The Utah County Jail is without a nursing supervisor while the man who has held the position for the past few years appeals the state's revocation of his license.
The Board of Nursing for the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing recommended in February that the license of jail nursing supervisor Daniel L. Ellsworth be revoked for conduct it deemed unprofessional and unethical.County officials placed Ellsworth on administrative leave March 24 after the Utah Attorney General's Office said it would be illegal for him to continue using his license.
"In effect, he does not have a license to practice as a nurse," Utah County Sheriff Dave Bateman said.
Ellsworth has appealed the state's decision, but the appeal won't be heard and ruled on for several weeks. The county personnel department will decide soon whether to keep Ellsworth on paid status or not.
According to testimony given during a four-day hearing in December, Ellsworth allegedly failed to document changes made to jail medical records, relabeled unused medication and practiced dentistry on an inmate. Most of the alleged incidents occurred more than two years ago.
State officials say when Ellsworth was hired at the jail, he reintroduced an abandoned policy of retaining and relabeling medication unused by inmates. The board said the practice is improper because inmates could receive wrong medication, even though no evidence was presented that inmates did. Ellsworth also allegedly altered inmate drug records and psychiatric test scores without documenting the rationales for the changes.
State officials also found that Ellsworth violated the nurse/patient relationship in 1992 while working at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center when he became romantically involved with a female patient. State officials said when Ellsworth worked at the hospital's psychiatric unit, he met the female patient, who was on leave, at a local motel. Ellsworth met the woman, who had a personality disorder, eight years earlier and the two had a romantic relationship in 1991.
Officials said when the woman returned to the hospital from her leave, she was in a drunken and disassociated state, and her condition had regressed.
As a registered nurse, Ellsworth was responsible for the medical care of about 200 inmates. About one-third of the jail's inmates are on medication.
Since placing Ellsworth on leave, the county has been using contracted doctors to supervise the jail's licensed nursing staff. Bateman said the county will hire another registered nurse in the next few weeks.