Nicole Kruczek (formerly Guarrasi) JF660712
Allegations and Plea
The College alleged that the Member worked as a nurse while her certificate of registration was suspended; misrepresented her employment status to the College and the Discipline Committee; inappropriately used a term, title or designation; breached an order of the Discipline Committee; and engaged in conduct that would be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.
The Member admitted to the allegations, and the College and the Member jointly submitted an agreement to the following facts.
On November 7, 2012, the Member was found guilty of professional misconduct. Her certificate of registration was suspended for four months, starting November 7, 2012. Although the Member knew that her suspension began on November 7, she did not advise her employer and went to work on November 8 and 9. Over the two days, she provided care to 12 clients, including drawing blood, administering IV medication, assessing clients, charting, and consulting with doctors and nurses. On November 9, 2012, the Member’s employer was informed of the suspension by the College and immediately sent the Member home.
In August 2012, the Member had removed her employer as her business address from the College’s Public Register even though she remained employed there until her termination on November 20, 2012. On her 2013 Annual Membership Renewal Form, submitted to the College on October 17, 2012, the Member represented her current nursing status as “not employed in nursing and not seeking work in nursing” even though she was, in fact, employed as an RPN by two different employers at the time.
During the Discipline Committee hearing on November 7, 2012, the Member’s counsel had stated that the Member was currently unemployed. The Member heard these false statements and failed to take any steps to correct them.
The Panel found that the evidence supported findings of professional misconduct as alleged, and that the Member’s conduct would be considered to be disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional. The Member ignored a Discipline Committee order, made a false statement during her annual registration renewal, and allowed false statements to be made on her behalf at the prior discipline hearing. Her conduct demonstrated a serious and persistent disregard for her professional obligations, and an element of dishonesty and deceit. Her conduct shamed the Member and the profession, and it cast serious doubts on her moral fitness and inherent ability to discharge the higher obligations that the public expects of professionals.
Submissions on Order
The College and the Member jointly sought an oral reprimand and immediate revocation of the Member’s certificate of registration.
The Member’s cooperation was the single mitigating factor. The key aggravating factor was the Member’s obvious disregard for the College’s regulatory process. She ignored the previous Discipline Committee order the day after it was made.
The Panel accepted the joint submission as reasonable and in the public interest. The Member accepted responsibility for her actions and cooperated with the College by agreeing to the facts and proposed penalty. The penalty satisfies the principles of specific and general deterrence, and public protection. Should the Member attempt to return to nursing, she will have the benefit of the Panel’s views on the very serious nature of her conduct.