Tribunal reprimands nurse and places conditions on her registration

14 Jul 2016

A tribunal has reprimanded a nurse and placed conditions on her registration after finding she engaged in professional misconduct. 

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has reprimanded Ruth Nyuk Joon Fields (previously known as Ruth Welling) and imposed conditions on her registration after it found she had engaged in professional misconduct while employed as Executive Director of AdventCare, an aged care organisation based in Victoria.

The tribunal ordered Mrs Fields to undertake education and mentoring, and restricted her dealings with patient finances. Mrs Field was also ordered not to have any contact with clients for six months, except in cases of emergencies.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) referred Mrs Fields to the tribunal after receiving a notification from her employer in 2013.

The professional misconduct admitted to by Mrs Fields, included:

  • in October 2012, Mrs Fields initiated the withdrawal of $20,000 belonging to a client of AdventCare, which she then accepted by cheque into her own account
  • in November 2012, she arranged for the client to appoint Mrs Fields as her enduring power of attorney (financial) when the client in question did not have the legal capacity to do so owing to an acquired brain injury, and
  • in 2012, she failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with the client.

The tribunal found that Mrs Fields engaged in professional misconduct as defined in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5 of the National Law1.

The reasons for the tribunal’s decision are published on the AustLII website.

1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in place in each state and territory (the National Law).

Page reviewed 14/07/2016