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Fake nurse worked for 2 years before being found out

WINNIPEG – Hospital administrators have been checking the licences of thousands of Manitoba nurses after a man who did not have the proper credentials managed to work for two years at a Winnipeg hospital as a nurse.

Cathy Rippin-Sisler, chief nursing officer for Seven Oaks General Hospital, says the human resources department noticed “some inconsistencies” with some paperwork in his personnel file during a routine review of nurses’ licences.

The man did not have a licence to work as a registered nurse in Manitoba, said Rippin-Sisler, noting the man was immediately “removed” from the hospital. “We now believe that the documents he provided at each point they were requested, were in fact not original copies,” said Rippin-Sisler.

Asked to elaborate on the inconsistencies in the paperwork, Rippin-Sisler said: “I can’t comment on the nature of them except to say they are not the original, usual type of document we expect.”

The hospital would not identify the man or the department where he worked. Rippin-Sisler could not explain how the inconsistencies went unnoticed for two years, because every December, the hospital checks the licences for its current nursing staff.

“Certainly, we were very concerned when we discovered the situation, and we have undertaken a review of our HR practices,” Rippin-Sisler said. Part of that review includes having the hospital’s 1,500 licensed staff – registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, psychiatric nurses, physiotherapists – bring his or her registration card for inspection at the HR department.

Because of the problem at Seven Oaks, all of the city’s major hospitals will be asked to verify its nurses’ credentials, said Heidi Graham, a spokesman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

The health authority is one of the agencies reviewing the situation, along with the hospital, and the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, which has already alerted police.

Winnipeg police said they are waiting for the results of the review by the health agencies to see if criminal charges are warranted.

As well, the hospital says it is doing a complete review of documentation to see if his name is associated with what it calls critical incidents and unusual occurrences.

“To date, we have not found any situations,” Rippin-Sisler said. Mike Vasilica, president of Compassionate Care, an agency that places registered nurses with personal care homes and other organizations, told the Winnipeg Free Press he first met the man in 2004 when he applied to work as a graduate nurse. At the time, Vasilica said the man told him he was a nurse in the Philippines and was studying to become a registered nurse in Manitoba.

Vasilica hired the man as a graduate nurse and later placed him at Marymound, a non-profit agency that provides education and therapeutic services to young people.

Ian Hughes, executive director of Marymound, said the man’s resume listed extensive medical experience, including with a medical corporation in the Philippines, when he applied to work with teens last April.