23 Sep 2018
A tribunal has cancelled a nurse’s registration for professional misconduct.
From 2010, the practitioner had experienced periods of addiction to opioids, triggered by pain or physical injury. Over the period 2010-2014, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) took action to protect the public by, for example, requiring the practitioner to undergo health assessments, placing conditions on the practitioner’s registration, among other things.
In August 2014, the NMBA started an investigation into potential breaches of those conditions, following the practitioner’s failure to comply with urine analysis.
In December 2014, the NMBA was notified that the practitioner had been charged with offences relating to the theft of prescription pads and an attempt to fill a forged prescription. The NMBA suspended the practitioner’s registration, which remained suspended until its cancellation by the tribunal.
In May 2015, the practitioner was found guilty of theft and attempting to obtain property by deception in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. The practitioner was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking and no conviction was recorded.
In December 2016, the NMBA referred the practitioner to the tribunal for professional misconduct concerning their failure to meet conditions on their registration, including random urine tests and only working at an approved place of practice, and the conduct that resulted in the findings of the Magistrates’ Court.
The practitioner admitted the facts and on 4 September 2018, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found their behaviour amounted to professional misconduct, reprimanded them and cancelled their registration.
While the tribunal cancelled their registration, it declined to impose a period of disqualification. This was due to evidence demonstrating the practitioner was drug free; and the fact that they had already been unable to practice for more than three and a half years. It concluded that a further period of disqualification would be unduly punitive.