This is Why I am Not a Med-Surg Nurse

My brain has turned into so much strawberry Jello. Yesterday was a very bad endless day, so bad I came home and showered for about two hours in very hot water, scrubbing vigourously. I had four patients best described with one word: poo. Experienced nurses will understand immediately what I mean.

So I will do laundry, read, hang out with Mister Man (who is also home today), watch the snow fall and maybe drink a California cab franc I’ve been saving.

I do have ten posts simmering in the draft pot. After picking at three or four of them for a couple of hours I came to the conclusion that on some days, it’s pointless.

I’ll leave you with this story from the National Post. I was going to write about it today, but frankly, my heart wasn’t in it. The ethical issues are too complex for my poor sludge-filled brain today. My only coherent thought is this: should every nurse who is accused of a crime have her/his licence revoked or suspended pending proceedings? Does the need for public safety trump any notion of innocent till proven guilty?

A registered nurse charged with sexually assaulting two boys is still working in a long-term care facility, officials said yesterday.

Provincial court documents show Winnipeg police arrested and charged Donald Hildebrand in September with repeatedly sexually assaulting two boys under the age of 16 between 1988 and 1992. He faces charges of assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

The charges, which relate to incidents before Mr. Hildebrand was registered as a nurse, have not been proven in court.

Although the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba has the power to temporarily suspend a nurse’s licence to practice, Mr. Hildebrand is still working with patients in a long-term care facility, officials said.

College spokesman Glenn Hildebrand, who is not related to Donald Hildebrand, said an investigation committee received a complaint about the charges filed against the nurse.

The college placed restrictions on Mr. Hildebrand’s licence in October, including stipulations that he can’t work alone or provide medical care to anyone under 18.

Glenn Hildebrand said his employer is aware of the charges and the college believes he is not a danger to his patients.

“They feel he can still provide safe and competent care,” he said.

Arthur Schafer, a University of Manitoba professor of ethics, called the situation horrifying.

He said the college should be concerned that a person who may have exploited children is working with vulnerable patients.

“The charges are so serious, so exploitive, so damaging,” Prof. Schafer said. “How could you dream of letting your mother, father, grandparents be exposed to such a person? I think the public will be horrified at the moral blindness of the college.”

Prof. Schafer said public health and safety trump all other considerations in cases such as this, particularly since nurses have intimate access to patients’ bodies and their medical and social information.

Last week, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba came under fire for granting a convicted felon who was deported from the United States a licence to practise medicine in Manitoba in 1999.


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