Sheffield nurse hauled before panel to answer misconduct hearing

Ms Fletcher worked as a staff nurse at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Ms Fletcher worked as a staff nurse at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
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A Sheffield nurse has been reprimanded after a series of misconduct charges.

Jennifer Fletcher, a staff nurse working at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, was found in breach of nine misconduct charges from failing to carry out observations to making an inappropriate comment to a patient's relative.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council Conduct and Competence Committee Substantive Hearing heard Ms Fletcher failed to ring the pharmacy for a patients medication, administering the wrong levels of medication to a patient, failed to refer another patient who had a bed sore and supervised a student nurse who administered double the required dosage of drugs a patient needed.

The panel concluded patients were placed at a 'unwarranted risk of harm'.

The charges span from July 2013 to February 2016. Ms Fletcher was sacked from her post the following April but now works as a health care assistant outside of the Trust.

The panel said a 'conditions of practice order' imposed for 18 months was handed out meaning Ms Fletcher must now abide by strict conditions.

The hearing heard Ms Fletcher failed to carry out tests on patient A to check blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen saturation levels back in 2013.

A report submitted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council said: "Failure to take these observations resulted in an incomplete picture of the patients deteriorating condition.

"Sadly the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate and the patient dies in the early hours of 6 August 6, 2013."

The report added there was 'no evidence' the nurse's omission caused or contributed to the death of patient A.

In December 2014, the daughter of a patient complained to Ms Fletcher her mother had only had one drink all day.

The nurse responded by saying 'I've only had one drink as well'.

Ms Fletcher said to her line manager she had apologised to the patient’s daughter and only made the comment after she constantly 'hounded' her.

The panel report said: "On a number of occasions the registrant has placed patients under her care at risk of unwarranted harm by either failing to complete certain aspects of care or making medication errors, the failure to provide a high standard of care amounts to a breach of a fundamental tenant of nursing and it follows that the profession has been brought into disrepute because of her actions or omissions."

Ms Fletcher 'made admission to the charges at early stages of the investigation' and showed 'insight into her misconduct', the panel said.

The report added: "It determined that you (Ms Fletcher) have demonstrated a high level of insight into your misconduct and taken full responsibility for your actions. The panel noted that you want to improve your practice and engage with conditions of practice.

"The panel agreed that a conditions of practice order for a period of 18 months is appropriate to adequately meet the public interest in maintaining public confidence in the profession, and would send the public and the profession a clear message about the standards required of a registered nurse."

Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "We employ nearly 4,000 registered nurses and midwives and they work hard to provide high quality care to all our patients.

"Regrettably this individual nurse was not able to consistently meet the standards we expect despite being provided with supervision and additional training. We therefore had no choice but to dismiss the nurse and report our concerns to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

"There is no evidence that the nurse's actions caused or contributed to the death or harm of any patients but nevertheless we are sorry that this nurse did not routinely provide the high standard of care we expect."