CRNBC received a complaint about Laurie Tinkham in January 2013 from a staff member at Vancouver Island Health Authority (Island Health), and began an investigation. Ms. Tinkham was first registered with the College on Sept. 5, 2001, and that license lapsed on March 1, 2003. She was reinstated as a registered nurse (RN) on Nov. 12, 2010, and that license lapsed on March 1, 2013. Ms. Tinkam has not been registered since this time.
Following the investigation, a report was made to the Inquiry Committee, and a
Citation was authorized. The citation notified Ms. Tinkham, and the public, that a hearing would be held Feb. 24, 2017. The hearing would examine allegations that, while purporting to provide nursing care to a client, Ms. Tinkham:
The College submitted that Ms. Tinkham’s violation of professional standards was severe, involving long-term exploitation of a nurse-client relationship with an elderly and infirm couple.
Ms. Tinkham was given clear and adequate notice of the hearing, but did not attend.
The committee on April 25, 2017, issued its
Reasons for Decision and Order, which was sent to Ms. Tinkham on May 4, 2017. Ms. Tinkham did not respond.
A hearing was held Sept. 29, 2017, to determine the Decision and Order of the Discipline Committee on penalty, costs and public notice. Ms. Tinkham did not attend this hearing.
The Committee noted that while Ms. Tinkham's behaviour was not at the farthest end of the spectrum of serious misconduct, her behaviour was still egregious. Her failing to maintain appropriate boundaries involved her reaping substantial financial benefits from elderly clients, and her also gaining access to assets through a power of attorney. Such conduct stands to significantly erode the public’s confidence in nurses, whom the public trusts to care for vulnerable clients. Ms. Tinkham's conduct engages a need for measures that will deter similar conduct by other registrants, and promote public confidence in the profession and its ability to self-regulate.
The CRNBC Discipline Committee on Nov. 20, 2017, issued the following
Decision and Order on penalty, costs and public notice for Ms. Tinkham:
a fine of $17,500; and
costs to the College in the amount of $16,535.69 to be paid by December 31, 2017.
In addition, the Panel concluded and declared that
were she still registered, Ms. Tinkam's conduct would warrant the following measures, limits and conditions under sections 39(2) and 39(8) of the
Health Professions Act:
cancellation of registration
no eligibility to reapply for registration, including reinstatement, for five (5) years;
the following limits and conditions, in the event of subsequent registration, including reinstatement, requiring that Ms. Tinkham
not act or allow herself to be designated as a Power of Attorney under the Power of Attorney Act, and not perform a like function under any similar or successor legislation;
not engage in the independent practice of nursing through an agency or practise independently in the community or otherwise, and only practice nursing for an employer in a setting where other nurses are employed;
not work in any capacity where she has any direct control or responsibility over the finances or financial affairs of her employer or her clients; and
prior to commencing any future employment,
notify the College of the name, address and telephone number of any proposed employer at least 30 days before the proposed commencement of employment;
provide the proposed employer with the Panel’s decisions in this matter, and the decision of the Registration Committee as to any requirements, limits or conditions upon her practice; and
only practice for an employer who provides the College written confirmation that it has received a copy of the documents referred to above, that it will employ her subject to the limits upon her practice by the Panel and the Registration Committee, and that it will notify the College immediately upon receipt of any information that she has breached such limits or the required standards of practice of the nursing profession (the “Appropriate Measures”).
The Panel also specifies, pursuant to s. 21(5)(b) of the
Act, that the Appropriate Measures be entered onto the register, to indicate—for purposes of s. 20(2.1 )(b. l) of the
Act, among others—what measures the Discipline Committee would have found appropriate had Ms. Tinkham still been a registrant subject to cancellation. CRNBC is satisfied this outcome will protect the public.