Unethical and unlawful conduct

Conviction, fine and ban for health practitioner who presented a forged script at a pharmacy, misappropriated opioids and removed medicines from Webster-paks

A Victorian woman has been reprimanded and banned from re-applying for registration for two years after misconduct while working as a nurse between 2015 and 2017.

In 2016, the woman was found guilty, convicted and fined on one count of receipt of stolen goods and one count of uttering of a forged prescription, after presenting a false prescription for OxyContin at the Nova Pharmacy at the Gateway Shopping Centre in Langwarrin, Melbourne the year prior.

“It is self-evident that the theft of a prescription pad and the presentation of a forged prescription by a nurse is likely to affect the good reputation and standing of the nursing profession,” found the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a decision handed down this week.

In November 2017, the woman was also charged with theft of medication.

Earlier that year, she was found to have inappropriately removed and subsequently returned 12 tramadol tablets from a Webster-pak while working as a nurse at an aged care facility.

Her actions were discovered during a daily review of S4 and S8 medications the following day, where it was noticed that a dose administration aid (DAA) containing 12 tramadol tablets had been tampered with and surgical tape applied to the back of the pack.

CCTV footage showed the woman taking out a DAA that contained tramadol and “popping” the blister pack. She consequently returned and taped the DAA closed.

There was no evidence to suggest that the patient required tramadol at the time, nor did the nurse complete an incident form indicating she had noticed a resident’s DAA had tape over the back of it or appeared to have been tampered with.

A few days later, it was also noticed that one Targin tablet was missing from a DAA.

CCTV footage showed the nurse removed a Targin tablet from a patient’s DAA scheduled for a few days later. There was no incident form explaining why a dose may have been administered early.

She was found guilty without conviction for the theft of one tablet of Targin at Ringwood Magistrates’ Court and gave an undertaking of good behaviour.

However the nurse then failed to notify the Board that she had been convicted of offences punishable by imprisonment.

She also failed to provide a statement detailing the changes in her criminal history when she renewed her nursing registration for the 2016-17 year, as required under the National Law.

The Tribunal found this omission was a “‘proactive dishonest act”, and it was comfortably satisfied that the particulars of each allegation were established.

It found her guilty of professional misconduct, describing her conduct as “unethical and unlawful”.

The woman’s registration as a nurse lapsed on 31 May 2017 and she has not been registered since that time.

She was reprimanded and disqualified from re-applying for registration for a period of two years.

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