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Bennett, Norda Faye

Norda Faye Bennett GH03786

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:

Deanne Barber, RPN Chairperson
Denise Dietrich, RPN Member
Sheila Pendock, RN Member
David Bishop Public Member
Brenda Noble Public Member

BETWEEN:

COLLEGE OF NURSES OF ONTARIO   Megan Shortreed for
College of Nurses of Ontario
- and -    
NORDA FAYE BENNETT
#GH-0378-6
  Donald McLeod for
Norda Faye Bennett

Heard: September 30, 2004

DECISION AND REASONS

This matter came on for hearing before a panel of the Discipline Committee on September 30, 2004 at the College of Nurses of Ontario (“the College”) at Toronto .

The Allegations

The allegations against Norda Faye Bennett (“the Member”) as stated in the Notice of Hearing dated July 26, 2004 (Exhibit 1), 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(1) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], you contravened a standard of practice of the profession or failed to meet the standards of practice of the profession, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , you failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client A], as ordered by a physician; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , you failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client B], as ordered by a physician; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , you failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client C], as ordered by a physician; and/or
    4. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client A’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    5. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client B’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    6. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client C’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
  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(14) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], you falsified records relating to your practice, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client A’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client B’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client C’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
  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(37) of Ontario Regulation 799/93, in that while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], 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, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client A’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client B’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , you documented in [client C’s] health record that you had taken a blood sugar reading when you had not done so.

Member’s Plea

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 #3) which provided as follows:

The Member:

  1. Norda Faye Bennett (the “Member”) obtained her RPN [ ] in 1977 and registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario (the “College”) that same year.
  2. The Member was hired in a part-time position by [the Home] in May 2002. Her employment was terminated by mutual agreement in July 2003, as a result of the incidents described below.
  3. The Member does not have a prior discipline history with the College.

The Home:

  1. [The Home] is located in [ ]. There is one RN in the building who is in charge of all residents and staff.
  2. The RPN on duty is responsible for the 3 rd and 4 th floors, each of which has 45 residents. The RPN’s duties include providing residents with their medications and carrying out blood sugar testing, as ordered by a physician.

June 27, 2003 :

  1. The Member worked the night shift, beginning at 2300 hours on June 26 and finishing at 0700 hours on June 27, 2003 .
  2. Part of the Member’s duties included checking the blood sugar for three residents on the 4 th floor at 0600 hours, as ordered by their physicians. The blood sugar is checked with an Acusoft Glucometer, and the results are to be recorded in each resident’s Medication Administration Record (“MAR”), Capillary Blood Glucose Monitoring flow sheet (“CBG Flow Sheet”), and the 24 hour report.
  3. At approximately 0740 hours on June 27, 2003 , the Nurse Manager on the 4 th floor learned that some residents who were to have their blood sugar checked at 0600 hours by the Member had not in fact had their blood sugar readings taken yet that day.
  4. The Home’s Director of Care and the Infection Control Practitioner/ Quality Assurance Manager carried out an investigation. They found that:
    1. Each of residents [clients A, B and C] were required to have a blood sugar reading taken at 0600 hours by the Member;
    2. The Member had documented blood sugar readings for 0600 hours in the MAR, the CBG Flow Sheet, and the 24 hour report for each of residents [clients A, B and C];
    3. None of the three residents had actually had their blood sugar checked by the Member or anyone else that morning; and
    4. None of the Acusoft Glucometers in the building had stored readings that matched those documented for the three residents by the Member in their MARs, the CBG Flow Sheets, or the 24 hours reports. Each Acusoft Glucometer holds up to 100 results in memory, and simultaneously records the date and time when the test was done.
  5. The Member admits that she did not carry out blood sugar readings for [clients A, B or C] as ordered by their physicians at 0600 hours on June 27, 2003. She further admits that she fabricated blood sugar readings for each of the three clients and documented the false readings in their health records.

Additional Information:

  1. At the time of these incidents, the Member had already worked a full shift at her regular place of employment. She was asked by this Home to work the night shift, due to the Home’s shortage and inability to fill the shift.
  2. The Member acknowledges that she knew she was very tired and that her judgment in deciding to accept this shift was impaired as a result.
  3. The Member has been forthright with the College during its investigation into this matter and takes full responsibility for her actions.
  4. The Member is currently working at [ ].

