Cristina Victoria Stefanescu 0185876
Allegations and Plea
The College alleged that the Member documented that she had completed hourly checks on a client that she did not personally perform, that her documentation was illegible, that she failed to provide appropriate measures when she discovered the Client with vital signs absent, and that this conduct would be regarded as dishonourable, disgraceful or unprofessional.
The Member was neither present nor represented by counsel at the hearing. The hearing proceeded on the basis that the Member denied the allegations.
The Panel heard from six witnesses and one expert, and received 26 exhibits. Among the witnesses were the Program Director and nurses involved in the incident.
The Member’s registration was suspended for non-payment of fees in 2012. The incidents occurred in 2011. The hearing before the Panel occurred in 2015.
The Member worked on a mental health unit in a hospital. The Client had been mentally ill for years. He had panic attacks and could not control his actions or anxiety. The plan of care was not to seclude him during attacks but to sit with him, provide calming techniques and do subsequent 15-minute assessments.
On the day in question, RPN A did hourly checks of the Client and reported to the Member, who filled out all the forms and initialled them. The Client had sprayed pop all over his room and dismantled the call system in his room. RPN A kept the Client in his room and away from others. RPN A did not put the Client on constant observation because of a lack of staff. RPN A found the Client with no pulse, and then went and found the Member, who told him not to touch the body. The Member did not know the procedure for calling a code blue. Nothing was initiated until two nurses from another unit came down and told RPN A to call a code. CPR was initiated after the nurses arrived with a crash cart. RPN A was also subject to a discipline hearing at the College and was found to have committed misconduct for his role in the incident.
RPN B was one of the nurses from the other unit. She testified that she took the Client’s pulse and asked if there was a do not resuscitate order on file. The Member did not want to initiate CPR because she felt she would be fired for tampering with evidence. RPN C learned of the incident when the Member sought clarification from others about the code blue procedure.
The expert opined that the Member’s charting of a colleague’s observations, her illegible charting, and her failure to respond appropriately to the Client were all disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional actions. It appeared that the Member was more concerned about her job than the Client’s well-being.
The Panel found that the evidence supported findings of professional misconduct as alleged. The Member’s conduct in signing for her colleague’s observations was dishonest and unprofessional; her illegible handwriting was unprofessional; and her response to the code blue situation was disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional. It cast serious doubt on the Member’s moral fitness and inherent ability to meet professional expectations.
Submissions on Order
The College sought an oral reprimand and a two-month suspension, effective from the date the Member obtains an active certificate of registration. The Member would be required to complete specified remediation activities should she ever obtain a certificate of registration.
Independent Legal Counsel (ILC) advised that Panel did not have jurisdiction to impose a suspension or order terms, limitations and conditions because the Member no longer had a certificate of registration.
The Panel ordered an oral reprimand. The Member’s misconduct would have resulted in a penalty that included a two-month suspension and terms, conditions and limitations if the Member had held an active certificate of registration at the time of the hearing.