A former nurse with Eastern Health accused of unauthorized access of patient records took the stand in her own defence in a St. John's court on Thursday, maintaining she did nothing wrong.

Colleen Stamp, formerly Colleen Weeks, was fired from the province's largest health authority in 2012 after an audit revealed she was one of 11 employees accused of illegally accessing patient records.

In her 10 years with the department, Stamp said she never improperly looked up records.

Stamp said the emergency room at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's was a madhouse, often over-crowded and understaffed.

She said at times, she would look up information for over-worked doctors that they perhaps should have looked up themselves.

Stamp admitted she would look up patient information; for example, if a father called and wanted to know if his son was in the emergency room, she would ask the father to tell her about the son. If the information was accurate, she would tell the father if his son was there.

According to Stamp, looking up records sometimes took a matter of seconds, but there was one incident that shows she accessed someone's records for 36 minutes.

Stamp said that occasion was a computer glitch. She said the computer locked up, and it was so busy in the emergency room it was necessary to leave it open and continue on with her work.

Stamp was originally charged with 122 counts of privacy breach, but 105 of those charges were thrown out for falling outside time limitations.