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Final panel decision: What should happen to a nurse who visited a patient when he had no clinical need for doing so?

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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 bore in mind that its primary function is to protect patients and the wider public interest, which includes maintaining confidence in the nursing profession and upholding the proper standards and behaviour. Having regard to the principles set out in Grant, the panel determined that a finding of impairment was necessary on public interest grounds.

Determination on sanction

The panel considered this case carefully and decided to impose a caution order for a period of two years.The panel considered the aggravating and mitigating factors in this case.

It found the following to be aggravating factors:

  • Nurse A visited Patient A on four occasions despite being aware that Patient A had become emotionally attached to him, and that she was getting distressed when it was time for him to leave after each visit. 
  • Patient A was a particularly vulnerable patient, who was deemed by the home as not having mental capacity regarding major decisions or relationships.

The panel found the following to be mitigating factors:

  • Nurse A fully engaged with his regulator in these proceedings and made early admissions to all charges.
  • Nurse A demonstrated some insight into the seriousness of his actions and their implications on Patient A, his colleagues and the reputation of the nursing profession. There is also evidence of remorse and remediation.
  • His clinical practice and abilities have not been called into question and there is no evidence of any previous concerns arising from his clinical practice.
  • The panel did not find any sinister or predatory motive in Nurse A’s actions

The panel decided that a caution order would adequately protect the public interest.

Having considered the general principles above and looking at the totality of the findings on the evidence, the panel determined that to impose a caution order for a period of two years would be the appropriate and proportionate response. It would mark not only the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession, but also send the public and the profession a clear message about the standards required of a registered nurse.

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