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B.C. nurse reprimanded for 'verbal exchanges,' confidentiality breach

B.C.'s College of Nurses and Midwives found the nurse breached investigation confidentiality by intimidating a witness.
Nurses in B.C. are regulated by the College of Nurses and Midwives.

B.C.’s College of Nurses and Midwives has reprimanded a Pitt Meadows nurse after finding she improperly interacted with vulnerable psychiatric patients.

In a May 16 public notice, a college inquiry committee panel said Deborah Leitch had practice issues relating to her engaging in verbal exchanges with vulnerable residents in a manner that "escalated their responsive behaviours."

The panel further said that behaviour was contrary to the patients’ care plans.

It also found Leitch breached confidentiality requirements during the college's investigation by contacting and intimidating a witness and distributing a confidential document.

The notice said Leitch agreed to a one-year limit prohibiting her from carrying a resident, patient or client assignment where 51% or more of those people have psychiatric, mental health, behavioural, or memory care issues.

The discipline also included a public reprimand and.a requirement that she take remedial education in documentation, communication and respectful workplace practices.

"The inquiry committee is satisfied that the terms will protect the public," the notice said.

The college is currently one of 18 regulatory bodies empowered under the Health Professions Act to regulate health professions in B.C. It regulates the practice of four distinct professions: nursing, practical nursing, psychiatric nursing and midwifery. 

Similar legislation in other self-regulated areas such as the legal and notary public professions also allows citizens to know about discipline issues in the public interest.