Nurses suspended for drug theft, workplace use

One nurse left patients in pain after taking their drugs

Both nurses in the recent decision had conditions linked to the theft of medical narcotics that led to suspensions. | Getty Images

The B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives in August suspended two nurses for taking and using medical narcotics for their own use.

In the first case, an unnamed nurse was suspended for two months after it was found they had taken medical narcotics and was impaired at work for a three-month period.

“The former Registrant also diverted medications directly from patients leaving them in pain on at least one occasion,” an Aug. 15 college decision said. Records were also falsified to obscure the medication diversion and impairment, according to the decision.

Further, the nurse was diagnosed with a medical condition and admitted a connection between that condition and the misconduct.

The suspended nurse must be assessed - medically and for competence and fitness of character - prior to being allowed to register to practice again after the suspension.

The nurse will also be restricted from working overtime and working nights for a term, as well as being limited from acting in supervisory capacity or being the sole regulated nurse on ward duty.

The restrictions also include preclusion from access to narcotics, benzodiazepines, controlled substances and certain sedatives for a lengthy term.

According to the decision, the nurse must also submit to regular reports from a medical monitoring agency regarding compliance with treatment recommendations and disclosure to the employer.

“A physician specializing in addiction medicine provided recommendations for a safe return to nursing practise,” the decision said.

In the second case, a nurse, also unnamed, significantly took narcotics and was impaired at work over a period of about two years.

“Patient care records were tampered with to obscure diversion and impairment,” the decision said. “The registrant also diverted medications directly from a patient on at least two occasions.” There too, the nurse was diagnosed with a medical condition and admitted a connection between that and the misconduct.

The nurse in the second case completed treatment for the issue, the decision said, and an addiction medicine doctor has given recommendations for a safe return to practise. Upon return, a suspension of nine weeks will take place.

The suspended nurse will also be restricted from working overtime and working nights for a term. Restrictions included being limited from acting in supervisory capacity and being the sole regulated nurse on ward duty. Again, the nurse will be precluded from access to narcotics, benzodiazepines, controlled substances and certain sedatives for a lengthy term.

Both decisions are to remain in place for a minimum of four years.

The decisions were anonymized due to the medical conditions.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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