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For a period of five (5) years following her return to nursing practice, the Respondent shall notify NSCN if she receives any offers of nursing employment. The Executive Director will provide a copy of the full decision of the Professional Conduct Committee (including this Settlement Agreement, without attachments) to her employer(s);
For as long as she holds a licence to practice nursing, the Respondent is not permitted to hold any nursing position that includes a financial component as part of her duties.
Decisions and Outcomes
Condition or restriction, Reprimand, Suspension
February 21, 2020
Summary of Settlement Agreement
In a written decision dated February 21, 2020, the Professional Conduct Committee accepted a Settlement Agreement jointly proposed by the Nova Scotia College of Nursing (“NSCN”) and Ms. Emily MacIntosh, RN, Registration #28042.
The application was submitted in accordance with Section 79(1) of the Nursing Act and section 9 of the Regulations Respecting Nursing.
Background and Overview
Emily MacIntosh received her completed her nursing diploma at Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1993. She first registered with CRNNS on May 11, 1994. Her registration was automatically continued with NSCN when the organization was created on June 4, 2019. Ms. MacIntosh does not have a prior discipline history with NSCN.
Ms. MacIntosh began working at Valley View Villa as a registered nurse (RN) in 1997. In July 2011, she accepted a role as an Administrator and in 2013, she accepted the role of Finance Manager in addition to her role as Administrator. Ms. MacIntosh’s employment with Valley View Villa was terminated in November 2016.
Ms. MacIntosh came to NSCN’s attention when an NSCN Professional Conduct Consultant reviewed an online newspaper article reporting that Ms. MacIntosh had been charged with theft over $5,000 on January 16, 2018.
Details of Issues before the College
In 2016, after experiencing unexplained losses for several years in a row, the Board of Directors of Valley View Villa hired a Chartered Accountant to examine its financial records. The Accountant determined that Ms. MacIntosh used the following methods to misappropriate funds from Valley View Villa:
- Unauthorized payment of vacation pay; contrary to Valley View Villa’s “use it or lose it” vacation policy;
- Payroll advances and overpayment of salary;
- Cheque for goods which were not purchased for Valley View Villa; and,
- Travel expense cheques that did not accurately reflect travel taken (i.e. reimbursement paid in advance of travel, and reimbursement not supported by documentation).
Valley View Villa is solely owned by the Municipality of Pictou County. Therefore, the details of the misappropriation were reported to the Chief Administrative Officer of Pictou County. The Chief Administrative Officer contacted the RCMP.
As part of the College’s investigation Ms. MacIntosh was asked to respond to the allegations raised by the letter of complaint. Ms. MacIntosh admitted to misappropriating funds from Valley View Villa and took accountability for her actions. She explained that she was experiencing financial difficulty during the time she misappropriated funds. Ms. MacIntosh also pleaded guilty to the criminal charges against her and received a conditional discharge. She was ordered to pay restitution to Valley View Villa and has done so.
As part of the Settlement Proposal, Ms. MacIntosh admitted to the following:
- Ms. MacIntosh engaged in professional misconduct by violating the accepted standards of the nursing profession and committing acts that would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional, when she misappropriated $27,676 from her employer, Valley View Villa, between January 2014 and November 2016.
Position of the Parties
The College and Ms. MacIntosh agreed that a reprimand and a lengthy suspension were appropriate in the circumstances, in addition to other conditions and restrictions related to education and reflection. The parties proposed the following outcome:
- A reprimand;
- A six (6) month suspension of her licence, commencing the date the Settlement Agreement is approved by the Professional Conduct Committee and continuing indefinitely until the Respondent satisfies NSCN she has successfully completed the requirements set out in paragraphs 44(c) and (d) below;
- The Respondent will successfully complete, at her own expense, the following course offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Ethics in Nursing and provide confirmation of her successful completion to NSCN.
- The Respondent shall complete a reflective essay of no less than 500-750 words, acceptable to the NSCN Professional Conduct Consultant, in which she shall self-reflect upon her standards of practice and code of ethics as they relate to the issues raised in this complaint;
- For a period of five (5) years following her return to nursing practice, the Respondent shall notify NSCN if she receives any offers of nursing employment. The Executive Director will provide a copy of the full decision of the Professional Conduct Committee (including this Settlement Agreement, without attachments) to her employer(s);
- For as long as she holds a licence to practice nursing, the Respondent is not permitted to hold any nursing position that includes a financial component as part of her duties.
The Settlement Agreement was presented to a panel of the College’s Professional Conduct Committee for consideration. The Committee heard submissions from Kristina Koller, NSCN Professional Conduct Consultant, and heard from Ms. MacIntosh who was present. Aggravating factors included Ms. MacIntosh’s dishonesty, the length of time over which the misappropriation occurred, the amount of the appropriation and the negative impact her conduct had on the employer and the municipality. An important mitigating factor was Ms. MacIntosh’s early and consistent admission to the allegations.
The condition that Ms. MacIntosh is not permitted to hold a nursing position that includes a financial component as part of her duties includes positions such as Finance Officer or Administration where financial management is part of the duties. This condition does not prevent Ms. MacIntosh from working in a patient care setting.
In addition, the parties agreed that Ms. MacIntosh will pay a contribution towards NSCN’s costs with respect to the investigation, complaints committee meeting and completion of the settlement agreement in the amount of $2,500 inclusive of HST. Costs are payable at the end of 24 months immediately following the conclusion of the Respondent’s suspension.
In reaching its decision to approve the Settlement Agreement, the panel noted the objects of the College are to serve and protect the public interest in the practice of the profession, to preserve the integrity of the profession and to maintain the public and registrants’ confidence in the ability of the College to regulate the profession.
The panel found Ms. MacIntosh guilty of professional misconduct. The panel considered the aggravating and mitigating factors including:
- the nature and gravity of the offence, which were serious;
- the dishonesty of her actions; the length of time over which the misappropriation occurred;
- the fact Ms. MacIntosh had no previous conduct history; and,
- the fact that Ms. MacIntosh admitted her conduct and fully cooperated in both the College process and the criminal process.
The panel believed the goals of protection of the public, preservation of the integrity of the profession, and confidence in the profession and its regulation are met by accepting the Settlement Agreement.