Person pulling on a white pair of latex gloves
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
December 25, 2023 ·  5 min read

Fake nurse discovered and fired — after 20 years on the job

Health officials discovered a woman who has posed as a nurse for 20 years. She was never certified to be one, yet she worked at a hospital in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada working in various departments during that time, including the operating room.

The woman, whose name has not been disclosed, was able to get hired and maintain her job by using the nursing license number of a person with the same name. This ploy was uncovered when she signed up for a training course. The authority in charge realized the age on her license number did not match her actual age.

She was suspended while an investigation took place. After a thorough search, the woman was revealed to have no nursing degree. Her dismissal immediately followed.

“Over the years, the documents asked of her were provided—falsified documents,” said Joëlle Savard, spokesperson for the region’s health authority. She explained the records system has been fixed to prevent two people from using the same license number.

Savard could offer no explanation as to how a person with no formal training could have lasted for so long. She speculated since the woman worked as a nurse’s aide, in the beginning, she could have picked up enough necessary skills. Also, any shortcomings from her lack of knowledge and credibility could have gone undetected because she was working with competent people.

As such, Savard claims the officials received no reports of no major mistreatment or accidents because of the fake nurse. “If there were, they were dealt with at the time.”

Union representative Julie Bouchard was surprised by this news. “A few weeks, or a few months, that has happened before. But for such a long time, in our minds it was impossible.”

Luc Mathieu, president of the Quebec’s Order of Nurses, states that although such cases of impostors are rare, they are still troubling. “It’s very serious because a person could have committed acts that could have had serious consequences for patients.”

Finding a Suitable, Qualified Doctor

For many, this imposter case is their worst nightmare. People want to feel safe in the hands of their healthcare practitioner and to trust their judgment and expertise. Therefore, it’s imperative to find properly licensed practitioners whenever health issues arise—or to prevent them.

The relationship between a doctor and patient is just that—a relationship. Not every doctor is suited for every patient, and it’s worth to invest time into finding a suitable practitioner.

The Qualities of a Good Doctor

Every doctor has a different personality and style they bring to their practice. Consider what qualities are most important to you when it comes to your healthcare. Here are some qualities to consider:

  • Someone who focuses on prevention and being proactive to stay healthy, instead of waiting for an issue to diagnose and treat.
  • Someone who takes the time to listen and consider any concerns. This can be through detailed patient intake forms or a thorough consultation or exam. This creates an atmosphere of compassion that allows the patient to feel comfortable and honest with their doctor. The patient should feel like the doctor wants the best for him.
  • Someone with extensive medical knowledge but shows humility by listening to the patient’s experiences. Good doctors understand they can always learn something new.
  • Someone with excellent communication skills to give over crucial information for the patient to understand and plan accordingly.
  • Someone highly regarded and respected by patients and colleagues.
  • Someone professional. Their office is clean, well-organized, and begin appointments on time.
  • Someone who conducts thorough examinations, especially doctors for primary care. They should check the patient’s eyes, mouth, neck, abdomen, heart, lungs, reflexes, and skin. Notice whether they explain the examination as it goes on. [1]

5 Steps to Find a Good, Trustworthy Doctor

1. Seek Referrals

“First of all, word of mouth and personal referrals can be quite helpful,” says Donna Ross, medical social worker and patient support services manager at the Chris Elliott Fund.

“If it were me, I would engage in a detailed and thorough discussion about what a friend or acquaintance found to be commendable about the doctor and whether there was any room for improvement.”

Keep in mind, however, that everyone’s priorities are different. It’s best to speak with someone who shares similar values with you for a referral. This is a good way to find several high-quality doctors to choose from and to narrow them down.

2. Pay Attention to the Service

Pay attention to the care and service you receive from when you call to book an appointment until after the consultation.

It’s common for primary care physicians to book 40 patients a day, but this limits time and contact with each one. If the office and workers feel rushed and brisk, it’s unlikely your concerns will feel acknowledged. Instead, find an office with a warm, relaxed atmosphere with people who seem invested in your wellbeing.

3. Research Education Background

This may not be the most vital factor on this list, it’s still important to know a bit about the doctor’s education and any specialties they might provide.

For a specific concern or condition, ensure the doctor has background experience or education for it. Many doctors take additional courses or accumulate experience after their official schooling. This gives them certifications in specialties and sub-specialties of medicine.

Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS of Rare Genomics Institute, suggests to check a doctor’s training. Websites such as checks doctors’ expertise in answering questions. For further information, check credentials on LinkedIn and ratings on Healthgrades.

4. Take a Companion

Sometimes it’s best to have a friend or family member accompany you to appointments, whether because you struggle with being assertive, or you fear a certain diagnosis. The companion can also scope out the office and service for you.

“It’s hard to listen to difficult medical news and pay attention to all the details at the same time,” Dr. David Harrison, a staff physician at Mass General Hospital and medical director at Best Doctors, Inc.

“Bring along a friend or family member to remind you of the questions you want to ask, and to help you write down important notes.”

5. Know What You’re Looking For

This refers back to #1 and the differences in priorities. What one person dislikes; another might think of as a perk. Know what sort of care you need.

“Some people like a doctor who is loose with writing prescriptions for drugs; others prefer one more conservative. Some want their doctor to be willing to listen to them for twenty to thirty minutes, and others are impatient or busy and want to be in and out of the office fast,” says J. Todd Wagner, PT, DPT, OCS at Life Physical Therapy in Wading River.

“Be specific with yourself about your wants and needs, and shop around until you find the right person.” [2] [3]

  1. What to Look for in a Good Doctor
  2.  A 10-step process to finding a good doctor
  3. How to Find a Good Doctor You Can Trust