Drug-addicted nurse reinstated after stealing drugs from work (Legal view)

Accommodation does not require narcotic-free environment, other nurses can administer drugs: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/06/2011

A nurse who was fired for stealing drugs from her work should be reinstated to another position in the hospital, despite causing “incredible damage to the employment relationship,” an arbitrator has ruled.

Jennifer Harris was hired in 2004 as a part-time nurse in acute care at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, Ont. She sometimes worked full-time hours to fill in for other nurses on leave. Her duties included administering narcotic drugs to patients experiencing pain after surgery, which she did with little supervision.

In 2007, Harris began stealing drugs from the hospital such as Tylenol 3, OxyContin, Percocet and morphine for her own personal use. In 2009, she realized she had a problem and told her doctor who referred her to a treatment program. However, her drug abuse continued and she tried to hide it from her family and work.