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Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyerAlthough there are varying types of licenses for nurses, all types of licensed nursing professionals are equally underappreciated within their industry. It is a longstanding issue in our culture that nurses are simply there, and expected to be, with almost no acknowledgment of their incredibly difficult work environments and their understated utility in society. Simply put, we need nurses to survive, to heal, to navigate difficult medical situations, and despite the fact that we collectively know this, there is very little support given back to nurses. This lack of support manifests in extremely long hours, difficult clientele, difficult coworkers and management, devaluing from other healthcare professionals (such as physicians), and underpayment of wages comparative to the work that they do.

Understaffing, which we have previously written about, is the crux of many hardships that nurses face. Nursing applicants cannot apply fast enough to become licensed nurses. Because of the shortage of nurses, the work environment becomes much more tumultuous. People still get sick and need medical help at the same rate as they do whether nurses are prevalent or not, and there is little reprieve. This would already be difficult with an appropriate number of nurses, considering the work of caring for patients is very hard even if rewarding. However, due to the ongoing shortage, RNs, LPNs, and APNs all equally struggle despite having different licensure. Society generally does not understand the differences between these licenses, either, which places nurses in an undervalued position.

Nursing started out as a female-specific profession that allowed women to dip their toes into the medical field, without being able to be doctors. Although some things have certainly changed, including the fact that women are allowed to become physicians and nursing is no longer a female-only profession, there are a couple of factors that still align with this origin: poor pay because of the undervalued position, and the stigma of being relegated to a “lesser” position in the medical field. The reality is nurses are an integral, vital part of any medical environment and facilities would undoubtedly collapse without their presence. Despite this fact, nurses still struggle with inadequate pay comparative to their utility and necessity. When one is underpaid, feelings of underappreciation are commonly present. Being paid adequately is not just a fiscal matter, but also heavily factors into mental health, stress levels, and general self-value. Even if nurses continued to be overworked, being paid an amount that is appropriate for the work that they endure would tremendously improve working conditions and the self-valuation that occurs within the profession.

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Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyerDoctors are lauded figures in society who represent stability, health, safety, and trust. We often turn to doctors when we feel something is wrong with our bodies, and they help us get better and improve the quality of our lives. They are also heroic figures who save us in emergency situations. Yet licensed medical professionals of varying types are often struggling with substance abuse issues, and this reliance on substances directly stems from the harsh and unforgiving working conditions they endure.

It should not be surprising to hear that many licensed medical professionals struggle with abuse of alcohol, opioids, stimulants, and other drugs. They endure long hours, and often are called back into work outside of their normal hours to attend to emergency matters. They are always “on call,” literally and figuratively. If the long hours do not affect their livelihood, then one can point to a variety of other factors, including tragic medical situations, patient death, difficult patients, tumultuous management within their medical facility, staffing issues including negative relationships with coworkers and understaffing, and so much more. It is inarguable to say that licensed medical professionals endure immense stress in their careers. There is a proven link between stress and subsequent substance abuse.

Many medical professionals do not have a support system to help them cope with their difficult experiences in their careers. If the professional has a spouse who does not work in the same industry, there is a disconnect despite the spouse’s best efforts, because they simply do not have the same experiences. Yet if the spouse is also in the same industry, with both individuals struggling with these elements, it can be impossible to find the energy to support one another. Therapy and other mental health related support are recommended, but many licensed medical professionals cannot find the time to attend, or even find a therapist who can provide services after normal working hours. Lack of support can simply exacerbate existing emotional and mental issues, and cause a greater reliance on substances to cope.

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Chicago Healthcare License Defense LawyersWhen the pandemic started in March of 2020, many individuals found themselves in an unfamiliar situation: they had unlimited time at home. Individuals were encouraged to quarantine and stay at home to help us better navigate the pandemic. With this situation came one simple trend: an extreme boom in pet adoption. People far and wide were adopting their first pet, or adding more pets to their home. This was, in part, perhaps due to boredom, or perhaps due to the desirable opportunity of being able to spend as much time with the pet as possible. Regardless of the reason, pet ownership has peaked in 2020 and into 2021.

