Board: The nurse in the hospital emergency room was under the influence of alcohol while treating patients

The state of Iowa has suspended the license of a hospital emergency room nurse accused of working with patients while under the influence of alcohol.

The Iowa Board of Nursing Board has also taken action against a Des Moines nurse accused of stealing pain medication from nursing home residents and a school nurse who admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old student.

In the case involving the emergency room nurse, the board alleges that Michelle Fandel, of Fort Dodge, was working a night shift at an Iowa hospital on April 8, 2022 when colleagues became concerned about her behavior.

While board documents do not name the hospital where the incident occurred, Humboldt County Memorial Hospital says Fandel was employed there on the night in question and her employment ended three days later.

Records from the Humboldt County Memorial Hospital indicate that Fandel worked there as an emergency room nurse.

According to the board, Fandel’s colleagues noticed on April 8 that she had written instructions under the wrong medical provider’s name and that there was a lack of records of a patient’s discharge.

Fandel was reportedly showing signs of being under the influence at the time, with glassy eyes, slurred speech, and slow movements. She also showed signs of confusion when dealing with patients.

Fandel took a blood alcohol test at 3 a.m., eight hours after her 12-hour shift began. The test reportedly showed she had a blood alcohol level of 0.063. Fandel allegedly admitted to having a drink at 1:30 p.m. the previous day.

The Iowa Board of Nursing charged Fandel with practicing nursing while influencing and failing to properly assess or document a patient’s condition.

Recently, the Board of Directors voted to suspend Fandel’s license pending the completion of a chemical dependency assessment. If this review does not result in a recommendation for services or treatment, Fandel’s license will be reinstated and put on probation for one year.

Other Actions of the Nursing Committee

Among the other Iowa nurses who recently faced board sanctions:

Christina Gilmore of Des Moineswho was working as the director of care at Des Moines’ Fleur Heights Care Center in October 2021 when, according to court records, she was charged with stealing hyrdocodone pills from a resident, diverting methadone pills from another resident, and then changing medical records to order to hide the theft.

She was criminally charged with two felony counts of prohibited acts involving controlled substances and one count of tampering with records. She later filed an Alford plea for a count of prohibited acts, acknowledging “strong evidence of actual guilt” but not admitting the facts underlying the charges. The two remaining charges were dismissed. She was fined $1,000 and placed on probation for two years.

The Board of Nursing recently voted to put Gilmore’s nursing license on probation for 12 months.

Angela Beik from Marion, who was convicted of sexual exploitation by a school worker three years ago and sentenced to 180 days in prison while registering as a sex offender. Beik was a school nurse at Linn-Mar High School in Marion and also worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids.

In 2018, police learned that Beik allegedly told colleagues at St. Luke’s that she had had a “hot and intense make-out” with a 16-year-old student at the school. Beik had allegedly befriended the high school freshman and in March 2018 responded to a Snapchat message from the student that included a photo of his genitals by driving to the student’s home, where the two had sex.

According to the board, Beik claimed her actions were influenced by the drug Ambien and also argued that the sex was not consensual and the student raped her. The Board of Nursing revoked Beik’s license and in January 2021 she filed a request for reinstatement.

The Chamber denied the request last December, prompting a request for a hearing on the matter. At the July 2022 hearing, Beik admitted to “making out” with the student prior to the incident that led to her criminal conviction.

In denying Beik’s request for reinstatement, the board said “there just wasn’t enough time for[Beik]to complete her recovery steps and consistently demonstrate a change in her judgment and behavior,” adding that her actions “were so outrageous.” that they are It is difficult for the Board to envision a set of conditions that would allow (her) to return to the practice of nursing at any time for the foreseeable future.”

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