© Catherine L. Waltz, PhD, LCSW

September 11, 2014

While preparing to provide the new Renewal Florida Laws & Rules course I found approximately 15 law changes since 2010.  I focus on those changes when providing the course.  But, I believe that I am going to have to change that process.  It may be necessary to go further back to ensure that participants really know what the laws and rules say to guide us now, in 2014.

When was the last time you read the laws and rules that make up our practice act?  I recently had an experience that challenged my memory.  I remembered a law one way and misread the current law “seeing” what I thought was unchanged.  I reported that inaccurate information to graduate class this summer.  Thank goodness a couple students came to me to clarify my statement.  As soon as I could check I found the change to which they referred, reread the section and committed the main points to memory.  But, isn’t that part of our problem?

Having a good Memory is something in which most of us feel some pride.  However, our memories can be so helpful and so wrong! What we remember about various statutes and rules governing our professions and practices may very well have changed dramatically over the years since we became licensed.  Since 2013 I have been informally gathering pre-test information about the laws and rules associated with Registered Interns and supervision from participants in my Qualified Supervisor course.  Not one participant (of 28 questionnaires reviewed for this article) was able to answer all of the questions correctly at the beginning of the workshop.  For example, they do not know how many hours of supervision are required or how many clinical contact hours the supervisee will need to complete during the internship.  Other examples include their uncertainty about procedures for changing supervisors, reporting hours completed and whether or not a registered intern can have a private practice.  We spend a significant portion of the program reviewing relevant statutes and rules so that they know what to discuss with their future Registered Intern supervisees before and during supervision.

Interestingly, training participants nearly always state that they are concerned about their liability and possible malpractice suits related to their practices and, especially, in regards to supervision.  However, one positive risk management procedure for all of us is to read and know the laws and rules.  When was the last time you read the laws and rules?  We are not required to have the Renewal Laws and Rules course until 2019, but, is it prudent for you to wait?

– Catherine L. Waltz, PhD, is an adjunct professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Barry University.  She is a continuing education provider in the state of Florida providing courses on professional ethics, laws and rules, supervision, mental health error prevention:  https://drwaltz.com/courses/workshops-at-a-glance You can contact her at the email link at the top of our webpage.

The educational commentaries provided by Dr. Waltz do not constitute a legal opinion.  If legal advice is needed, it is recommended that contact be made with an attorney qualified in the jurisdiction in which you practice or is applicable to your case.  We recommend that you use your knowledge of the law and your code of ethics in conjunction with this information (and any other) when deciding upon a course of action.