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Final panel decision: What should happen to a nurse who struck a child on the head after being struck herself?

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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 decided that Nurse A’s fitness to practise was not impaired:

  • The panel had no doubt that Nurse A’s past misconduct, in which she put a patient at unwarranted risk of harm, brought the profession into disrepute and breached fundamental tenets of the profession. 
  • In deciding whether Nurse A was liable to act in these ways in the future, the panel gave considerable weight to her evidence, during which she was questioned about how she would handle the situation differently in the future.
  • Nurse A was able to provide compelling answers from which the panel has been able to conclude that she is a safe practitioner and that the risk of repetition was minimal.
  • Prior to this incident; Nurse A had a career that spanned 38 years without incident. Nurse A presented the panel with a number of documents, including impressive reflective statements, references, appraisals and thank you cards from former patients.
  • Nurse A gave the panel oral evidence, from which the panel was of the view that her remorse and insight are both clear.
  • Although she did not attend a face-to-face course, she studied an online course on challenging behaviours and provided a written document on what she learned; the panel was encouraged by this, particularly as she detailed how she put the learning into her daily practice.

Based on all of this information and evidence, the panel determined that:

  • Should Nurse A find herself in a similar situation again, she would be unlikely to repeat the misconduct.
  • Although her fitness to practise may have been impaired at the time of the incident, her fitness to practise was not currently impaired on the grounds of public protection.

The panel also carefully considered the public interest in this case. It appreciated that an initial reaction by a member of the public to hearing that a vulnerable child in a nurse’s care had been struck by that nurse in all probability would be that the public interest required that nurse to be found impaired. However, the panel took the view that a member of the public – knowing what the panel knows – could easily come to a different conclusion.

The panel considered that this isolated incident in a career spanning some 38 years is towards the lower end of the spectrum of seriousness.

Taking all these factors into account, the panel considers that this was one of those rare occasions when the public interest did not require a finding of impairment solely on a public interest basis.

In addition, the panel considered that public confidence in the profession would not be undermined by a finding of no impairment given the specific circumstances of the case and the lack of any subsequent fitness to practise issues.

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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Yes a reasonable example of good deductive reasoning which I say as a nurse behaviour therapist, former manager and community nurse specialist in managing challenging behaviours covering 40 years. Unfortunately the NMC has many examples where it has responded with alarming incompetence or dare I say it, corruption where the 'allegations' have followed the nurses complaints of individual or institutional abuses towards specific patients previously in their care. For example employing investigating solicitors to resurrect former employer allegations previously disproven as malicious, otherwise untrue and moreover dropped. This is immoral and demonstrates prosecution practices which any reasonable person would conclude is grossly unacceptable.

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