Nurse Cautioned over Allegations of Dishonesty by the Nursing and Midwifery Council


By McDowell Purcell \ In All Posts, Public & Regulatory

Background

In a recent UK case [1], allegations of deficient clinical practice, together with allegations of dishonesty, on the part of Nurse Marinete Mariana Luminita-Simon (“the Registrant”) were considered by the Conduct and Competence Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (“the Committee”), arising out of two separate periods of employment with two separate employers.

In asserting particular concern at the frequency of the alleged incidents of dishonesty on the part of the Registrant, the Committee decided that it was appropriate to impose a five year caution order on the Registrant. The Committee made clear its view towards dishonest conduct on the part of Registrants and noted that the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence within the profession required a finding of impairment and imposition of an appropriate sanction.

Fitness to Practise Inquiry

  1. Castle House Nursing Home in Torrington, Devon

During 2014 and 2015, whilst employed at Castle House Nursing Home in Torrington, Devon (“the Home”), a number of deficiencies were identified in the Registrant’s practice. The allegations against the Registrant related to the administration of medications including excess dosages and recording incorrect entries in relation to the supervision of drug administration.

  1. The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS

In January 2015, the Registrant resigned from the Home and applied for a position with the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (“the Trust”). The Registrant was successful in her application and commenced employment with the Trust in late January, at North Devon District Hospital.

It became apparent to the Trust that the documentation which the Registrant had submitted in support of her application contained false entries, in that the documentation failed to disclose her employment at the Home. It erroneously stated that Donness Nursing Home was her most recent employer. This formed the basis of a further allegation which the Registrant faced at the Inquiry.

  1. Findings

The Committee found that the allegations against the Registrant had been proven as to fact, that the conduct fell far below the standards expected of a registered nurse and was so serious as to amount misconduct, and that this misconduct impaired her fitness to practise.

The Committee’s report stated that “in relation to the medication charges, although there was no direct patient harm, the panel found that there had been the obvious potential for harm to patients”. It considered that the Registrant’s actions in this regard would have been seen as deplorable by other nurses.

In relation to the allegations of dishonesty, the Committee expressed concern that the charges related to seven separate occasions over a two month period. The Committee noted that whilst employed at the Home, the Registrant intended to create the impression that the administration of a particular medicine had been witnessed, when in fact it had not, and whilst at the Trust, that she had attempted to conceal specific employment information in order to avoid being provided with a bad reference.

The Committee decided therefore to impose a caution (warning type sanction), for a period of five years. A caution can be imposed for a period ranging from 1 to 5 years. The duration for which such cautions are imposed denotes the seriousness of the sanction in the particular case and also the view of the Inquiry Committee towards the Registrant’s conduct.

Commentary

While this is a UK case, it is useful for this jurisdiction also, as it denotes the views of Inquiry Committees towards allegations of dishonesty and the type of sanction Committees consider appropriate to impose in respect of such behaviour.

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Authors: Grainne O’Callaghan and Elaine Morrissey

Works Cited:

[1] The Nursing and Midwifery Council v Marinete Mariana Luminita-Simon