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Dennis Sopha, 0421412
The Member admitted that he engaged in professional misconduct when he failed to maintain the boundaries of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship with a patient. The Member engaged in a financial transaction with the patient that was unrelated to the provision of care and assisted with the patient’s financial affairs. The Member also provided the patient with assistance and services unrelated to the provision of care and accepted the positions of power of attorney for personal care and property for the patient.
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;
- emotionally abused a 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 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;
- an 8-month suspension;
- terms, conditions and limitations, including:
- attending a minimum of 2 meetings with a Regulatory Expert; and
- employer notification for 18 months.
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 Member benefited financially from his inappropriate relationship with the patient;
- the patient was elderly and vulnerable;
- the Member had a longstanding relationship with the patient where boundaries had not been respected;
- the Member’s conduct was done in full knowledge and intent for his own personal gain; and
- there was a need for vigilance given the Member’s relationship with the patient’s husband.
Mitigating factors considered by the Panel included:
- the Member has no prior disciplinary history;
- the Member was cooperative;
- the Member did not contest the hearing and accepted accountability for his actions; and
- the Member sought legal advice prior to the purchase of the patient’s property.