A nurse in Yorkshire has received a 12-month suspension from the Nursing and Midwifery Council after demonstrating a consistent lack of competence.
A fitness to practise panel proved 11 allegations of incompetence against Juleth McKenzie including giving a hypoglycaemic patient on dialysis oral lucozade instead of IV glucose.
The panel also established that the nurse did not know the difference between milligrams and micrograms, could not accurately calculate a patient’s heart rate and checked a patient’s temperature when she was required to check blood pressure.
The allegations dated back to between 2006 and 2007.
Ms McKenzie was working as a band 5 staff nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, her first substantive post after qualifying in 2005 – although she had worked at the hospital as a bank nurse.
The allegations related to her performance on the renal unit and subsequently on Ward 18, an ear nose and throat unit.
The panel was told that Ms McKenzie had failed to pass the renal unit’s new starters programme after six months, when most completed it within three months, and concerns remained about her “ability to function as a registered nurse”. She was subsequently mentored and given support to develop her practice.
However, it was found she had previously been diagnosed with dyslexia and poor short term visual memory. She was subsequently redeployed to Ward 18 where the panel heard that her supervisors were “unaware of the nature of her previous problems”.
Despite being set objectives and given teaching sessions, concerns were identified regarding Ms McKenzie’s performance across a range of areas including communication, safe medicines administration and ability to remember what she had learnt.
Although Ms McKenzie had a good rapport with patients and tried to engage with the programme, the panel was told she continued to make “fundamental errors and was unable to address the concerns in her performance”.
From 1 July 2008, she was redeployed as a healthcare assistant but concerns continued to be expressed about her competency, and she left the hospital’s employment on 30 November 2008.
When considering what action to take the hearing panel noted several mitigating factors – firstly that Ms McKenzie was “evidently a caring nurse” who wanted to deliver good practice and that she had tried to engage with her development programme and her supervisors.
She was handed a year-long suspension order at the NMC hearing in November last year, which found her fitness to practise was “impaired by lack of competence”.
The panel was unable to strike her off because her registration had not been continuously suspended and/or subject to conditions of practice for a period of not less than two years preceding the date of the panel’s decision.
A spokesman for the foundation trust said: “The trust took appropriate action to safeguard patients. Ms McKenzie was managed in accordance with the trust’s capability procedures and was provided with extensive supervision and support.”
Ms McKenzie was not present at the hearing and it was noted she had not engaged with the NMC after April 2011.