Honesty is an important trait for nursing professionals. When a nurse exhibits dishonest behaviour such as theft, it degrades the public’s trust in the profession and may present a risk to public safety. As an LPN, are you aware of how dishonest behaviour, such as theft, relates to your Practice Standards and Professional Standards for LPNs?

Case Analysis

Using the HONEST framework (Gallagher & Jago, 2016) we can analyze Jane’s case to demonstrate the aspects of dishonesty and the consequence of this dishonesty:
Highlight the type of dishonesty and domain of offence:
  • This is an example of dishonest behaviour because Jane stole supplies from her employer, and money and jewellery from clients. This behaviour directly relates to her nursing practice as she was stealing at the hospital, resulting in harm to the clients she has a duty to care for.
Organizational issues that may have influenced Jane?
  • While it is unclear whether there were any organizational factors contributing to Jane’s theft, perhaps staff should not have direct access to clients’ personal belongings. Could the employer implement policies and protocols for ensuring clients’ belongings are stored securely?
Negative individual factors that contributed to the theft?
  • Why did Jane steal from her employer and her clients? Jane told the investigator that she was experiencing financial difficulties. Her ex-husband was suing her for custody of her children and she did not know what else to do.

Explanations offered by Jane?

  • Jane explained that her extraordinary personal circumstances led her to steal the money and jewellery. She said that she could not sleep knowing that she had been dishonest with her employer and wanted to “come clean” earlier. Does Jane’s remorse for her actions mitigate the severity of the offence?

Sanction applied.

  • After the investigation, the Inquiry Committee requested that Jane agree to a written reprimand, agree not to repeat the dishonest behaviour, complete education courses in Professional Ethics, and participate in consultations with a Monitoring Advisor to reflect on her behaviour and how it negatively impacts the public’s trust in her as a nurse. The Inquiry Committee also imposed a limit on Jane’s practice of no night shifts, and direct supervision for a period of one year to ensure Jane did not have unsupervised access to clients or their personal belongings.
Training or professional education that may remediate Jane’s dishonesty:
  • As outlined above, the Inquiry Committee requested that Jane participate in remedial education. Her remorse and accountability once confronted indicate that Jane may benefit from courses and consultations and that she likely recognizes the importance of honesty in her nursing practice.

Reflections for your own LPN practice

By stealing from her employer and clients, Jane failed to meet many of her standards as an LPN. While it may sound like an extreme example, other types of “theft” are more common than you think. 

Imagine another example of “theft” and determine which Practice Standards and Professional Standards for LPNs are applicable. Hint: pay close attention to standards that relate to ethical practice and honesty and integrity.

Dishonesty can affect your clients, the LPN profession and your nursing registration. In Jane’s example, the clients were harmed financially. What would the public think if they saw Jane taking money or jewellery? What happens to your nursing registration when you engage in dishonest behaviour like theft?

Stay tuned. Next month we will look at another form of dishonesty in nursing – lying.


Gallagher, A. & Jago, R. (2016). A typology of dishonesty: Illustrations from the PSA Section 29 database. Retrieved from"