State accuses registered nurse of unprofessional conduct

Andrea L. Dressler, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges last summer, now faces state action.

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WALLA WALLA -- The state Department of Health has charged a registered nurse who was sentenced to prison for forgery and drug possession with unprofessional conduct.

The administrative charge against Andrea L. Dressler was issued as the result of her guilty pleas last summer to the criminal charges and in 2008 to other drug-related offenses.

Dressler is accused by the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission of committing an act of moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption; possessing a drug for other than legitimate or therapeutic purposes; committing a crime relating to the practice of her profession; and misuse of drugs or alcohol.

If she is found to have committed unprofession-al conduct, the Health Department can impose sanctions, and restrict or revoke her license. The administrative charge was filed in September.

Dressler, 36, was working as a nurse at Regency at the Park late last year when she "forged a co-worker's name to sign out controlled substances, which upon information and belief, were never administered to patients and were instead diverted for personal use," according to the statement of administrative charges.

Dressler was fired from the nursing home and pleaded guilty last July in Walla Walla County Superior Court to three counts of forgery and one count of possession of hydrocodone.

Judge John Lohrmann then sentenced her to nearly 13 months in prison under a sentencing option that requires her to undergo drug treatment when she's released. In pleading guilty, Dressler didn't admit she committed the crimes, but said she wanted to take advantage of a plea agreement.

Last year, Dressler pleaded guilty in Superior Court to six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Officials said the crimes occurred during a two-year period beginning in late 2005 when she worked for medical firms in the area. She reportedly acquired drugs by phoning in medication prescriptions to various pharmacies using names of doctors without their authorization.

For those crimes, she was sentenced by now-retired Judge Robert Zagelow to 10 months on electronic home monitoring, but was allowed to work at Regency at the Park because her job assignment would not include having access to narcotic medications.

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