Between 29 June - 10 July 2020, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) considered a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) against Ms E, registered nurse (the Nurse).
The charge was laid under s100(1)(a) and s100(1)(b) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act).
It is alleged that on multiple occasions, the Nurse failed to carry out patient observations, failed to administer medication, made incorrect or false entries in clinical records and engaged in other unprofessional conduct when being assigned patients by a Shift Coordinator.
The conduct alleged either separately and/or cumulatively amounted to professional misconduct under the HPCA Act.
The registered Nurse was employed by the Auckland District Health Board as a staff nurse at Starship Hospital. The events to which the charge relates are all on night shifts over a five-and-a-half-week period in 2016.
The first instance was an asthmatic teenage female (Patient S). The Nurse failed to give medication as chartered and undertake observations of the patient, documenting that this had been done.
In the second instance, the Nurse failed to carry out observations on four unnamed patients assigned to her care, documenting that this had been done.
The third instance involved a young male child (Patient A) with pneumonia. The Nurse failed to carry out observations but documented that these had been done four hourly. She also documented she administered oral antibiotics when she had not.
Fourthly, the Nurse acted in an inappropriate and/or unprofessional manner by refusing or failing to take two booked adolescent patients who had been assigned to her for that shift.
The fifth instance of the charge was withdrawn by the PCC.
The seventh instance involved a young female patient with bronchopneumonia (Patient N). The Nurse failed to carry out observations but recorded in the patient’s clinical notes that observations had been done. When challenged that the observations could not have been done, she said she had the hour wrong and changed the times in the patients record.
Instances six and eight involved a female baby with bronchopneumonia (Patient U). The Nurse failed to carry out observations, administer medications but documented that these had been done. It was also alleged that the Nurse countersigned the administration of medication by using the signature of another nurse, when that nurse had not countersigned and the medication had not been administered.
The Nurse denied the charge and all its particulars. Particular 5 was withdrawn by the PCC prior to the hearing.
The Tribunal established particulars 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 of the charge, but was unable to establish particulars 2 and 7.
The charge of professional misconduct was established. The Tribunal found that the Nurse’s conduct amounted to malpractice and negligence. The conduct had or is likely to have brought the nursing profession into disrepute.
The Tribunal stated that these separate failures in care to each of the three patients involved, fall well short of the care expected of a nurse dealing with young patients.
- Cancelled the Nurse’s registration;
- Censured the Nurse;
- Ordered that the Nurse is not permitted to apply for reregistration for a period of three years;
- Ordered the Nurse to pay 40% of the costs amounting to $86,510.00;
- Directed that a copy of the orders in this decision are given to the Nurse’s employer and any future employers.
The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary.