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Article: Fake nurse jailed after doing shifts at hospitals across Australia

Date: 9 October 2017
Source: Business Insider Australia

A 32-year-old man has been sentenced to four years jail in the Northern Territory Supreme Court for falsely claiming to be a registered nurse and working at Royal Darwin Hospital.

Nicholas Crawford today pleaded guilty to ten offences including obtaining benefit by deception, false entry in a register, uttering, aggravated assault and supply of schedule two drug.

In April 2014, the former emergency call centre worker was employed by Darwin recruitment agency Health Care Australia, after lying on his resume about his qualifications and work history.

He then accessed and entered himself as a high-level agency nurse on an Australia-wide database, which contains details of qualified nurses available for shifts at short notice.

On May 3, Crawford was contacted by Royal Darwin Hospital and worked as an agency nurse in the Emergency Department from 3pm to 9.30pm, performing various nursing duties on a number of patients.

He provided more false documents to his employer about his qualifications and gained further shifts at RDH, treating a number of patients from 2 May to 29 June.

On June 21, he administered a 34-year-old in the intensive care unit with 2.5mg of morphine intravenously, and 10mg of endone orally.

He also attempted to administer a five-year-old boy with severe disabilities an antibiotic intravenously but was seen struggling by other staff, who had to assist him complete the task.

After the shift, Crawford was asked not to work at the hospital again.

The boy’s mother said she’s now weary of new nursing staff and had requested agency nurses never be assigned to her son again.

“I despise Nicholas Crawford. I don’t even know him but I despise him…His fraudulent and despicable actions will forever haunt me,” she said in a victim impact statement.

The court heard the 32-year-old lied also about his qualifications to gain employment as a trainer with Fox Education and Consultancy.

The job saw him travel to remote communities from July 2014 to January 2015 to teach and mentor Indigenous staff.

During this time, Crawford also committed offences in Queensland and Western Australia, and by May 2015 he’d been caught out.

Acting Justice Dean Mildren accepted defence submissions that the 32-year-old was motivated by a “confused and complicated desire for respect and recognition”, and described the offences as “selfish, conscious fraud”.

The judge handed down a reduced sentence of four years jail, backdated to August last year and suspended after 18 months.

Crawford will be on probation in around four months.

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