What should happen to a nurse who has made medication errors and acted dishonestly?
A nurse working at two care homes made several medication errors, failed to give a resident fluids and was accused of taking three boxes of prescription food thickener without permission
While working at nursing home 1 Nurse A:
1. Failed to record whether he administered the correct chewable tablets to Resident B and sufficiently completed Resident C’s fluid chart;
2. Failed to record whether he administered the correct medication to Resident D;
3. Took one or more boxes of prescription food thickener without permission;
4. Nurse A’s actions on charge 3 were dishonest.
While working as a senior manager at Nursing Home 2, they failed to quickly and adequately complete and oversee Resident E’s care plan.
Nurse A allegedly made a number of medication errors while working in Care Home 1, including failing to record the administration of medication to residents. Nurse A also allegedly failed to ensure another resident received fluids during a shift. Nurse A subsequently failed to complete the resident’s fluid chart.
While working at Nursing Home 1, Nurse A requested that a caregiver retrieve three boxes of prescription food thickener for a resident from the pharmacy. Three boxes were given to the carer but there was no trace of their use and they were not found at the nursing home. It is alleged that Nurse A took one or more of the boxes without permission.
While working as a senior manager at Nursing Home 2, they reportedly failed to ensure care plans were carried out adequately and promptly.
At the hearing
The committee has reviewed all of the oral and documentary evidence in this case. The committee heard oral testimony from four witnesses.
Nurse A did not provide any evidence, but instead the committee heard Nurse A’s oral submissions and read Nurse A’s written statement. All charges were found to be proven.
The committee then considered whether the facts constituted misconduct. Nurse A told the panel that their situation has improved and that they no longer work in nursing homes and have since worked in a number of NHS hospitals. Nurse A provided the panel with documents including recent online training certificates, forms from their most recent NMC revalidation and reflective essay and several references and testimonials.
Nurse A told the panel that she learned from her failures and actively strives to continuously improve her practice. Nurse A told the panel that if they were in similar circumstances when the incidents happened, they would react differently now and seek help immediately if they felt too pressured. Nurse A also stated that she would follow policies and procedures.
Nurse A mentioned that she now works as an agency nurse in a hospital which she describes as a more supportive environment. They said the fact that they had worked in a clinical setting without incident since the charges indicates that they would not repeat the misconduct.
The committee determined that Nurse A’s misconduct placed patients at undue risk of harm and brought discredit to the profession. Nurse A violated fundamental principles of the profession and acted dishonestly. The panel gave due consideration to issues including insight, remorse and any evidence of redress.
The committee concluded that Nurse A’s misconduct had been corrected and that the risk of repetition was negligible. However, he concluded that given the element of dishonesty, a finding of impairment was necessary to maintain professional standards and public confidence in the profession.
Practice Readiness Panel Results
The FTP panel can impose four different sanctions:
- Caution: the nurse or midwife is cautioned for their behavior, but is allowed to practice without restriction
- Conditions of practice: this will prevent a registrant from performing certain types of work or working in a particular setting, it may require them to take training in occupational medicine or take refresher training. The order can be applied for up to three years and must be reviewed by an FTP panel before expiration
- Suspension: the nurse or midwife will be suspended from practice for an initial period not exceeding one year, but this period may be extended after review by an FTP panel
- Radiation: a nurse or midwife is struck off the register and is not allowed to practice in the UK. The nurse or midwife must apply for readmission to the register