A registered nurse who stole critical medical supplies from a WA hospital at the height of the coronavirus pandemic has been banned from practising for a year. Selvarani Burwood was working as a clinical nurse facilitator at Osborne Park Hospital when she convinced three students to help her steal personal protective equipment from the facility between March 4 and March 6, 2020. At the time, PPE was in scarce supply in WA following the emergence of COVID-19. Burwood, who was supervising the students, stole 25 face masks, a handful of disposable gloves and 10 alcohol wipes which cost around $100 in total. She was charged with stealing then pleaded guilty to the three offences in Perth Magistrates Court in June 2020 and copped a $1000 fine. However, the Nursing and Midwifery Board also sought to have Burwood reprimanded by the State Administrative Tribunal over the theft and for failing to inform them that she had been charged with a criminal offence within seven days. In its decision handed down this month, the tribunal described Burwood’s actions as “dishonest”, adding they had concerns that she continued to deny she used her position of authority over the students to “manipulate and coerce them into helping her to steal the PPE” saying they were “willing participants”. “This raises a concern for us as to whether the practitioner has full insight and remorse for her misconduct,” they said. But the tribunal concluded that they did not believe Burwood would be involved in future misconduct and accepted she had been subjected to intense media attention at the time. Instead, they said the most “significant factor” in the case for them was general deterrence — the need to prevent other health practitioners from stealing medical equipment. “The penalty imposed on the practitioner must leave other health practitioners in no doubt that if they engage in conduct similar to that of the practitioner, they will face a significant penalty,” they wrote. The tribunal stripped Burwood of her registration and disqualified her from re-applying for 12 months for engaging in professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct. They also ordered that she pay $10,000 towards the board’s legal costs.