Caught as a fake in St. John’s, imposter nurse Lisa Driscoll still landed a job in Gander

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The owner of a St. John’s long-term care home has confirmed he employed a fake nurse under false credentials before the woman moved on to work as a private travel nurse in central Newfoundland.

And although the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador flagged her lack of credentials last summer, the woman was still able to land in health care as a registered nurse in Gander.

The latest revelation means Driscoll apparently used a stolen identity at least twice to gain work in health care in Newfoundland.

Barry Parsons, who owns the Chancellor Park care home in St. John’s, has confirmed that imposter nurse Lisa (Strickland) Driscoll worked there as a nurse “for a period of time,” writing in a letter to residents and their families that Driscoll was terminated last June.

In the letter, Parsons confirms that Driscoll worked as a licensed practical nurse at the privately owned facility on Portugal Cove Road.

“We regret that this happened in our facility even with the most stringent checks and balances,” Parsons wrote.

Chancellor Park was tipped off by the province’s college of licensed practical nurses, the CEO and registrar told CBC News Wednesday.

Wanda Wadman of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador said her organization received a call on June 6 from an employer that there was an application from Driscoll, and during the course of their “due diligence” to determine her licensure status, the employer recognized that Lisa Driscoll wasn’t on the college’s register.

Wadman says Driscoll worked at Chancellor Park for over a year.

From Chancellor Park to Gander

Not long after her dismissal from Chancellor Park, Driscoll landed a job as a registered nurse at Lakeside Homes long-term care facility in Gander, working more than two dozen shifts as a travel nurse hired by a private agency between August and November 2022.

She made national headlines last month after she was fired by Central Health after the regional health authority received a complaint that she was working as an unregistered practitioner. 

Driscoll is now under investigation by the RCMP, but no charges have been laid.

A further investigation by CBC discovered that Driscoll was sentenced to 2½ years in prison in early 2021 for the death of her four-year-old son in Hamilton but served only 75 days because of lengthy pre-sentencing custody.

The Bonavista woman was living in Hamilton in 2017 when her four-year-old son, Kane Driscoll, was found dead in her home, with a lethal dose of an opioid prescribed to Lisa Driscoll in his body. Police charged Strickland with manslaughter in 2019, but she pleaded down to criminal negligence causing death. 

Attempts by CBC News to reach Driscoll have been unsuccessful.

Parsons said an internal review at Chancellor Park has determined “there were no negative impacts from her interactions with residents.”

In addition to Driscoll’s termination, Parsons said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was also informed in June.

“We wish to inform you the care of our residents is our single biggest priority,” said Parsons.

Chancellor Park has tightened hiring protocols

CBC News, having previously received tips that Driscoll had worked at Chancellor Park, spoke with Parsons on several occasions in recent days to ask whether that was the case.

Parsons would only say Driscoll had not worked as an RN at Chancellor Park and that he would inquire with his human resources team to determine whether she worked in any other capacity.

It’s not clear why Parsons was unable to confirm Driscoll’s employment history with Chancellor Park, since Driscoll was fired in June under very unusual circumstances.

CBC News has requested an interview with Parsons.

It’s also not clear how Driscoll evaded Chancellor Park’s vetting process for employees, but Parsons said, “We are confident that we have augmented all procedures to ensure this would never happen again.”

According to Central Health, Strickland used the licence number of a registered nurse with a very similar name that was posted online to land a job with Staffing Solutions Inc., a private agency that provides extra nursing support to health authorities when needed. 

Staffing Solutions then assigned Driscoll to Lakeside Homes.

Central Health has said it was the responsibility of Staffing Solutions to verify the credentials of travel nurses, but in the wake of the Driscoll controversy, the health authority has added a second layer of scrutiny.

CBC News determined that Lisa Driscoll’s name was previously flagged by the College of Nurses of Ontario as an “unregistered practitioner.” 

College of LPNs tipped off the facility

Wadman says the college discovered a mismatch in names during its investigation in June.

There was a Michelle Driscoll, Wadman said, a name Lisa Driscoll had used previously in Ontario. 

“There was a mismatch in the licensure names … through that process we realized that the Michelle Driscoll who was licensed with us was not Lisa Driscoll,” said Wadman.

“Lisa Driscoll had never been licensed in Newfoundland and Labrador as an LPN.”

Wadman said it was during that process that the college learned Driscoll was employed at Chancellor Park.

She said she contacted Chancellor Park personally and advised them an employee under the name Lisa Driscoll, who was working as an LPN, was not licensed to practice.

“It looks like she began practising there in March of 2021 until June [2022] — until they received my call. That’s according to their letter that they put out today to families of residents,” said Wadman.

“It’s my understanding that Chancellor Park then terminated her employment and we advised Chancellor Park that this needed to be reported to the RNC.” 

Wadman said the college received three other inquiries about Lisa Driscoll from prospective employers — not including Lakeside Homes in Gander or Chancellor Park — but she was never hired.

“It’s just very disturbing that an individual is able to do this, to find employment without the proper credentials,” said Wadman. 

“We have processes set up to ensure that individuals go through proper the licensing process and we identify people who are duly licensed to work as LPNs on our website.” 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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