Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Tribunal reprimands nurse who breached conditions of her registration
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Tribunal reprimands nurse who breached conditions of her registration

28 Jun 2022

A tribunal has reprimanded a registered nurse and imposed conditions on her registration after she repeatedly breached drug and alcohol conditions on her registration.

Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please visit the NM Support website or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for help.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) suspended Ms Louisa Stokes’ registration from April to October of 2018 after she admitted use of methamphetamine and not being frank with a NMBA appointed health assessor about her illicit drug usage.

Ms Stokes was subsequently allowed to resume practice subject to conditions, including drug screening.

Between November 2018 and June 2019, Ms Stokes breached these conditions on several occasions.

Following the breaches, the NMBA again suspended Ms Stokes registration for 18 months.  Ms Stokes underwent extensive treatment and complied with drug screening conditions. Ms Stokes maintains, and the NMBA accepts, that she has not taken illicit substances since June 2019.

The NMBA referred Ms Stokes to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) where she admitted to the allegations, agreed she must be reprimanded, and that her future registration should be subject to conditions. However, Ms Stokes argued that no further suspension than the 18 months she had already served should be required.

The tribunal found that Ms Stokes had engaged in a way that constituted professional misconduct and ordered that:

  • Ms Stokes be reprimanded, and
  • conditions be imposed on Ms Stokes’ registration that require her to undertake drug screening and attend her treating practitioners (her GP, addiction medicine specialist and psychologist).

A review period of 6 months was imposed.

The tribunal noted that things have been on a positive trajectory for Ms Stokes and that the NMBA accepts that she is currently fit to practice. However, it is necessary to deal with her breaches of conditions imposed on her between 28 November 2018 and 17 June 2019.’ The tribunal’s decision was published on 16 December 2021 and is available on the Austlii website.  

Page reviewed 28/06/2022