Mr Faron Nelson – Disqualified for professional misconduct and prohibited from delivering health services

19 February 2019

Mr Faron Nelson – Disqualified for professional misconduct and prohibited from delivering health services.
 
The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal against a former enrolled nurse, Mr Faron Nelson, who worked as a mental health nurse in Coffs Harbour, NSW. The complaint alleged that Mr Nelson, 43 years old at the time, breached professional boundaries by forming a personal and sexual relationship with a female patient, who had just turned 20, when she spent three months as in-patient at a mental health unit at the Coffs Harbour Hospital. This relationship developed into a sexual relationship on the day of discharge from hospital which continued for approximately two weeks.

Specifically the complaint alleged that Mr Nelson:
• formed a personal relationship with Patient A when she was on the ward, in circumstances where he was never allocated to her as her primary care nurse;
• became friends with Patient A on social media
• entered into an inappropriate personal relationship with Patient A through actions such as inviting her to his home, swimming with her in the pool, offering her alcohol and watching movies with her, that then quickly developed into a sexual relationship;
• failed to appropriately respond to the investigation into his behaviour by the Local Health District (LHD) in that he encouraged Patient A and Person A to lie about his relationship with Patient A; told Patient A to delete relevant evidence; encouraged Patient A to lie to her friends and family about their relationship; and encouraged Person A not to participate in an interview with LHD investigators.

On 12 February 2019, the Tribunal found that Mr Nelson’s conduct amounted to professional misconduct.  It found the conduct “evinces a willingness to use others, including a patient, to achieve his own ends, with no consideration of the duties owed to them or the harm caused to them.  It also marks a disregard for professional duties owed to his employer and to regulators”.

The Tribunal found that the practitioner’s registration would have been cancelled if the practitioner was still registered as an enrolled nurse and ordered that the practitioner be disqualified from being registered for a period of two years.  It also ordered that Mr Nelson be prohibited from providing any health services as an unregistered practitioner, paid or unpaid, for a period of two years from the date of the decision.

The full decision is available at NSW Caselaw.

Further Information

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.