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Michele Kathleen Cook, 8937609
The Member admitted that she engaged in professional misconduct by failing to maintain the boundaries of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship with the Patient, sexually abusing the Patient by engaging in physical sexual relations and/or touching of a sexual nature, and/or behavior or remarks of a sexual nature, removing the Patient’s medical record from the hospital without authorization and permitting the Patient to review and redact portions of the medical record that the Patient considered inaccurate.
Based on the Member’s admissions, the Panel found the Member:
- contravened a standard of practice of the profession or failed to meet the standards of practice of the profession;
- sexually abused the Patient; and
- engaged 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.
The College of Nurses of Ontario (“CNO”) and the Member presented the Panel with a Joint Submission on Order requesting that the Panel make an order that included the following:
- an oral reprimand;
- immediate revocation of the Member’s certificate of registration; and
- an undertaking to permanently resign from the practice of nursing.
The Panel accepted the Joint Submission on Order, concluding that the proposed penalty was reasonable and in the public interest.
Aggravating factors considered by the Panel included:
- the significant professional boundaries breached by the Member, including sexual touching and behaviours during and after the nurse-patient relationship;
- the Patient’s vulnerability;
- the Member’s lack of insight and understanding of applicable CNO standards; and
- the manner in which the matter came to light, including how the Member’s admission to professional misconduct came 26 years after the events and after a 16-year relationship that was tainted by how it began in violation of professional standards.
Mitigating factors considered by the Panel included:
- the Member’s admission of professional misconduct and cooperation; and
- the Member had no history of professional misconduct with CNO.