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B.C. nurse suspended for 'significant history' of taking patients' narcotics

The nurse disclosed the problem after being notified of an employer investigation into medication tampering.
The nurse has agreed to a consent agreement, which will include limits on working overtime and night shifts.

B.C.’s College of Nurses and Midwives has suspended a nurse for three months for diverting narcotics from patients for their own use.

A committee inquiry said the nurse had “a significant history of diverting narcotics for self-use from patients under their care between 2015 and 2022.”

The nurse had disclosed the issue to a doctor after being notified of an employer investigation into medication tampering, the college said in a public notice posted Jan. 22.

That disclosure, it said, ensured a medical diagnosis of the nurse’s condition and can provide for proper treatment and recovery success. The nurse’s name has not been released owing to the medical condition.

“The registrant was diagnosed with, and admitted to a disability with a causal relationship to the conduct issues via an independent medical report and has agreed to comply with treatment recommendations,” the college said

The discipline agreement is by consent with the nurse voluntarily agreeing to limits or conditions on their practice.

Those include the three-month suspension, compliance with a specialist’s recommendations, disclosure of treatment recommendations to the employer, a limit on handling narcotics and limits on working overtime, night shifts, practicing in high acuity or critical care areas and providing care in client's homes.

The agreement is to remain in place for five years.

The college is one of 18 regulatory bodies empowered under the Health Professions Act to regulate health professions in B.C. It regulates the practice of four distinct professions: nursing, practical nursing, psychiatric nursing and midwifery. 

Similar legislation in other self-regulated areas such as the legal and notary public professions also allows citizens to know about discipline issues in the public interest.

“The inquiry committee is satisfied that the terms will protect the public,” the college said.