Course Summary

The health profession is one that is often rewarding and fulfilling; however, healthcare professionals may at times encounter the difficult situation of working with an impaired colleague, or with a person who has returned to work under supervision because of prior impairment. Workplace impairment may be from substance use, emotional or physical health problems, or relationship problems that have affected the individual’s ability to deliver safe and appropriate patient care. When a healthcare professional is impaired, there is a greater risk that a patient’s care will be compromised. Impairment can also lead to devastating effects on coworkers, the healthcare facility involved, and health consumers in general. Managing impairment in the workplace involves understanding the signs and symptoms of impairment, removing the impaired person from direct contact with patients if necessary, and then being able to provide support to a person who is impaired. Healthcare professionals also need to know when and how to report a colleague who exhibits signs of impairment at work.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

  • Introduction
  • Acknowledging and Defining Impairment in Healthcare
  • Impact of Impairment in the Workplace
  • Prevalence of Impairment in Healthcare
  • Causes of Impairment in Healthcare
    • Substance Use Disorder
    • Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Mental Illness
    • Sleep Disorders
    • Physical Illness or Disability
    • Fatigue
  • Disabilities and Accommodations
  • Identifying the Signs of Impairment
    • Changes in a Coworkers Behaviors
    • Physical Signs and Symptoms of Impairment
    • Signs of Drug Diversion
    • Signs and Symptoms of a Substance Use Disorder
    • Compassion Fatigue
  • Barriers to Seeking Assistance
    • Denial and Defensiveness
    • Fear and Embarrassment
  • Employer Initiatives for Workplace Safety
    • Education and Training
    • Early Intervention
    • Workplace Policies
    • Drug-Testing
    • Drug-Free Workplace
    • Employee Assistance Programs
    • Alternatives-to-discipline Programs
    • Compassion and the Impaired Worker
  • Reporting and Documenting Impairment
    • Reporting an Impaired Colleague
    • Documenting Impairment
    • Florida Mandatory Reporting Statute, Section 464.018
  • Treatment Programs for Impaired Workers
  • Case Study: Workplace Impairment in the Operating Room
    • Discussion
  • Summary


Noah H. Carpenter, MD

Dr. Noah Carpenter is a Thoracic and Peripheral Vascular Surgeon. He completed his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and medical school and training at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Carpenter completed surgical residency and fellowship at the University of Edmonton and Affiliated Hospitals in Edmonton, Alberta, and an additional Adult Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has specialized in microsurgical techniques, vascular endoscopy, laser and laparoscopic surgery in Brandon, Manitoba and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and in Colorado, Texas, and California. Dr. Carpenter has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Calgary, and was appointed a Citizen Ambassador to China, and has served as a member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the Canadian College of Health Service Executives, the Science Institute of the Northwest Territories, Canada Science Council, and the International Society of Endovascular Surgeons, among others. He has been an inspiration to youth, motivating them to understand the importance of achieving higher education.

William Cook, PhD

William Cook, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who worked for 15 years in private practice in Montana before leaving his practice to work full time as the Director of CE4Less. He earned his doctorate degree from Texas A&M University, and focused much of his psychology practice in the area of child and family counseling, as well as psychological testing. Dr. Cook likes new challenges, foreign traveling to Africa and areas of Europe and the near East, scuba diving, running, music, and spending time with his family.

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