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Ball, Catherine D.

Catherine D. Ball 7344245

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE OF THE COLLEGE OF NURSES OF ONTARIO

FULL-TEXT DECISION

Note: This is the full text of the decision of the Discipline panel in this matter. Any information identifying clients, witnesses or facilities has been removed [ ]. The member's name is omitted if the allegations have been dismissed or if the results are not placed on the public portion of the Register.

 

Panel:

CHERYL BEEMER, RN Chairperson
KIM PEDERSON, RPN Member
JIM ATWOOD, RN Member
ERIC HOWE, Public Representative
MICHAEL TERNOVAN, Public Representative

B E T W E E N:

COLLEGE OF NURSES OF ONTARIO

MICHELLE FUERST
for College of Nurses of Ontario

- and -

 

CATHERINE D. BALL
#73-4424-5

KELLY WADDINGHAM
For Catherine D. Ball

 

Heard: JANUARY 31, 2002

REASONS FOR DECISION

This matter came on for hearing before a panel of the Discipline Committee on January 31,2002 at the College of Nurses of Ontario at Toronto.

The Allegations

The allegations against Catherine D. Ball as stated in the Notice of Hearing (exhibit #1) dated January 18, 2002, are as follows:

  1. You have committed an act of professional misconduct as provided by subsection 51(1)(c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code of the Nursing Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c.32, as amended, and defined in subsection 1(37) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that during the period between January 1, 2000 and May 17, 2001 at the City of [ ] and elsewhere [ ], you engaged in conduct or performed an act, relevant to the practice of nursing, that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional in that you
    1. Held yourself out in writing as having obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when you had not; and/or
    2. Told a representative of [the agency] that you had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when you had not.

  2. You have committed an act of professional misconduct as provided by subsection 51(1)(c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code of the Nursing Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 32, as amended, and defined in subsection 1(15) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that during the period between January 1, 2000 and May 17, 2001 at the City of [ ] and elsewhere [ ], you issued a document in your professional capacity that you knew or ought to know contained a false or misleading statement, in that you issued a resume in which you stated that you had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when you had not.

  3. You have committed an act of professional misconduct as provided by subsection 51(1)(c) of the Health Professions Procedural Code of the Nursing Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 32, as amended, and defined in subsection 1(16) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that during the period between January 1, 2000 and May 17, 2001 at the City of [ ] and elsewhere [ ], you inappropriately used a term, title or designation in respect of your practice, in that you
    1. Held yourself out in writing as having obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when you had not; and/or
    2. Told a representative of [the agency] that you had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when you had not.

Member's Plea

Catherine D. Ball (the "Member") admitted the allegations set out in paragraphs numbered 1, 2 and 3 in the Notice of Hearing. The panel conducted a plea inquiry and was satisfied that the Member's admission was voluntary, informed and unequivocal.

Agreed Statement of Facts

Counsel for the College advised the panel that agreement had been reached on the facts and introduced an Agreed Statement of Facts (exhibit #2) which provided as follows:

THE MEMBER AND THE FACILITIES

  1. Catherine Ball ("the Member") graduated from the Nursing Diploma Program at [ ] in 1972.
  2. The Member has been registered as a Registered Nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario ("the College") since 1973.
  3. The Member held the position of staff nurse in the emergency department at [a facility] from 1987 until her transfer to [the agency] on March 5, 2001. [ ]
  4. On May 23, 2001, the Member resigned from her position [at site A of the facility] as a result of the events described below.
  5. The Member is currently doing some agency work through [ ] and she has obtained a full-time position at [a facility]. The Member and her new employer have agreed that the Member will commence employment after the disciplinary proceedings pending against the Member are completed, and any disposition made as to penalty by the Discipline Committee is complied with.

THE MEMBER'S FALSIFICATION OF HER CREDENTIALS

  1. In February 2001, while employed at [site B of the agency], the Member applied for a transfer to [site A].
  2. In the context of the application for the transfer, the Member applied for the position by submitting a resume. A copy of the resume is attached as Exhibit "A".
  3. Under the heading "Education" on the second page of her resume, the Member included the following information:

    ENCN
    March 1996

  4. ENCN refers to the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification.
  5. Emergency Nursing Certification was not a required credential for the position for which the Member applied.
  6. The Member included this information in her resume although she knew it was false. She did not possess the Emergency Nursing Certification. In fact, the Member had taken the Emergency Nursing Certification course in 1997, but she had failed the exam and therefore did not obtain the certification.
  7. On or about May 9, 2001, during a meeting with the nurse educator at [site A], the Member was asked to provide a copy of her Emergency Nursing Certification Certificate as well as a copy of her Trauma Nursing Care Certificate. The Member agreed to provide the requested certificates.
  8. On or about May 12, 2001, the nurse educator followed up with the Member by telephone and reiterated her request that the Member provide the nurse educator with copies of the certificates referred to in paragraph 12 above. In this conversation, the Member advised the nurse educator that she would provide copies of the requested certificates. The Member so advised the nurse educator, knowing that she did not have the Emergency Nursing Certification.
  9. On or about May 17, 2001, the Member provided the nurse educator with a copy of her Trauma Nursing Care Certificate.
  10. Later that that day, the nurse educator contacted the Member again requesting that she provide a copy of the Emergency Nursing Certification Certificate. On this occasion, The Member divulged that she had taken the course, but had failed the examination and therefore had not obtained her certification.
  11. After consultation with the Human Resources Department at the facility, on May 25, 2001, the Member resigned from the facility.


