Nursing Board Disciplines Four Nurses

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The state Board of Examiners for Nursing disciplined four nurses Wednesday, including two accused of abusing drugs or alcohol and two accused of lying about their credentials.

The board reprimanded and fined Vittoria Guerrera, a registered nurse from Prospect, $3,000, in connection with lying to her employer, St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, in 2015 about her results on a national nursing exam. Guerrera told her employers that a report that she failed the test was false, a consent order approved by the board said.

From June through September of 2015, Guerrera continued to work as an RN at the hospital despite having failed the nursing test, the consent order said. In agreeing to the punishment, Guerrera did not contest the allegations, the consent order said.

Leslie Scoville, a staff attorney for the state Department of Public Health, told the board that Guerrera later passed the nursing exam.

The board approved the consent order, with chairwoman Patricia Bouffard and member Lisa Freeman voting against it. Bouffard said Guerrara was working in the intensive care unit and was only discovered because a nursing faculty member saw her there and reported her.

“I’m not sure the fine is high enough,’’ Bouffard said. “This is fraud, and she was working with high-risk patients.”

The board also suspended the licenses of three nurses, saying their continued practice as nurses posed a “clear and immediate danger” to the public.

The statement of charges against RN Kathleen Baran of Shelton said that she took the painkillers Dilaudid, morphine and/or Percocet while working at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport from February to March 2016. She also abused the painkillers to excess, failed to accurately document medical records and falsified controlled substance records, the statement said.

In May 2016, Baran entered HAVEN, a rehabilitation service, but discontinued her treatment in April of this year against the advice of her counselors, the statement said. Since she is no longer complying with the program, her case was referred to DPH and the board for possible discipline, the statement said.

The board also suspended the license of Dian Miller Francis, a licensed practical nurse from East Hartford, saying she did not graduate from a nursing program. A statement of charges against her said that in 2016, she delivered a document to DPH purporting to be a transcript from Stone Academy in East Hartford. She attended its LPN program in 2014 and 2015 but did not graduate, the statement said.

State officials interpreted her transcript as indicating that she had graduated so Francis was allowed to take the national nursing exam. She passed it and was licensed in March of this year. After that, Stone Academy informed DPH that Francis did not graduate and it did not submit her transcript to DPH, the statement said.

The board also suspended the LPN license of Jennifer Ressa of Danbury. In July, DPH received a report from the state Department of Consumer Protection stating that Ressa took oxycodone from Geer Village in Canaan while working there as a nurse, the statement of charges against her said. Ressa also admitted “self-medicating” with alcohol and was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in March, the statement said. State court records show that in May,  Ressa was sentenced in that criminal case to 18 months on probation and a six-month suspended jail sentence.  

Ressa entered outpatient therapy for substance abuse but has failed to provide DPH with documents proving her sobriety, the statement said.

The board also dropped its charges against Fernando Roldan, an RN from Hartford, because he has voluntarily surrendered his license. In July, the board had suspended his license for failing to comply with the terms of a four-year probation, including attending therapy sessions and submitting drug or alcohol test results.

DPH records show that Roldan admitted that he abused alcohol between 2010 and 2014. Board records show that Roldan was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time in 2013 and spent a year in prison. Records also said he was fired from his job at Connecticut Valley Hospital’s Whiting Forensic Institute, where he had worked for 20 years, for using unreasonable force during a restraint of a patient.

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