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Fake aged care nursing director guilty

A man who falsely claimed to be a nursing director at an aged care facility has been fined $60,000.

The Victorian man was convicted in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court last week of charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

He plead guilty to four counts of holding himself out as a registered nurse, one count of unlawfully using the protected title ‘registered nurse’ and one count of unlawfully claiming to be authorised or qualified to practise in the nursing profession.

An AHPRA investigation into the allegation revealed that the man had claimed to be a registered nurse to land a job as the director of nursing at an aged care facility. He was not and had never been registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and has never held any qualifications as a nurse.

He narrowly avoided jail time, as new penalties for the type of offence were not yet applicable.

NMBA chair Associate Professor Lynette Cusack said the man’s actions endangered the public’s confidence in the profession.

“Integrity and trust are central to the role of a nurse and this individual’s actions endangered this integrity.

“It is never okay to pass yourself off as a nurse, however, doing so and being in a senior position of influence and responsibility as a director of nursing is a serious abuse of trust.

“Nurses are always in a position of trust when working in our healthcare services but particularly in this case that trust was abused by someone working with one of our most vulnerable patient groups, our elderly."

Cusack added that had the man’s actions not been uncovered he “may well have committed further offences”.

Magistrate David Starvaggi ordered the man to pay AHPRA’s costs in the amount of $4,000.

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