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

Tribunal reprimands nurse for professional misconduct

17 Feb 2022

A tribunal has reprimanded a registered nurse after she supplied her son with tobacco and cannabis while he was in prison.

In August 2017, Ms Marlene Verna Williams visited her adult son at a correctional facility. She passed him tobacco and cannabis, which was seen by a correctional officer who located the drugs. Ms Williams cooperated with police and in July 2019 pleaded guilty to supplying a dangerous drug (cannabis) within a correctional facility and giving a prohibited thing (tobacco) to a prisoner.
 
In respect of the cannabis charge, Ms Williams was sentenced to four months imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months. A conviction was recorded for the tobacco charge but she was not further punished. Ms Williams spent no time in prison. The sentencing judge commented that it was ‘a sad case of a woman who’s worked her whole life, never been in trouble, being prevailed on by her children to do something that she probably regrets.’
 
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) referred Ms Williams to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal) on the grounds of her convictions and failing to provide written notice to the NMBA within seven days of being charged and convicted.
 
In its 29 September 2021 decision, the tribunal found that Ms Williams’ criminal conduct amounted to professional misconduct and her failure to provide notice to the NMBA was unprofessional misconduct. The tribunal reprimanded Ms Williams’ but did not suspend her registration, taking into account that (at the time of the hearing) she was one of only two registered nurses at a rural aged care facility. The tribunal considered that the facility would suffer significant detriment if Ms Williams were to be suspended from practise, exacerbated by a shortage of experienced nurses in aged care and rural areas.
 
The tribunal’s decision was published on 7 October 2021 on the Austlii website
 
 
 
Page reviewed 17/02/2022