A dental hygienist has been censured after she hit a man with an empty bottle before throwing a wine glass at him during a night out at SkyCity casino.
Gerrie Gertrude Janssen blamed her work for the assault because she had to deal with angry, nervous and sometimes aggressive patients.
Following her conviction, Ms Janssen's fitness to continue practising as a medical professional was called into question by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, which yesterday released the findings of its investigation.
The incident occurred in 2009 when Ms Janssen was having a night out at the casino. She had an altercation with another patron, which led to her hitting the man over the head with an empty 330ml bottle. While he was on the ground, she threw a wine glass at him which smashed in his face.
Ms Janssen pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a weapon and was sentenced to 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay $200 in reparation. But because she was a sworn health professional and had promised to "do no harm", the case was also called before the tribunal to assess whether she was still fit to practise.
The Professional Conduct Committee argued she should be suspended because she had committed a serious assault. As well, she had given her work as one of the reasons for the assault.
"Ms Janssen told police she committed the assault because she was angry and frustrated and in her work she regularly has to deal with stressed, nervous and, at times, aggressive patients," said a submission from counsel for the Professional Conduct Committee.
The assault also diminished the reputation of her profession.
Ms Janssen's lawyer told the tribunal that she was not intoxicated on the night of the assault and although her actions were "clearly wrong and inappropriate", they still did not reflect adversely on her fitness to continue practising.
The tribunal said that violence would not be tolerated in health professionals, even if it happened outside the course of their work.
As well as being censured, Ms Janssen was given a three-month suspended sentence. She was also ordered to pay 25 per cent of the costs of the investigation.