Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has cancelled the registration of an Indian-origin nurse for exploiting a patient under his care financially.
A three-member bench of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has reprimanded Indian-origin nurse Mr Nitin C and cancelled his registration as a health practitioner after he admitted to the allegation of improperly accepting or receiving a total of over $100,000 from a patient.
Nitin, aged in his mid-thirties, is an Australian citizen. He obtained a Bachelor of Nursing degree in India before arriving in Australia in or about 2009, holding a temporary Student visa. He undertook further nursing studies here and was first registered as a nurse in 2012.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia had alleged that Nitin “transgressed the boundaries that should and ordinarily do exist between a registered nurse and patient or care recipient in that he was over-involved with and/or improperly accepted and/or received money from an aged care resident whom the Board refers to as ‘CD’.”
The allegations mainly concern Nitin improperly accepting or receiving a total of over $100,000 from the patient.
The allegations are that between June 2014 and February 2016 or thereabouts, Nitin “was working as a registered nurse at the facility and provided nursing services to residents,” including a 76-year-old woman.
According to the Board, “During that time, he offered to take her to appointments ‘external to’ the Health Service, including lunch outings, shopping and banking trips.”
The Tribunal learned that when Nitin was with the patient out of his working hours, “he discussed his personal and financial affairs with the patient. He asked her for money by way of cash or payment of his expenses or the expenses of close family members.”
The Board alleged that he “received or accepted money from CD (the patient) in various ways – cash, electronic funds transfer, loans or payment of his or his family’s expenses. He sometimes used CD’s ATM bank card and/or Internet banking to withdraw funds for his personal use. There were over 20 payments made during the period. Many of them were in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. There were some that were over $10,000. One payment was of nearly $40,000.”
That was when the woman bought a car that was transferred to him. Among other things, there were education expenses paid for his close relatives, flights, and admission to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
According to the Board, the woman unsuccessfully attempted to recover the money from him. She made telephone calls to him from the middle of 2016 to the end of that year.
Nitin admitted that he engaged in the conduct alleged and so failed to comply with the principles of the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia and the Code of Professional Conduct for and A nurse’s guide to professional boundaries.
The Tribunal considered that the appropriate determinations are that Mr Nitin “be reprimanded; that his registration as a health practitioner be cancelled; and that he be disqualified from applying for registration for the period ending 17 February 2024; and that he be prohibited from providing, whether as an employee, contractor, manager or volunteer, and including as a PCA, and whether directly or indirectly, any health service involving provision of care to persons in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, palliative care facilities, residential aged care, or receiving home or community based aged care or disability care, for the period ending 17 February 2024.”