Nurses have always worked in a position of trust.
Let’s face it – we have easy access to drugs and medication, and we look after patients and families who are brittle, broken and vulnerable.
It’s quite rare, thankfully, to come across nurses who abuse this trust – its the reason why Nursing has again been awarded the most highly regarded, ethical and honest of all professions in Australia.
I choose to believe that this is because the heart of our profession is based on a genuine desire to care for people when they are weak, broken, and unwell.
We as nurses probably all feel a bit annoyed therefore when we see headlines like the following, posted on the AHPPRA website this week:
Tribunal Reprimands, Disqualifies Nurse and Cancels Registration
The South Australian Health Practitioners Tribunal has reprimanded Ms Jayne Morley, cancelling her registration as a nurse and disqualifying her from applying for registration until 1 January 2018.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia referred Ms Morley to the tribunal alleging that she dishonestly took a patient’s credit card and charged to it a total of $1,552.
It doesn’t elaborate on why the nurse took the money, but it really must come down to greed, or feeling like your personal desire (or need) to pay bills, or fund addictions, or whatever the scenario may be, is more important than maintaining high standards of professional conduct and not taking advantage of people.
You just can’t do that!
Regardless of your personal situation, nurses work in positions of trust and rely heavily on each other to ‘not break the code of trust’, so to speak.
In this encounter it was found that the nurse’s behaviour was a serious breach of trust amounting to professional misconduct and therefore was inconsistent with her being fit and proper to hold registration.
The tribunal imposed the following disciplinary measures:
- reprimanded her in the strongest possible terms
(what does this even mean: “very bad, young lady… VERY bad!”)
- cancelled her registration
- disqualified her from applying for registration until 1 January 2018, and
- prohibited her from providing the service of nursing or midwifery until 1 January 2018.
Too harsh? I should mention that this nurse was also found to have made misrepresentations to the Board about her past criminal history, by failing to disclose convictions for prior dishonesty offences as part of her registration renewal.
*NB – You can also read the full tribunal decision – the nurse involved was an EN (Enrolled Nurse). I’d be interested to know if there is some link between the amount of time and effort it has taken to gain qualifications & the desire to not do anything which would jeopardise the right to practice. i.e., are we less likely to see RN’s and Nurse Practitioners abuse their hard earned position of trust? I suspect so… (No disrespect intended to the hundreds of fantastic, caring EN’s I have worked with)
Basically the moral of the story here is that we should be thankful and humbled that the community, patients and families put their trust in our care, particularly when they are vulnerable and weak.
In my opinion, to take advantage of a patient for your own monetary (or other) gain should result in heavy disciplinary consequences, and should probably (like in this case) include at the very least some degree of restrictions placed on your registration.
Am I wrong here?