A registered nurse has been reprimanded and disqualified for having “highly unprofessional” inappropriate relationships with two vulnerable mental health patients — one of whom she asked for money.

Woei Tay has been banned from applying to be re-registered for a year, after the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found she “failed to maintain professional boundaries” and disclosed personal information about patients in “serious breaches of confidentiality”.

According to the judgement, Ms Tay went to a male patient’s home five times and, on at least one of those occasions, stayed overnight in the patient’s bed.

She also asked that patient for $5,000 and revealed personal information about herself, including that she was going through a divorce and owed her ex-husband $65,000.

The tribunal found Ms Tay failed to respond and report alleged inappropriate conduct by the same patient — which included him allegedly kissing her twice.

She also attended a personal event for the patient at his parents’ home and accepted a bracelet, which was later returned.

Her conduct also included providing her mobile phone number and engaging in “numerous inappropriate, personal and non-clinical text and WhatsApp communications”.

The tribunal found she also engaged in an “inappropriate personal relationship” with a female patient which involved regular communication via phone calls and text message.

Ms Tay was working at a clinic at the time and both patients had been under her care.

Patients ‘suffered serious adverse consequences’

The tribunal found her conduct was “inconsistent” with professional standards, and amounted to a breach of trust with patients who were “vulnerable due to their mental health conditions”.

It noted that both patients had “suffered serious adverse consequences from her actions”.

“We note that the respondent was a mature person with many years of nursing experience in Australia and overseas,” the tribunal said in its decision.

“The evidence establishes that she was well aware of her ethical obligations with respect to the maintenance of appropriate boundaries.

“Her boundary transgressions in relation to both patients were highly unprofessional and serious.”

The tribunal also found Ms Tay “inappropriately disclosed confidential information about two patients” on three separate occasions in 2021.

SACAT found Ms Tay’s behaviour constituted professional misconduct.(ABC News: Eugene Boisvert)

The disclosure included sharing information about the medication, admission and discharge of the two patients. She distributed the details to two other patients and sent two images of one patient to another.

The tribunal also made other findings, including that Ms Tay had “failed without reasonable excuse to fully comply” with an Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency notice to provide material including text messages, emails and social media exchanges involving a patient.

It found the documents she produced were incomplete.

According to the tribunal, Ms Tay arrived in Australia in December 2007 after working as a nurse overseas.

Her registration in Australia was obtained in 2010 and she was suspended in June 2021 after the Nursing and Midwifery Board took action.

In imposing its penalty, the tribunal noted Ms Tay had been employed as a “care worker”, but it found her actions amounted to “professional misconduct” and cancelled her registration.

She has been formally reprimanded and disqualified from applying to be re-registered as a health practitioner for 12 months.