Tribunal disqualifies nurse for professional misconduct

03 Jul 2019

A tribunal has disqualified a nurse from applying for registration for professional misconduct following an unnecessary and inappropriate physical examination of a patient.

On 6 December 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) referred Mr Lealofioaana Nofoasaefa to the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal). Due to a jurisdictional issue identified by the NMBA, the application was re-filed with the tribunal on 12 November 2018.

The NMBA alleged that on 23 May 2015, Mr Nofoasaefa had, among other things:

  • performed a visual and physical examination of a patient’s vagina which was not necessary or appropriate in the circumstances;
  • failed to adequately document his examinations of the patient; and
  • failed to provide adequate handover to a GP regarding his examinations of the patient.

Mr Nofoasaefa has not practised as a nurse since May 2015 and his nursing registration lapsed on 31 May 2017 after he failed to renew.

Mr Nofoasaefa admitted the allegations and that his behaviour constituted professional misconduct. Mr Nofoasaefa also admitted that his behaviour breached the Code of professional conduct for nurses in Australia and the National competency standards for the registered nurse.

On 14 December 2018, by an agreement between the parties, the tribunal made orders reprimanding Mr Nofoasaefa and disqualifying him from applying for registration until 31 December 2018. The tribunal noted that, but for a significant time period involved in resolving the jurisdictional issue identified by the NMBA, it would have disqualified Mr Nofoasaefa for seven months. Mr Nofoasaefa was also ordered to pay $2,500 towards the NMBA’s costs.

The tribunal took into account, as mitigating factors, that Mr Nofoasaefa:

  • had fully cooperated with the NMBA’s investigation
  • had not practised as a nurse since May 2015
  • had not previously been the subject of a complaint to the NMBA
  • was practising in an area where there is evidence of high rates of HIV, and he was not aware that the patient had previously been tested for sexually transmitted diseases
  • due to his workload, did not have enough time to fully document the assessment, and
  • was charged with sexual penetration without consent and was later acquitted of this charge, as the jury unanimously decided that he was not guilty.

The tribunal’s decision is published on the tribunal website.

 
 
Page reviewed 3/07/2019