Meanwhile, veterinarians, considered essential workers, stayed open during the pandemic. Protocols may have changed, but animals still needed to be seen. Licensed veterinary professionals widely experienced a notable surge in patients and clients. People who had never had pets before due to time and lifestyle constraints were needing to book appointments for their newly adopted cat or dog. Commonly, newly adopted pets will need vaccinations, boosters, medications, preliminary check-ups, and sometimes even health-related treatments early on in their lives. For example, purebred animals often have health issues due to inbreeding or improper care. Pet owners, especially those who have never had pets before, are usually wildly unprepared for the costs and time spent ensuring their pet is safe and healthy.

A new trend has started to emerge, as noted by professionals who work in the animal care industry: new pet owners are beginning to return their pets to shelters or other adoption centers, or even surrendering the pets at veterinary offices. There are several reasons why this is occurring. With the slowing of the pandemic and the return to normalcy, people are going back to work in offices, and no longer have time to take care of pets. Some may also feel guilt that their pet, who had been enjoying time at home with their owner, will now be alone during work hours. Pet owners, especially those who had not previously had a pet, may also be shocked and burdened by the sometimes-unexpected costs of pet ownership. Another fiscal issue might be that pet owners have lost their steady income due to the pandemic and can no longer afford basic care for their pets. These reasons, and more, are what professionals have noted as the impetus for returning pets.

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Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyersThe dental industry experienced several unique conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, comparative to other licensed professionals. Prior to these conditions, dentists and hygienists certainly already had particularly sensitive working conditions with strict PPE protocols. Given the fact that their industry relies directly on work within the mouth, a pandemic that is spread through the nose and mouth is particularly detrimental to the ability to safely perform work.

Just like many industries, most dental practices initially closed at the start of the pandemic. However, due to the fact that their work requires access to the mouth, a threat of direct exposure during the pandemic from potentially ill clients was something that many professionals had to seriously consider when thinking of reopening. Many industries were able to implement strict social distancing protocols and mask mandates and greatly reduce the risk of spread and exposure; however, the dental industry is unable to follow all of these protocols since a mask cannot be worn during treatment. The common solution was to implement more stringent PPE protocols on behalf of the dentist or hygienist, who often wear a combination of face shield, (K)N95 masks, gloves, scrubs, hair nets, and other protective wear to help reduce their risk when treating clients. The costs of purchasing PPE increased exponentially and often became difficult to find for many professionals.

The particularly focused risk of exposure made many professionals delay reopening and remain closed as infection spread. Although remote work was/is an option for many industries, there is very little that can be done in the dental industry beyond internal billing and general administrative work. Income is produced almost solely from in-patient visits. If patients are not allowed in the office or the office is entirely closed, then income cannot be generated. Many dental professionals suffered from an extreme loss of income that could only be rectified if they reopened under what were considered to be generally unsafe conditions. This struggle placed many professionals in a precarious position with few options for help. The inevitability of reopening and the unwavering support of client demand has allowed many of those who struggled to bounce back as conditions improve in the pandemic.

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Chicago Healthcare License Defense AttorneysThe clerical aspect of data collection in the medical industry is not often included in the immediate list of important concerns for licensed medical professionals. However, what data is collected, how it is collected, how it is distributed, and how it is accessed are just a few of the common, overarching issues that licensed medical professionals may personally encounter, and certainly a larger issue in the industry as a whole.

One component that makes the data itself problematic is the manner by which it is collected. A patient may see multiple providers, or go to multiple medical facilities. They may employ their insurance for certain visits, but other visits may not be covered. How does the patient’s medical history from one hospital visit make it into their file when they visit a completely different hospital or doctor? What about if they visit a hospital or medical facility in an entirely different city, state, or even country? Each individual facility certainly collects the data on the patient and retains it within their system. However, these systems are isolated and subject to the particular protocols of that specific facility that the patient visited. Of course, other medical facilities can “order” this patient history from different medical facilities, but this process is inconsistent and may take precious time that is needed to properly treat the patient.

In addition to the isolated nature of medical data collection, the issue is that a patient is often expected to self-report their entire medical history to help better guide their treating physician. Patients are unreliable for various reasons, including shame/guilt/embarrassment, forgetting and inadvertently omitting medical visits and information, improperly remembering specific medical issues, lack of knowledge on previously used medications, inability to correctly identify dates, times, and facilities, and so much more. If a patient enters a medical treatment facility, the licensed medical professional may simply rely on the patient to provide a relatively accurate snapshot of their medical history, and this is not reliable. This occurs, in short, because our nation does not have a systemwide medical data program that allows each person to have a conglomerate report of their medical history to easily provide to the person treating them.

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