Impaired Professionals

Impairment has been defined as the condition of being unable to perform one’s professional duties and responsibilities in a reasonable manner and consistent with professional standards. Despite the often rigorous employment application process, even well selected, trained, and experienced personnel can experience significant on the job difficulties.

Interference in professional functioning can be observed in one or more of the following ways:

  • The most frequently discussed form of impairment is alcohol and/or illicit abuse or dependence, and/or the misuse or abuse of over the counter or prescription medication
  • An inability to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency
  • An inability and/or an unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one’s repertoire of professional behavior (e.g., unethical conduct)
  • An inability to manage personal stress, psychological dysfunction, and/or extreme emotional reactions that can interfere with professional duties

Individuals typically referred include:

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Corporate executives
  • Mental health professionals
  • Attorneys
  • Academic faculty
  • Professional child or elder care providers