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Find out how the NMC panel acted in this case. Not yet read the case? Read the charge and background here
The panel was satisfied that, by her acts and omissions, Nurse A put patients at risk of harm, brought the profession into disrepute, and breached fundamental tenets of the profession.
The panel agreed that some of her clinical deficiencies could be remediated, as it appeared she had successfully remediated similar deficiencies in the past. However, since she didn’t engage with the NMC process, they had no evidence as to her remorse for her failings or proof that her clinical failings had been remedied.
The panel was satisfied that the risk of repetition remained high and was a significant risk to patient safety. They concluded there was a need to protect the public and a need to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour in order to maintain public confidence in the profession, so a finding of impairment was necessary.
With all the circumstances, the panel has determined that Nurse A’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of her misconduct.
Decision on sanction
The panel considered mitigating and aggravating factors in this case. In mitigation, the panel took account of Nurse A’s 30-year nursing career and that they had no evidence to suggest that she had ever been the subject of any previous NMC proceedings.
They were concerned that the clinical failings identified were such basic nursing skills that someone in Nurse A’s senior position, with her length of service, should not have made. They also considered her dishonest conduct occurred in the workplace and involved a colleague.
Further, since Nurse A had not engaged, the panel had no reassurances that she had any insight into her failings. Her clinical failings in areas, such as record keeping and the administration of medication clearly put patients at risk.
After careful deliberation, the panel decided that a striking-off order would be disproportionate in this case. Although they found dishonesty, they found there was no attempt by Nurse A to gain personal advantage, or to disadvantage either Patient A or Nurse B. The dishonesty, although serious, was not of the most grave character.
Further, in their view the dishonesty occurred on one occasion against a background of a 30-year unblemished nursing career.
Moreover, the evidence was that Nurse A’s actions did not have any adverse effects for Patient A. The panel considered that these factors taken together amounted to an exceptional circumstance, which led it to consider a suspension order as being proportionate in this case.
The panel decided the most appropriate and proportionate sanction to sufficiently protect the public and the wider public interest would be to temporarily remove Nurse A from the NMC register and that a maximum period of suspension would serve to mark the seriousness of Nurse A’s misconduct, dishonest behaviour and the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession.
The period of a 12-month suspension would afford Nurse A the opportunity to reflect on her misconduct and how the consequences of her actions impacted on the patients in her care, colleagues and the nursing profession.