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Albert Kwan JD87033
Allegations and Plea
The College alleged that the Member committed professional misconduct by engaging in a personal, romantic and sexual relationship with a client, abusing another client, misappropriating medications and violating the boundaries of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship with both clients.
The College and the Member jointly submitted an agreement to the following facts.
The Member worked at a mental health facility and provided direct nursing care to Client A between December 2012 and January 2013. Client A was an inpatient who was being treated for a mental health disorder that was in an acute phase and had a fairly extensive history with the facility relating to additional mental health disorders. On December 31, 2012, the Member asked Client A to step off facility grounds to purchase cigarettes, which was in contravention to Client A’s care plan and facility policy. Before Client A’s discharge, the Member asked for Client A’s phone number, which Client A provided. Shortly after Client A’s discharge, the Member began texting Client A. In February 2013, the Member and Client A had breakfast. In March of the same year, the Member asked Client A to see a movie with him. The Member rented a hotel room, and he and Client A engaged in sexual acts.
Between March and June 2013, the Member frequently stayed at Client A’s apartment, which Client A shared with a parent, Client B. When Client B tried to take a picture of the Member so that Client B could report the Member’s relationship with Client A to the Facility, the Member grabbed Client B’s arm to remove the phone from Client B’s hand. Client B reported this incident to the police. The Member subsequently discussed with Client A his desire to harm Client B. Client A told Client B to move out, and the Member moved in and started paying half the rent. When the Member lived with Client A, he provided Client A with medications he had stolen from the Facility and made suggestions about which medications Client A should take and the appropriate dosage. Between March and September 2013, the Member engaged in a personal, romantic and sexual relationship with Client A, which included sexual intercourse. Client A became psychologically reliant on the Member’s advice and physically reliant on the medications he was providing. The relationship had a negative impact on Client A’s emotional and physical well-being, including Client A’s ability to contact and trust Facility staff.
The Member provided direct nursing care to Client B in December 2012. Client B was an inpatient who was being treated for a mental health disorder that was in an acute phase. Not long after Client B was discharged, the Member entered into a personal relationship with Client B by staying at Client A’s apartment. While Client B was living with Client A, the Member showed Client B neck exercises that the Member knew could be harmful to Client B and which made Client B’s neck sore. The Member also engaged in conduct that made Client B feel uncomfortable, including staring at Client B in an intimidating manner. Further, when Client B tried to take a picture of the Member, the Member dug his nails into Client B’s wrist and squeezed. Client B reported this to the police.
The Panel found that the Member:
- failed to meet the standards of practice by accompanying Client A to the store to purchase cigarettes contrary to Client A’s care plan, asked Client A to leave Client A’s phone number, asked Client A to go for coffee shortly after Client’s A’s discharge, engaged in a sexual relationship with Client A, frequently stayed at the apartment Client A shared with Client B, lived with Client A and paid half the rent, provided Client A with medications he had stolen from the Facility, entered into a personal relationship with Client B, and expressed a desire to physically harm Client B;
- misappropriated medication from the Facility;
- abused the clients verbally, physically and emotionally by engaging in a personal, romantic and sexual relationship with Client A, staring at Client B in an intimidating manner, showing Client B how do neck exercises he knew could be harmful, grabbing and/or squeezing Client B’s arm, and making comments about wanting to harm Client B;
- sexually abused Client A, and, in particular, engaged in repeated sexual intercourse with Client A; and
- engaged in conduct that would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional by pursuing a relationship with Client A, stealing medications from the Facility, providing Client A with the stolen medications and advising Client A on which medications to take, acting in an intimidating manner towards Client B, and expressing a desire to physically harm Client B.
The Panel determined that at the time of the misconduct the Member had a continuing psychotherapeutic nurse-client relationship with both clients. The Member failed to uphold the standards of the profession and failed to protect both clients from abuse by engaging in a relationship with Client A without first considering the potential negative impact on Client A and Client B. The Panel found that the Member’s conduct would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional. The Member failed to maintain professional boundaries with both clients and engaged in financial transactions unrelated to the provision of care. The Member’s behaviour demonstrated an element of dishonesty and deceit through misappropriating medications from the workplace and administering them to Client A. The Panel expressed that the Member’s behaviour cast doubt on the Member’s moral fitness and demonstrated a serious and persistent disregard for professional obligations.
Submissions on Order
The College and the Member jointly submitted that the Member be required to appear before the Panel for reprimand; his certificate of registration be revoked; and the Member be required to reimburse the College for funding for therapy and counselling provided to Client A to a maximum of $5,000. The College noted that the finding of sexual abuse carries with it a mandatory revocation and oral reprimand.
The Panel accepted the joint submission as reasonable and in the public interest. The Member accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with the College by agreeing to the facts and proposed penalty. The Panel finds that the penalty satisfies the principles of general deterrence and public protection. Because the Member is no longer entitled to practise, the public is protected. The penalty communicates a clear message to the membership that the College will not tolerate such blatant disregard for College standards.