State suspends nurse convicted in drug case

Andrea L. Dressler received nearly 13 months in prison and now has had her license indefinitely suspended.

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WALLA WALLA -- The state Department of Health has indefinitely suspended the license of a registered nurse who was sentenced to prison for forgery and drug possession.

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

Dressler didn't answer the Department of Health charge, so an order of indefinite suspension was issued by the department's Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission in December. She was found to have committed unprofessional conduct as a result of her criminal convictions.

Dressler, now 36, was working as a nurse at Regency at the Park in late 2008 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 commission's findings of fact in the case.

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 is released. In pleading guilty, Dressler didn't admit she committed the crimes, but said she wanted to take advantage of a plea agreement.

In July 2008, Dressler had 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 continue working at Regency at the Park because her job assignment would not include having access to narcotic medications.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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