Whatcom County nurse took nonprescribed drugs while working in Skagit County, state says


A Whatcom County nurse has been accused of diverting and taking addictive painkillers while working at a hospital in Mount Vernon, the state Department of Health says.

The department charged Susan Margaret Watt with unprofessional conduct on June 6, records show. The charges stem from August 2016 drug-test results that alleged Watt tested positive for morphine and fentanyl while working as a nurse at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon.

The drugs were not prescribed to her, and Watt admitted to diverting the medication, charges say.

The 2016 case marks the second time Watt tested positive for prescription drugs, according to department records. In 2014, while working at St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham, she tested positive for clonazepam, a drug used for treating seizures. She admitted to diverting the drugs in that case, too, the charges say.

Watt, records say, was not disciplined for the 2014 charge, but rather referred to a monitoring program requiring her to “abstain from the use of alcohol and all other mind-altering drugs,” the charges say.

The charges do not indicate that, in either case, the drugs were diverted from a specific patient.

Watt has 28 days from June 6 to respond to the charges, said Tim Talkington, a staff attorney with the state Nursing Commission.

Watt could not be reached for comment.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan