A registered nurse has been charged with five felonies in connection with thefts of credit cards, checks and other items from hospital patients and employees.

Jean C. Andersen, 39, 5037 S. Scarsdale Court, Taylorsville, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Thursday on a warrant charging her with one count of forgery and four counts of falsely signing a financial-transaction-card sales slip, jail documents state.The charges stem from allegations that Andersen - a former staff nurse at St. Mark's Hospital - stole purses and wallets from patients being treated at the hospital and then used the stolen bank cards in transactions.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Capt. Bill Van Wagenen said his office investigated complaints from five patients and one hospital employee. He said detectives believe there may be as many as 15 other victims, including patients at other hospitals where Andersen also may have worked.

"While they were receiving treatment, (someone would) go through their possessions," he said, indicating that the incidents have occurred during the past two months.

Mark Meadows, administrative director of public relations at St. Mark's, said complaints from patients and employees led hospital officials to conduct an internal investigation that led to Andersen's termination. He said hospital officials also worked with sheriff's detectives in the investigation that led to the charges.

Van Wagenen said Andersen was fired in 1989 from another hospital for investigation of the same type of offense. University of Utah police arrested Andersen on May 10, 1989, for investigation of forgery.

University Hospital spokesman John Dwan said hospital records indicated a nurse named Jean K. Andersen, as opposed to Jean C. Andersen, worked as a nurse there from July 1985 until May 10, 1989. He said university policy does not allow him to release the circumstances surrounding the departure of a former employee.

A spokeswoman for the state Occupational and Professional Licensing Division of Nursing said Andersen has been a registered nurse in Utah since 1985. Records indicate that no action has been taken against her nursing license.