Ca: Co-workers irate after Powell River nurse who snooped in medical files gets job back

If you think it’s “excessive” to fire an employee for snooping in patients’ records, then you don’t get the importance of medical privacy. And for a union representing healthcare workers to try to claim that an employee shouldn’t be fired for repeated snooping just because others hadn’t been fired is, well…. disgraceful.

What has happened in Canada after a health authority appropriately fired a nurse for repeated snooping sends a terrible message to patients and to fellow workers.

Susan Lazaruk reports:

A Powell River nurse fired for accessing multiple medical files of co-workers and of people she knew — including her ex-father-in-law after a suicide — got her job back, and now her victims are calling for her licence to be revoked.

Michelle Chisholm, 43, a licensed practical nurse at Willingdon Creek Village care home, was fired in January 2015 after an investigation found she opened the files of 14 people 21 times over 11 months in 2014.

She was fired by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, but reinstated last month by an arbitrator after the B.C. Nurses Union filed a grievance.

VCH argued it had “zero tolerance” for privacy breaches and it noted evidence “leads us to conclude there may be an even longer history of ongoing breaches.”

But the union argued other breaches didn’t result in dismissal and that Chisholm expressed “real remorse” and was able to be rehabilitated.

Read more on Vancouver Sun.

Firing her doesn’t revoke her license. The health authority was right to fire her. Let her get a job somewhere else if someone else is willing to risk hiring her. Let her take time off and re-take ethics courses and privacy training and then try again somewhere. But to force the health authority to reinstate her? Outrageous.

And if that sounds harsh, so be it. This is really an awful ruling by the arbitrator, and a disgusting grievance by the union.


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3 comments to “Ca: Co-workers irate after Powell River nurse who snooped in medical files gets job back”

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  1. Jordana Ari - April 6, 2016

    How does HR or a company know that patients files have been tampered with? Just wondering about that. It said in the article 14 patient files have been opened 21 times in an eleventh month period.

    Also about the union representing members, unions across the country have not really been doing their jobs effectively to help support and represent their members. Unfortunately, its situations like this, where those members who probably should have their job revoked, end up keeping their jobs. Regardless, a union member is supposed to have the required representation, despite the severity of the offense. I have feeling there was more going on at these arbitration hearings which were not included in the article and that is why it made it easier for her to get the job back.

    • Dissent - April 6, 2016

      Access logs and auditing reveal improper access if you’ve set controls with everyone having unique login creds for access.

      • Jordana Ari - April 6, 2016

        Ah, so its all accessed through computers and tablets?

        I keep thinking that everything is done with good old fashioned manila folders .

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