A Georgia woman has run afoul of the law for posing as a nurse at the county health department where she worked as a clerk.
Robin Jones, 47, of the Dougherty County Health Department in Albany, Ga., allegedly took on the role when she saw that the agency was too understaffed to treat its patients, police said.
“She said she was just trying to help out because some of the patients would wait so long, they would leave before they were treated,” Lieutenant Chad Kirkpatrick of the Dougherty County Police Department told ABC News today. “She said she wanted to get them proper help.”
Jones was not qualified to treat patients, but that didn’t stop her from examining them and prescribing medication from the in-house pharmacy, authorities said.
Jones took copies of old medication forms that the real nurse, Nakia Bradley, had already signed, authorities said, and traced over Bradley’s signature onto a new form. Jones collected a mere $90 in total from patients for her services, authorities said.
She was charged with three counts of forgery and one count of prescribing dangerous medication, police said.
Jones was released Monday after posting a $10,000 bail, police said. County officials said it was unclear whether she had retained an attorney.
Dr. Jacqueline Grant, director of the Southwest Public Health District, which oversees the Dougherty County Health Department, said she believes that the patients may have confused Jones for a nurse because she was wearing scrubs.
“All of our staff wears badges that state what position they occupy in the hospital,” said Grant. “But since all of the clinic staff also wears scrubs, if the patient did not look at her badge, [Jones] could get off impersonating a nurse.”
The health department became aware of the issue in late October, when a dissatisfied patient came back the day after being treated by Jones, Grant said.
When asked to describe the nurse that treated him, the staff realized that there was no nurse that fit the description. The patient eventually was able to identify Jones as the person who treated him, Grant said.
So far there have been five patients identified who say they were treated by Jones, but the health department could not say how many people were duped.
“We’ve put out the word through the media and social media for anybody that may have been misled into thinking they had a patient-nurse relationship with her to please contact the health department so that they can get proper treatment,” said Carolyn Mashke, the public relations officer for the Southwest Public Health District.
The health department has since reviewed and changed many of their policies, including the protocol for dispensing medication and designating scrubs for only nurses.
“It’s hard to believe she could betray the patients and staff like that,” said Grant. “For many of our staff it’s a passion and calling to treat under-served patients, so it really is an unfortunate circumstance that this woman could think to mislead.”
Jones could not be reached for comment.