On May 23, 2021 a panel of the Inquiry Committee approved a Consent Agreement between BCCNM and Euphemia Guttin of Victoria, to remediate practice issues related to her conduct and competence while working as the Executive Director, Service Operations for the Garth Homer Society from 2015 to 2018. In addition to her duties as Executive Director overseeing Garth Homer Society's well established day programs which served the needs of approximately 265 clients, she was responsible for a program overseeing five residences housing medically complex and/or vulnerable clients. Ms. Guttin's role included responsibility for working with stakeholders, including families, developing and maintaining policies and procedures, quality assurance for day-to-day operations and compliance with policies, applicable standards, and applicable legislation. Ms. Guttin was the subject of three separate complaints by clients' family members and one complaint by a former employee related to her nursing practice with respect to the residential program. BCCNM conducted an extensive investigation into the complaints.
As a result of the investigative process, the Inquiry Committee determined that Ms. Guttin, in her role as Executive Director of Service Operations, did not ensure that appropriate policies were in place for the residential housing program. Ms. Guttin did not appropriately or adequately respond to parental concerns. When parents and legal Representatives attempted to advocate for and provide information about their child, whom the parents/Representatives had cared for in community for decades prior to their admission to the residential program at the Garth Homer Society, their concerns were minimized, and Ms. Guttin did not honour their authority by failing to provide adequate or accurate information about their child.
The Inquiry Committee determined that the rigid communication policies for parents and legal Representatives, enforced by Ms. Guttin in an unsuccessful attempt to better direct communication, effectively obstructed the parents'/legal Representatives' access to and interactions with their child, frustrating Garth Homer Society's purported “open door policy" and, in cases where the client was cognitively challenged and non-verbal, effectively eliminated the parents' role as an advocate, thus, in the view of the Inquiry Committee, silencing the voice of the vulnerable client in care.
As part of her role to provide clinical support to front line staff, the Inquiry Committee determined that Ms. Guttin did not adequately document her on-call clinical advice to care staff.
Ms. Guttin does not agree with every determination made by the Inquiry Committee, but she admits that her conduct in relation to the four complaints made about her nursing practice breached BCCNM's Professional and Practice Nursing Standards and constitutes unprofessional conduct within the meaning of the Heath Professions Act.
The Registrant has voluntarily agreed to a 15-month suspension of her nursing registration. Twelve months will be considered “time served" given that Ms. Guttin has been the subject of an interim suspension order pursuant to section 35 of the Act during the course of the investigation into her nursing practice. Ms. Guttin will also complete learning activities or coursework related to communication, leadership, risk management, conflict resolution, policy development, quality assurance, documentation, and relevant legislation. She must develop a learning plan and discuss it with a BCCNM practice consultant, to ensure translation of learning to practice. If Ms. Guttin continues to work as a nursing administrator, she must obtain a mentor for six months of executive coaching. If she wishes to engage in direct client care or clinical support, she must first complete a nursing refresher course or otherwise provide proof of clinical competency and then complete a period of supervision.
The Inquiry Committee is satisfied that the terms will protect the public.