An Idaho OB-GYN has been suspended from her job after a TikTok video captured her in the midst of a profanity-filled rant about her patients. The video went viral before it was removed.
Dr. Rachel Oliver, whose primary practice is/was at OGA Women's Health Clinic in Nampa, ID, was caught on a smartphone angrily referring to her patients as "f****** fat and stupid." The clinic has released a statement on Facebook: “We are aware of the video circulating of Dr. Oliver behaving in a manner that does not align with, or reflect, our values. We have taken immediate action and suspended Dr. Oliver while we continue to investigate this incident. “We do not condone, or agree with, any of these hurtful and inappropriate statements and apologize to our patients and community for any suffering this has caused.”
Off-Duty Behavior and Your Professional License
While there's no indication as yet that the Idaho Board of Medicine has taken action against Dr. Oliver (her license is up for renewal this year), this story raises an important issue that healthcare professionals and other licensed professionals should consider. As a professional, you know the importance of understanding and adhering to all regulations and protocols related to your license. But what about when you're off-duty? Many don't realize that their off-duty behavior can have negative consequences, not just at their place of employment but also impacting their license to practice. After all, state licensing boards are not just concerned about their licensees' adherence to professional standards while on the job. They're also concerned about what happens during off hours because they know that your behavior "off the clock" can affect your professional credibility the same as what you do in the office. If a patient, coworker, or even a bystander observes you acting in an inappropriate manner--anytime, anywhere--they can file a complaint with your licensing board, and that can trigger an investigation.
Social Media Risks
In the age of social media, it's easier than ever for potential employers and licensing boards to access information about you. This means that off-duty behavior can become public knowledge very quickly, potentially damaging your reputation and impacting your ability to get or maintain a license. Even if you're not posting or sharing inappropriate content on your own social accounts, it's important to remember that other people could be posting or sharing images of you that may not reflect well on your professional career. If you post something that could be interpreted as unprofessional or unethical--or if someone captures you in an uncharacteristically candid moment--it can come back to haunt you if someone in a position of authority sees it. If a licensing board determines that your post indicates unprofessional conduct, they may initiate disciplinary action against you. This is why it is essential to always think twice before posting anything online that could potentially be used against you professionally.
Of course, the other side of living in this non-private world is that there's always a risk that your actions and words could be taken out of context. If you find yourself in this situation, taking quick action to seek experienced legal counsel could save your professional license and career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his license defense legal team have nationwide experience and a successful track record helping people whose presumed private moments have become public knowledge and now threaten their license. If your license is at risk, we can help. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.