 Admissions:

  1. The Member admits that she committed the acts of professional misconduct as set out in the Notice of Hearing.

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 in that:

  1. while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], the Member contravened a standard of practice of the profession or failed to meet the standards of practice of the profession, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , she failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client A] as ordered by a physician; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , she failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client B], as ordered by a physician; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , she failed to take a blood sugar reading for [client C], as ordered by a physician; and/or
    4. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client A’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    5. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client B’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    6. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client C’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
  2. while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], the Member falsified records relating to her practice, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client A’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client B’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client C’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
  3. while employed as a Registered Practical Nurse with [the Home], the Member 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, as follows:
    1. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client A’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    2. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client B’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so; and/or
    3. on or about June 27, 2003 , she documented in [client C’s] health record that she had taken a blood sugar reading when she had not done so

Penalty

Counsel for the College advised the panel that a Joint Submission as to Penalty (“JSP”) (Exhibit #4) had been agreed upon. The JSP provides as follows:

The College of Nurses of Ontario (the “College”) and Norda Faye Bennett (the “Member”) jointly submit that, in view of the facts and admissions set out in the Agreed Statement of Facts, the panel of the Discipline Committee should make an Order:

  1. Requiring the Member to appear before the panel to be reprimanded, within three months of the date the order becomes final;
  2. Directing the Executive Director to suspend the Member’s certificate of registration for 60 days from the date that this order becomes final; and
  3. Directing the Executive Director to impose the following terms, conditions, and limitations on the Member’s certificate of registration for a period of 1 year following the Member’s return to practice:
    1. The Member must ensure that the Director of the Investigations and Hearings Department (the “Director”) is advised in writing of the names and addresses of any employer or employers for whom the Member practises within 14 days from the date the Member commences employment;
    2. The Member must provide any employer or prospective employer with a copy of the panel’s penalty order with attached Notice of Hearing, Agreed Statement of Fact, and Joint Submission on Penalty or, if available, a copy of the panel’s decisions and reasons, and must advise the employer or prospective employer of the monitoring conditions set out in subparagraph (c), prior to commencing practice with the employer;
    3. The Member must practice only for employer(s) who agree to advise the Director in writing within 14 days of the date the Member commences employment that the employer:
      1. has received a copy of the documents referred to in (b); and
      2. agrees to notify the Director immediately upon receipt of any reasonable information that the Member has engaged in any professional misconduct.

Counsel for the College submitted that the penalty addresses the three objectives of remediation, specific deterrence and general deterrence. Counsel advised that the Member’s admission of guilt is the first step in remediation. The monitoring requirements for a period of one year would provide adequate remediation considering the incidents all occurred on one day. The suspension and reprimand serves as a specific deterrent to the member and addresses the gravity and seriousness in which the College of Nurses and the public views actions such as these. A suspension is appropriate in any case of falsification of a health record. As a general deterrent the nursing population needs to know that if they fall below the standards by way of errors and missed procedures this should not be covered up by falsification of records.

Counsel for the Member presented the mitigating circumstances which included:

  • the Member’s remorse as evidenced by the fact that she wrote a letter of apology to the employer dated November 24, 2003
  • the Member’s long and unblemished work record since 1977
  • that the Member had completed a twelve hour shift and then accepted this additional shift which contributed towards her fatigue and error in judgement

Counsel for the Member submitted that the finding of dishonourable conduct will be a blight on the Member’s record as her colleagues will be able to read the decision in The Standard and this will impact her long beyond the sixty day period of suspension and one year monitoring. “The Member admits and takes full responsibility for her actions”.

Penalty Decision

The panel deliberated and unanimously accepts the JSP and accordingly orders:

  1. the Member to appear before the panel to be reprimanded, within three months of the date the order becomes final;
  2. the Executive Director to suspend the Member’s certificate of registration for 60 days from the date that this order becomes final; and
  3. the Executive Director to impose the following terms, conditions, and limitations on the Member’s certificate of registration for a period of 1 year following the Member’s return to practice:
    1. The Member must ensure that the Director of the Investigations and Hearings Department (the “Director”) is advised in writing of the names and addresses of any employer or employers for whom the Member practises within 14 days from the date the Member commences employment;
    2. The Member must provide any employer or prospective employer with a copy of the panel’s penalty order with attached Notice of Hearing, Agreed Statement of Fact, and Joint Submission on Penalty or, if available, a copy of the panel’s decisions and reasons, and must advise the employer or prospective employer of the monitoring conditions set out in subparagraph (c), prior to commencing practice with the employer;
    3. The Member must practice only for employer(s) who agree to advise the Director in writing within 14 days of the date the Member commences employment that the employer:
      1. has received a copy of the documents referred to in (b); and
      2. agrees to notify the Director immediately upon receipt of any reasonable information that the Member has engaged in any professional misconduct.

The panel considered the JSP and the submissions of College Counsel and Counsel for the Member and concluded that the proposed penalty is reasonable and in the public interest. Further, the panel determined that this penalty meets the criteria of deterrence to the member and to the membership, rehabilitation of the member and provides protection to the public.

The panel concluded that the proposed penalty is reasonable and in the public interest. The Member has co-operated with the College and, by agreeing to the facts and a proposed penalty, has accepted responsibility for her actions.

I, Deanne Barber, RPN, sign this decision and reasons for the decision as Chairperson of this Discipline panel and on behalf of the members of the Discipline panel as listed below:

Chairperson

Denise Dietrich, RPN
Sheila Pendock, RN
Brenda Noble, Public Member
David Bishop, Public Member

Page mise à jour le septembre 28, 2010