in ensuring that we act as “true professionals”.

James T. Casey, Q.C. Field Law

Content from this article has been published with the permission of Field Law, and may be republished only with the consent of Field Law.  “Field Law” is a registered trademark of Field LLP.