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Andrea Pezzano, AD063498
The Member admitted that she engaged in professional misconduct by failing to appropriately establish and maintain the boundaries of the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship when she communicated by text message and telephone with a patient outside of the therapeutic relationship, met with the patient outside of the therapeutic relationship and engaged in a personal, romantic and sexual relationship with the patient. The Member also admitted that she engaged in touching of a sexual nature with the patient, engaged in behaviour and made remarks of a sexual nature toward the patient and engaged in physical sexual relations with the patient.
Based on the Member’s admissions, the Panel found the Member:
- sexually abused a patient;
- contravened a standard of practice of the profession or failed to meet the standards of practice of the profession;
- emotionally abused a patient; and
- engaged in conduct, relevant to the practice of nursing, that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional.
The College of Nurses of Ontario (“CNO”) and the Member presented the Panel with a Joint Submission on Order requesting that the Panel make an order that included the following:
- an oral reprimand;
- revocation of the Member’s certificate of registration; and
- reimbursement to CNO for funding up to $5,000 for therapy and counselling for the patient, under the program required by s. 85.7 of the Health Professionals Procedural Code,if the patient accesses the fund.
The Panel accepted the Joint Submission on Order, concluding that the proposed penalty was reasonable and in the public interest.
Aggravating factors considered by the Panel included:
- the seriousness of the Member’s conduct as it involved emotional and sexual abuse of a vulnerable patient who was receiving psychotherapeutic care.
Mitigating factors considered by the Panel included:
- the Member has no prior discipline history with CNO;
- the Member cooperated with CNO; and
- the Member accepted responsibility for her conduct.