The following is a brief review of recent VCAT decisions in proceedings brought by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Victoria.

Dalton

It was alleged that Nurse Dalton had an inappropriate relationship with a psychiatric patient in his care, which continued after the patient was discharged. The nurse was reprimanded, his registration was cancelled and he was disqualified from re-applying for registration for 12 months.1

Chen

The Board brought proceedings against Nurse Chen following formal notification to AHPRA of a number of instances of unprofessional conduct. The Tribunal found that the nurse’s competencies fell well short of practice standards and that a “refresher” course was insufficient. Chen was required to undertake full undergraduate re-training in order to practise as a nurse again.

The Tribunal commented on the distinction between cancellation and suspension of registration. Whereas suspension indicates some confidence in a nurse’s future ability to practise, cancellation “sends a clear message of unsuitability to practise”.2

Hill-Murray 

Nurse Hill-Murray was alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship with a psychiatric patient, which included being verbally and physically aggressive towards the patient and consuming the patient’s prescription medications. The nurse was reprimanded, had his registration cancelled and was prohibited from re-applying for registration for 12 months.3

Omant

Nurse Omant pleaded guilty to three offences concerning child pornography. The Board brought a separate proceeding against him in relation to the same subject matter. The Tribunal issued a reprimand, suspended him for twelve months and imposed conditions on his registration relating to counselling and employment.4

Dizon

Nurse Dizon had committed criminal offences including two charges of armed robbery, one charge of theft, and one charge of possessing a drug of dependence. He was reprimanded, his registration was cancelled and he was prohibited from re-applying for registration for two years.5

Bartlett

Nurse Bartlett had falsified her timesheets and received overpayments amounting to $64,394.38. During proceedings in the Magistrates Court, the nurse was alleged to have misled the Court through her conduct. She was reprimanded by the Tribunal, her registration as a nurse and midwife was cancelled and she was prohibited from re-applying for registration for a period of two years.6

Comment

A number of these cases involve inappropriate relationships with patients. To view further commentary on this topic, please see our December 2013 edition of PULSE. It is imperative that health practitioners maintain professional boundaries at all times.