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B.C. nurse suspended for accessing medical records

The B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives has suspended a Rossland, B.C., nurse for accessing medical records and leaving a student nurse in charge while he attended to a personal matter.
A Rossland, B.C. nurse has been suspended for inappropriately accessing health-care records.

The B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives has suspended a Rossland, B.C., nurse for accessing his own and other people's medical records.

In a decision released July 25, a college inquiry committee panel said Christopher Whelan did not have a care relationship with the other people when the professional misconduct occurred between June and November of 2022.

“Mr. Whelan used his position and health authority credentials to access his own health record one time, the health record of an individual known to him 24 times, and a second individual known to him five times,” the panel said in its decision.

The decision said Whelan accessed the records without clinical justification. It added that the health information was not disclosed to a third party. It's not clear why Whelar accessed the medical records.

In one incident Oct. 6, 2022, Whelan inappropriately delegated nursing tasks to an unsupervised nursing student he was responsible for directly supervising. The Rossland nurse then left the intensive care unit to attend to a personal matter.

As a result of the findings, Whelan has been suspended for 12 days and must complete a remedial course on health information access and privacy.

The college is 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 the disclosure of information about discipline issues in the public interest.