A nurse sacked from Auckland's North Shore Hospital after questions were raised about her dispensing of Oxynorm capsules has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

Oxynorm is a brand of oxycodone, a morphine-like drug. Some people abuse it and this can lead to addiction.

The registered nurse, Crystal Schlee, now faces losing her right to practice in New Zealand, although it is understood she has moved to the United States.

Her job on a medical isolation ward at the Takapuna hospital, run by the Waitemata District Health Board, was terminated in October 2012.


Schlee did not attend the hearing of charges against her in the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal today.

The tribunal found that most but not all of the particulars of the allegations made against Schlee by a Nursing Council professional conduct committee were established. The tribunal has not yet decided on the committee's request that Schlee be struck off the register of nurses.

The committee's lawyer, Matthew McClelland QC, said the hospital management had found Schlee was responsible for 20 per cent of Oxynorm removals from ward 11 between May 1 and June 6, 2012. By October 2012, the ward was using 75 per cent more Oxynorm than the next-highest-using medical ward and Schlee's transactions accounted for 27 per cent of ward 11's use.

The tribunal found her guilty of inappropriately obtaining Oxynorm from a Pyxis electronic medicines-dispensing machine on six of nine occasions alleged by the committee, amounting to six capsules, most of which were of the 5mg size.