Tribunal imposes conditions on enrolled nurse for professional misconduct

14 Mar 2017

A tribunal has reprimanded an enrolled nurse (EN) and placed conditions on her registration after it found she engaged in professional misconduct relating to failures to administer medication.

The State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in Western Australia found that Ms Camille Faith Els behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct, after she admitted to several failures to practise in accordance with the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses.

On 21 March 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) received a notification alleging that Ms Els inappropriately discarded patients’ medications into a bin and then falsified the patients’ medications charts by signing the medications as given, in circumstances where she had not administered the medications. On 9 September 2016, the NMBA referred the matter to the tribunal.

At an early stage Ms Els admitted that she had:

  1. failed to administer scheduled medication to residents at Opal Aged Care during the morning medication round
  2. inappropriately discarded medication from the morning medication round into a waste bin when it was scheduled to be administered to residents
  3. made false entries in the clinical records by initialing to indicate that she had administered scheduled medication to residents when she had not done so, and
  4. by virtue of the conduct above, breached the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses (August 2008), by failing to:
    1. practise in a safe and competent manner
    2. practise in accordance with the standards of the profession and broader health system, and
    3. practise nursing reflectively and ethically, in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia (May 2013).

Ms Els admitted professional misconduct and, by way of mitigation, submitted that:

  • she was open and honest immediately following the event and admitted the conduct to her employer and to the Board
  • on 12 March 2016, she was not feeling well, was depressed and anxious being at work, she also felt pressurized to complete the medication rounds and could not cope that day
  • she was under counseling and medication for depression, stress and anxiety, which was known to her manager
  • she accepted that her actions were wrong and unacceptable and deeply regrets what she did, and
  • she otherwise has a clean disciplinary history and has been employed as an EN since the event, with no issues regarding her conduct or performance.

On 25 January 2017, the Tribunal ordered that Ms Els had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct, and ordered:

  1. Ms Els be reprimanded;
  2. Ms Els registration be subject to conditions which require her to (amongst other things):
    1. be supervised when undertaking medication management and administration, and
    2. undertake education in relation to medication management and administration, clinical record keeping and ethics.
  3. Ms Els is to pay the Board’s costs fixed at $1,850.

The decision has been published on the State Administrative Tribunal website.

 
 
Page reviewed 14/03/2017