06 Sep 2021
A tribunal has ordered that a registered nurse’s registration be cancelled after she engaged in professional misconduct by failing to undergo a health assessment.
In January 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) took immediate action to suspend EEB’s registration after a notification was made about her health and conduct. The NMBA referred EEB to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal).
In its November 2020 decision, the tribunal did not find all allegations in relation to EEB’s conduct proven. However, it did find that between 5 February 2019 and 19 September 2019, EEB failed to acknowledge, or comply with, a requirement to attend a health assessment on two occasions or provide any reasonable excuse for her failure to attend. The NMBA had required the health assessment after a notification had been made about EEB’s alleged misappropriation of Fentanyl (ultimately not found proven by the tribunal), and because of her previous history. In 2015, EEB had misappropriated and self-administered Propofol from her workplace and her subsequent engagement in a health assessment process with the Board had revealed related health conditions.
In the tribunal’s 23 June 2021 decision, it found that EEB’s conduct of failing to attend a health assessment amounted to professional misconduct and cancelled her registration. The tribunal found that such conduct was substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered nurse of an equivalent level of training or experience. The tribunal noted EEB’s level of experience as a practitioner and the fact she knew why the health assessment was required and yet did not attend or contact the NMBA over that seven-month period. Further, the tribunal considered EEB’s conduct had the potential to frustrate the Board’s performance of its functions and demonstrated disrespect for the standards of the profession.
The tribunal noted that cancellation would not necessarily be a usual determination for this kind of conduct but that it was appropriate to ensure protection of the public. Further, the tribunal noted if EEB seeks to resume practice, it is appropriate that she be required to make a fresh application to the Board and be subject to the usual considerations for registration including an assessment of her fitness to practice at the relevant time.
The tribunal’s decisions were published on the Austlii website on 20 November 2020 and 23 June 2021.
Please note that the practitioner’s name has been withheld due to a suppression order.