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Stephanie Cosgrove, 0465179
The Member admitted that she engaged in professional misconduct when she engaged in a personal relationship with a patient for over a year, which included behaviour and remarks of a sexual nature; and when she posted information on Facebook about a different patient without consent or authorization.
The Member was found guilty of the following:
- contravening a standard of practice of the profession or failing to meet the standards of practice of the profession;
- giving information about a patient without the consent of the patient or as required by law; and
- engaging in conduct relevant to the practice of nursing, that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional.
CNO and the Member presented the Panel with a Joint Submission requesting that the Panel make an order that included the following:
- an oral reprimand;
- an eight-month suspension;
- terms, conditions and limitations, including:
- attending two meetings with a Regulatory Expert; and
- employer notification for 12 months.
Aggravating factors considered by the Panel included:
- The Member engaged in a non-clinical relationship with a vulnerable mental health patient for a lengthy period of time during and in between hospital admissions;
- The Member attempted to conceal her relationship with the patient;
- The Member undermined staff relationships when she made derogatory comments about staff in text messages to the patient;
- The Member engaged in a series of self-directed and inappropriate text messages with the patient causing significant emotional harm to the patient; and
- The Member disclosed personal information about another patient on a publicly available Facebook page without consent or authorization.
Mitigating factors considered by the Panel included:
- The Member has no prior disciplinary history; and
- The Member has taken responsibility for her actions through admissions of her conduct.
The Panel accepted the Joint Submission, concluding that the proposed penalty was reasonable and in the public interest.