Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Nurse convicted of practising before she was registered has been resentenced

Nurse convicted of practising before she was registered has been resentenced

01 Jul 2022

A registered nurse who pleaded guilty to practising while she was unregistered, has been re-sentenced in the Sydney District Court after she appealed her sentence.

Key points

  • A registered nurse who pleaded guilty to practising while unregistered has appealed her sentence.
  • Ms Brenda Pichinte Solis has had an Intensive Corrections Order downgraded to a three-year Community Corrections order with a supervision condition, fines reduced.
  • The woman had been charged by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).

Ms Brenda Pichinte Solis was sentenced in March 2022 after she pleaded guilty to two counts of holding herself out as being registered as a nurse at an aged care facility and at a private hospital, and three counts of indicating she was a registered nurse by using the initials ‘RN’.At the time of the offending, Ms Pichinte Solis had never been registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). She had applied for registration several times and been unsuccessful because she did not meet all the registration requirements.

Ms Pichinte Solis appealed her sentence claiming it was too severe.

On 28 June 2022, the Sydney District Court heard the appeal. Judge O’Brien confirmed the sentence in relation to her work at the aged care facility but set aside the Intensive Corrections Order imposed in relation to her work at the private hospital. Instead, he imposed a three-year Community Corrections Order with a supervision condition. He also set aside the fines for using the initials ‘RN’ and imposed no further penalty in relation to these counts. The order that she pay Ahpra’s legal costs was confirmed.

Judge O’Brien acknowledged the importance of the National Law in protecting the public, however noted that he was not satisfied that no penalty other than imprisonment was appropriate in the circumstances of this case, and accordingly an ICO should not have been imposed.

Background

Despite knowing she was unregistered, Ms Pichinte Solis accepted and worked in two separate jobs as a registered nurse. She worked 10 shifts between 2 September 2019 and 30 September 2019 at a residential aged care facility, which terminated her employment when it discovered she was not registered. Despite this, she still went on to work 157 shifts as a nurse in the Graduate Nurse Program at a private Sydney hospital between 29 October 2019 and 6 October 2020, until the hospital also discovered she was not registered and terminated her employment.

In relation to the 10 shifts worked at the aged care facility the Local Court of NSW fined Ms Solis $3,300 and placed her on a 12-month Community Corrections Order. In relation to the 157 shifts worked at the private hospital, the Court imposed a 7-month sentence of imprisonment, to be served in the community by way of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). She was fined a further $1,100 for each of the three counts of using the initials ‘RN’. She was also ordered to pay Ahpra’s legal costs of $6,529.60.

In 2021 Ms Solis went on to meet the registration requirements, including the Criminal history registration standard, and was granted registration as a nurse. She is currently listed on the online national Register of Practitioners

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Page reviewed 1/07/2022