ADMISSION OF MISCONDUCT

  1. The Member admits that her conduct as set out in allegation #1 of the Notice of Hearing amounts to professional misconduct in that she engaged in conduct or performed an act, relevant to the practice of nursing, that, having regard to all the circumstances, would
    reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional, in that she:
    1. held herself out in writing as having obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when she had not; and
    2. told a representative of [the agency] that she had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Certification when she had not.
  2. The Member admits that her conduct as set out in allegation #2 of the Notice of Hearing amounts to professional misconduct in that she issued a document that she knew contained false or misleading information in that she issued a resume in which she stated that she had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Certification when she had not.
  3. The Member admits that her conduct as set out in allegation 3 of the Notice of Hearing amounts to professional misconduct in that she inappropriately used a term, title or designation in respect of her practice in that she
    1. held herself out in writing as having obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when she had not; and
    2. told a representative of [the agency] that she had obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when she had not.

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  1. The Member admits and the College accepts the following facts:
    1. Ms Ball has acknowledged her wrongdoing and shown remorse for her conduct;
    2. Ms Ball had undergone personal difficulties in her life including an acrimonious divorce and the unexpected death of her father, which difficulties contributed to Ms Ball's decision to seek the transfer from [site B] to [site A] of [the agency].

Decision

The panel considered the Agreed Statement of Facts and finds that the facts support a finding of professional misconduct and, in particular, finds that the Member committed an act of professional misconduct as alleged in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Notice of Hearing.

Reasons for Decision

The panel unanimously accepts the Agreed Statement of Facts in its entirety. The Member admitted to Allegations #1, #2 and #3 contained in the Notice of Hearing, in that she held herself out in writing as having obtained the Canadian Nurses Association Emergency Nursing Certification when she had not.

Penalty

Counsel for the College advised the panel that a Joint Submission as to Penalty had been agreed upon. The Joint Submission as to Penalty provides as follows:

Joint Submission as to Penalty

THE MEMBER AND THE COLLEGE JOINTLY SUBMIT that the appropriate penalty in this matter is for the Discipline Committee to make the following order:

  1. Directing the Executive Director to suspend the Member's certificate of registration for a period of one month, commencing January 31, 2002.
  2. Requiring the Member to appear before the panel of the Discipline Committee to be reprimanded, at a date to be arranged but in any event within 3 months of the date of the order.

Counsel for the College stressed the importance of honesty and integrity in the profession of Nursing because of nurses' ongoing contact with the public. The Member did not require the Emergency Nursing Certification (ENCN) for the position for which she applied and was eventually hired. The Member, by misrepresenting her job credentials and repeatedly lying to her employer, was not simply morally wrong but she also undermined the integrity of the Nursing profession.

Counsel for the College noted that there was no previous history of professional misconduct and the Member appears to be a competent nurse with a long successful career.

Counsel for the Member added that there were mitigating circumstances that the panel should consider. The Member had a 29-year exemplary nursing career, has shown remorse and is ashamed of her actions. The Member recognizes that truthfulness is an ethical imperative.

Penalty Decision

The majority of the panel accepted the Joint Submission as to Penalty. Accordingly, the Discipline panel makes the following order:

  1. Directing the Executive Director to suspend the Member's certificate of registration for a period of one month, commencing January 31, 2002.
  2. Requiring the Member to appear before the panel of the Discipline Committee to be reprimanded, at a date to be arranged but in any event within 3 months of the date of the order.

Reasons for Decision

The panel concluded that the proposed penalty is reasonable and in the public interest. The Member co-operated with the College and by agreeing to the facts and a proposed penalty, has accepted responsibility for her actions. The one-month suspension and the oral reprimand addresses a specific deterrent to the Member that this type of conduct will not be tolerated by the profession. The one-month suspension and the oral reprimand balances the need for a specific deterrent for the Member as well as a general deterrent for the College Membership. Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones of Nursing. This type of dishonesty will not be tolerated. The penalty will be published as a general deterrent. Therefore, other members of the profession will be reminded of the importance of honesty and integrity in the profession of nursing.

I, Cheryl Beemer, RN, sign this Decision and Reasons for the Decision as Chair of the Discipline panel and on behalf of the panel members listed below:


 

Signed:
Cheryl Beemer, RN, Chair, Discipline Panel

 

Date

Jim Atwood, RN,
Kim Pederson, RPN
Eric Howe
Michael Ternovan

 

   
Page last reviewed September 28, 2010