Tribunal reprimands former nurse

20 Dec 2019

A tribunal has reprimanded a former nurse who misappropriated medications during a period of serious mental health issues.

DDN was a registered nurse working at a hospital when, between December 2016 and February 2017, she misappropriated medications from her employer for self-administration. This conduct occurred in the context of serious mental health issues and DDN stockpiled the medications for the purpose of suicide, which was attempted in February 2017. Following her attempted suicide, DDN was admitted as an involuntary inpatient for 10 days. It was not suggested that DDN’s conduct resulted in medication being diverted from patients who needed it.

DDN stopped working as a registered nurse and engaged in psychological treatment.  On 7 March 2017, DDN provided an undertaking not to practise and on 1 June 2017, allowed her registration to lapse. DDN has not been registered since that time.

In July 2017, DDN was charged with criminal offences in relation to the misappropriation of medications and in November 2017 the criminal proceedings were resolved via a diversion plan. After DDN completed the diversion plan, the criminal charges were struck out. 

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) referred DDN to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal). The tribunal found that DDN’s conduct constitutes professional misconduct and reprimanded her. The tribunal considered that a reprimand was sufficient and a disqualification period was not warranted because, among other things:

  • DDN’s mental state provided the reason and context for her conduct
  • DDN acknowledged the seriousness of her conduct and demonstrated remorse
  • there was no evidence of risk to any patient nor any direct harm to the public
  • there have been no previous complaints or issues concerning DDN’s conduct, and
  • DDN will not automatically be registered in future – if she wishes to apply, she must satisfy the NMBA that registration is appropriate.

The full decision is published the Austlii website

Note: The practitioner can’t be named for legal reasons.

Please note: due to an administrative delay, this news item was published on 23 November 2020. 

 
 

 
 
Page reviewed 20/12/2019