Tribunal disqualifies former nurse for professional misconduct

11 Feb 2021

A tribunal has disqualified a former registered nurse from applying for registration for six months for professional misconduct concerning criminal convictions and contraventions of obligations under the National Law.

On 18 June 2020, Ms Ashlie Maher was convicted of three criminal charges: 
  •  possession of methylamphetamine
  • possession of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and
  • use of methylamphetamine.

Ms Maher failed to inform the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) of the charges within seven days, as required under the National Law. In August 2018, the NMBA took immediate action to protect the public and Ms Maher gave the Board an undertaking not to practise as a nurse. Ms Maher later failed to provide practice information when requested by the NMBA.

After an investigation, the NMBA referred Ms Maher to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in September 2019.  Ms Maher did not participate in the tribunal proceedings.

In March 2020, Ms Maher’s application for renewal of registration was taken to have been withdrawn. Ms Maher was not registered at the time of the tribunal hearing.

On 7 October 2020, the tribunal found that Ms Maher’s conduct constituted professional misconduct, reprimanded Ms Maher and disqualified her from applying for registration as a nurse until 6 April 2021.

The tribunal noted that although Ms Maher’s offending occurred outside of practice, it amounted to professional misconduct because the convictions were such that they may have affected Ms Maher’s suitability to practise. The tribunal also noted the harmful and highly addictive nature of methylamphetamine and the potential impact on professional practice.

The tribunal observed the regulatory importance of the obligations of practitioners under the National Law. The tribunal also noted that practitioners are expected to be aware of and comply with these obligations.

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

 
 
Page reviewed 11/02/2021