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CRNBC suspends registration, imposes fines on registrant who refused to return confidential documents taken from employer

Nurses are reminded of their obligations regarding confidentiality and client records

posted May 15, 2018

CRNBC on March 23, 2018, suspended the registration of Sandra Murphy for six months, as per an order of the Discipline Committee. This Panel met June 26 and 27, 2017, to examine Ms. Murphy’s conduct relating to her using and retaining specific, confidential documents from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), her employer at the time, which she had no authority to use or retain.

In addition to her suspension, the Committee also ordered that Ms. Murphy be issued a written reprimand; undergo education sessions; inform future employers of her conduct for the next two years; and pay costs to the College in the amount of $34,251.14. (Please review the Discipline Committee notice for the full decision.)

As set out in its verdict decision, the Discipline Committee found that Ms. Murphy had engaged in professional misconduct by disclosing the documents to the Human Rights Tribunal without client consent, and to advance her own complaints against VIHA (now known as Island Health) and others, and by refusing to return unredacted versions of the documents to VIHA.

The Committee found that, as Ms. Murphy had been practising for 32 years, she had more than enough experience as a nurse to know that her conduct would infringe the privacy of patients and contravene professional standards. She knowingly violated patient confidentiality, kept confidential internal documents, and used them for personal purposes. Ms. Murphy was not forthright in explaining how she came into possession of the documents, wrongfully claiming that she had received them through legal means. Despite repeated requests from her employer, she has refused to return the unredacted documents.

Unlike many other cases involving breaches of privacy where registrants or members have acknowledged their wrongs, Ms. Murphy has not acknowledged her misconduct or shown any insight into her behaviour. These aggravating factors warrant the Panel ordering a lengthier suspension to achieve the goal of specific deterrence.

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