Emma Brown – Registered Nurse - Professional misconduct – Registration cancelled

18 May 2021

The Health Care Complaints Commission (“the Commission”) prosecuted a complaint against registered nurse Emma Brown before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“the Tribunal”).   The complaint alleged failure to undertake observations and falsification of records regarding a 49 year old indigenous male patient who was found deceased in the Acute Mental Health Unit of a hospital in Sydney (“the Hospital”) at the end of a night shift in May 2017. The patient had a recent history of suicide attempts and nurses were required to observe him every 30 minutes during the night shift.

Ms Brown was the team leader for the shift.  The complaint alleged that she recorded that the patient was settled at three times when she did not see him. During the whole night shift, she failed to ensure that half hourly observations were taken, which were serious failures of care and judgment. The complaint alleged that as team leader, she was aware of the risk factors and did not manage those risks through oversight.

On 11 May 2021, the Tribunal found the complaint proven and Ms Brown was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.  The Tribunal commented that “Ms Brown’s conduct was improper and unethical because she recorded and allowed to be recorded observations of Patient A that she knew did not occur. It was contrary to both the Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia and the Code of Professional Conduct for Nurses in Australia”.

The Tribunal stated that it would have cancelled Ms Brown's registration had she still been registered and imposed a two year non-review period during which time she is unable to seek reregistration.

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

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