She didn’t work there, but served at least one patient anyway – and accessed private health information in the process. This happened over two days in April at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.
This information became public after a report from the Information and Privacy Commissioner addressing the accessing of the patient’s private health information.
According to that report, the nurse in question used to work for the Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority. She was at the hospital with a locum physician, a doctor who was filling in for another doctor.
While on the obstetrics unit, the reports states the former nurse provided care to at least one patient, and accessed and made notes in at least two patients’ charts.
According to written reports from employees, the former nurse invited a patient into a room and did an assessment. When approached by another nurse she refused to leave, and told the nurse in charge “I don’t f****** care,” when told she couldn’t do the assessment.
Letters from the former nurse’s lawyer referred to in the report paint a different picture. The lawyer admits the former nurse took the patient and her chart into an assessment room and attached her to a monitor, but only because no one else was doing anything for the patient. The letter stated when the nurse in charge said she couldn’t assess the patient, the former nurse thought she was talking about needing a nursing license – which she still had.
This report said the health region also contacted the doctor the former nurse was with. At first, the doctor said the former nurse was her friend and she didn’t do an assessment or make any notes.
However in a letter, the doctor said the staff on duty at the hospital was just sitting there in front of the patient, so the former nurse put the patient on a monitor and filled out an admission form –the doctor wrote there was no action or objection from staff.
As a result of the incident, the former nurse was banned from all health region facilities unless she’s receiving treatment, is visiting someone, or is hired as a personal care consultant. The health region also said it had given the information on what happened to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA) – though as of Wednesday no notice of a hearing had been posted on the SRNA’s website.
The report from the Privacy Commissioner was mainly concerned with the patients’ private information. It found the former nurse illegally accessed at least two patients’ health information through their charts, that the health region didn’t have enough safeguards to prevent unauthorized access and it didn’t do enough to stop the incident.
The commissioner recommended the health region forward the file to the Ministry of Justice for possible prosecution under the new, strengthened HIPA laws. He also recommended the College of Physicians and Surgeons consider disciplining the doctor who was with the former nurse.