Nurse fined for dressing up references

Conrado Santos set up fake email accounts purporting to belong to his two managers. File photo
Conrado Santos set up fake email accounts purporting to belong to his two managers. File photo

A nurse who admitted to falsifying employment references for positions overseas has been fined and censured.

Conrado Santos, applied for two positions in Queensland, Australia, last year and successfully asked two line managers at Waikato Hospital to provide written references.

Mr Santos altered their written words and set up fake email accounts purporting to belong to his two managers, from which he sent his polished-up versions.

He also created a false email account for one of the perspective employers and told the two line managers to email their references there.

The email accounts were created from Hotmail and Outlook accounts.

Mr Santos embellished the original references and sent them on.

He admitted four charges of professional misconduct at a Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal hearing in Wellington in November last year.

At the time of the hearing, Mr Santos told the tribunal he'd let his practising certificate lapse as, once fired, he couldn't pick up other work, but he was hopeful of nursing again.

He offered no excuses for his wrongdoing, saying he became "corrupted".

"I worked very hard to be a good nurse but in the process I neglected to be a good person as well," Mr Santos said.

"I'm more than sorry for what I have done."

Matthew McClelland, QC, the lawyer for the prosecuting professional conduct committee, said Mr Santos' scheme demonstrated a lack of integrity.

"His conduct was deceitful and deceptive and was carried out with the full purpose of drawing a benefit or advantage."

Mr McClelland also noted the folly of Mr Santos' actions, as the original references were favourable anyway.

While Mr Santos was contrite today, a letter he wrote to Waikato Hospital management last year spoke of feeling frustrated at work. Mr Santos didn't think he was getting the recognition he deserved.

In another letter, to the Queensland hospital that uncovered his false references, he said he offended with a "heavy heart".

Lawyer for Mr Santos, Ms Rose told the Authority, the offending was "not at the most serious end of the scale" in comparison to other fraud cases heard before the Tribunal.

In a decision, the hearing said the public needed to have "trust and confidence in the honesty and ethical standards of nurses both in their conduct within and outside the workplace".

Therefore Mr Santos' actions of falsifying references "fail to meet the high standards of integrity expected of the profession" and brought "discredit" to the nursing profession.

Mr Santos was fined $1000 and ordered to pay 25 per cent of costs which amounted to $5386.

He was also ordered to undertake the Nursing Council's Code of Conduct programme at his own cost if he continues as a nurse.

- NZ Herald

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