Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - Tribunal reprimands nurse for professional misconduct
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Tribunal reprimands nurse for professional misconduct

09 Apr 2020

A tribunal has reprimanded a registered nurse and ordered that conditions be imposed on her registration after she showed colleagues a distressing video of child abuse on her mobile phone.

Ms Rita Adenike Johnson was a registered nurse working at an aged care facility. On a night shift between 3 and 4 November 2018, she showed two colleagues a video of an adult male sexually abusing an infant. Ms Johnson had been sent the video unsolicited as part of a WhatsApp group.

Her colleagues raised concerns regarding the nature of the video and, after helping her delete the video from her phone, they reported the incident to their employer who suspended Ms Johnson. Ms Johnson later resigned. Her possession of the video was investigated by police, but no charges were laid.

The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal) accepted that Ms Johnson found the content of the video abhorrent, that there was no intention to harm others and that this was an isolated incident. However, the tribunal found that the act of a nurse showing colleagues child exploitation material of the most serious kind in the workplace amounts to professional misconduct.

The tribunal found that Ms Johnson’s conduct was undertaken with no prurient intent but was unsafe and unlawful conduct (despite police not charging Ms Johnson). The tribunal considered that Ms Johnson had suffered significant consequences in losing her job and being unable to find work. However, it did not consider that a period of suspension was required and was of the view that education may assist the Ms Johnson to understand her conduct.

The tribunal ordered that Ms Johnson is reprimanded and conditions be placed on her registration requiring completion of a program of education and a reflective practice report.

The tribunal’s decision is available on the Austlii website.

Please note: due to an administrative delay, this news item was published on 8 September 2020.

Page reviewed 9/04/2020