A nurse who was found guilty of trafficking drugs she stole from the nursing home where she worked could now lose her nursing registration.
Aneta Kramarz worked as an Enrolled Nurse at a nursing home in Lysterfield, in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Part of her role as an EN was to order Endone and Oxynorm, which are both forms of the potentially dangerous drug Oxycodone.
When local pharmacy staff realised that Ms Kramarz was collecting medications directly from the pharmacy – which was in breach of the aged care facility’s policy – they notified the nursing home where she worked.
The nursing home promptly informed police, who investigated the matter.
Police raided Ms Kramarz’s home, where they found empty boxes of the medications labelled with the names of residents at the nursing home.
The boxes matched those that were sold to Ms Kramarz by the pharmacy.
Police estimated that they found 1,000 Endone pills and 300 Oxynorm at Ms Kramarz’s home.
Ms Kramarz pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking a drug of dependence and ‘obtaining property by deception’, and last year a court found her guilty.
Ms Kramarz was placed on a Community Corrections Order without conviction, which means she can serve her sentence in the community.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia applied to have Ms Kramarz’s conduct assessed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The hearing was held last week with the VCAT finding that Ms Kramarz had engaged in professional misconduct, which meant she was not a fit and proper person to hold a nurse’s registration.
Senior Member of the VCAT, Gerard Butcher, deferred a decision on the matter to provide more time for submissions and to allow more time for “procedural fairness”.
Both of the drugs related to Ms Kramarz’s case – Endone and Oxynorm – are forms of Oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid-based medication that is mainly prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe levels of pain, or in special situations, such as during childbirth and during end-of-life care.
Oxycodone can be highly addictive, and presents a high risk of overdose if its use is not properly supervised by a medical professional.
According to report from the University of New South Wales, the rate of accidental deaths due to opioids is increasing, with more than two-thirds of the deaths due to pharmaceutical opioids rather than heroin.
Using Oxycodone without a prescription, or selling or giving it to someone else, is illegal.