London, Ont., NICU nurse who travelled to D.C. has been fired ‘with cause’

The employer of a London, Ont., registered nurse who travelled to Washington, D.C., in early January says the woman has been “terminated with cause” following an internal investigation.

Kristen Nagle, who worked in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), made headlines earlier this month following a trip across the border that went against Canadian government directives to avoid non-essential travel.

Video on social media showed Nagle speaking at the Global Frontline Nurses Summit, an event scheduled for Jan. 6 at Washington, D.C., that voiced opposition to COVID-19 health measures.

The summit took place at the same time as the U.S. Capitol riots, which saw supporters of President Donald Trump storm the Capitol in an outbreak of violence that left at least five dead in its wake.

Read more: London, Ont., NICU nurse who travelled to Washington, D.C., on unpaid leave

LHSC revealed Nagle’s firing in an emailed statement to Global News.

The statement noted that the nurse was placed on an unpaid leave after the hospital learned of actions involving Nagle in November “that were not aligned with LHSC’s values.”

The hospital added that her unpaid leave was “pending the results of an internal investigation, which is now complete.”

“While we are not able to address the specifics of the investigation, we can confirm that the nurse has been terminated with cause,” LHSC said.

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While LHSC did not specify what actions prompted the unpaid leave in November, CBC News had reported at that time that the “neonatal nurse could be in trouble with her regulatory body after taking part in anti-mask and anti-lockdown rallies in the province.”

As of Monday, Nagle is listed as a licensed registered nurse who is “entitled to practice with no restrictions,” according to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). CNO has confirmed to Global News that the regulatory body is investigating Nagle.

“The legislation does not permit us to provide details on the progress or ongoing status of this investigation,” said a spokesperson for CNO in an email.

‘It’s a betrayal of the public trust’

Nagle’s actions were condemned by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), a professional association that advocates on behalf of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario.

Apart from speaking at anti-masking and anti-lockdown rallies in past, Nagle has also voiced opposition to anti-masking bylaws in London, describing herself in a Sept. 19, 2020 letter to city hall as “a RN that has been speaking up against masks, tyranny, losing our freedoms etc.”

RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun says she’s not surprised to see Nagle fired, adding that it is devastating to see one of their own speak out against COVID-19 health measures.

“It’s a betrayal of the public trust,” said Grinspun.

“For a nurse to use that public trust and betray the same public we are trying to protect and serve every single minute, it’s just outrageous.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Quebec doctor’s death by suicide sends shockwaves through Canada’s medical community

“A message to Ms. Nagle herself: ‘Stop doing it.’ We need nurses in the profession and we need nurses to work based on evidence, based on compassion, not based on conspiracy theories,” Grinspun said.

“To my colleagues in the front lines… Please, do understand that the actions of this nurse, as outrageous as they are, are an exception to the rule,” Grinspun said.

Grinspun notes that RNAO has filed a complaint against Nagle to the CNO, adding that the regulatory body has informed her that they’ve received many such complaints.

However, a spokesperson for CNO did note in an email to Global News that it is “not permitted to indicate how many complaints we have received.”

Global News has reached out to Nagle for comment on her recent firing, but did not receive a response before publication.

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