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nursing disciplinary action

1 Posts

Posted:  16-Aug-2011 18:39
Let me set the scene as briefly as I can
I am a mental health nurse, have been practising for several years. I have just been informed that I am required to attend a disciplinary hearing with a nursing agency I was working for until earlier this year when I was suspended. In brief, I was working on a ward and was assigned to constant in eyesight observations for a young male patient due to violence and absconding risks. At the time due to staff breaks and another nurse arriving late for the shift I was the only nurse on the unit. The other rmn arrived and I decided to give him a very quick handover in the nursing office, but was able to keep the patient within eyesight at all times through the office windows and he was giving no cause for concern. Unfortunately and incredibly the patient managed to abscond because a) my attention had been briefly distracted from him while handing over to the new nurse and b) during the brief time I was distracted the patient followed a member of staff who was leaving the ward through THREE locked doors without detection by that staff. The alarm was raised immediately but he managed to get away. The patient was brought back to the ward the next day by police unharmed and without any incident occurring and I continued to work on the ward. However I was then informed by the agency that the ward had made a complaint about me regarding the incident and I was prevented from working any shifts while an investigation took place. It has taken 6 months to hear that I now face a disciplinary hearing. The issue I now have is, following 5 months of being unemployed (the nursing agency job was my only one at the time) I have recently started a new nursing job with a private company. I therefore decided not to attend the disciplinary hearing, as the agency are effectively no longer my employers and I have no intention of working for them again. I have a new permanent job that is going ok. I therefore informed the agency by email that I no longer work for them and resign from them. I have just received the response that in that case the disciplinary will still take place but in my absence.I have been through incredible stress and hardshipicon over the last 6 months and really dont want to start going through more after having found a new job and trying to put things behind me. The only other factor is of course the fact that my employment and practice as a nurse is governed by the nmc (nursing and midwifery council) and the agency would still have the option of taking the matter to them regardless of whether or not I attend the disciplinary hearing. And they, of course determine who is fit to practise as a nurse, so effectively control my whole nursing career...And yet I am sure they deal with many far more serious complaints about nurses' practice than mine, so hopefully would not be so condemning as to strike me off? surely...?
Any opinions/advice?
Just how serious an issue do people feel this is? Likely to progress to NMC involvement and possible striking off?
Grateful for all thoughts and advice on this complex issue...

3 Posts

Posted:  25-Aug-2011 08:28
hi, choomy i see you have not had many replies to this and thats probably because no one knows that much about it.
there are very strict procedures to disciplinary actions and these must happen in the correct order, before any disciplinary meeting takes place you must have first received a verbal / written warning to then show improvement with the employers concerns, it is not one strike and your out!
it sounds like you were stretched very thin in your work and what was the member of staff thinking that let the patient follow them out??
i can see why you did not attend if you had ceased working for the agency and it looks like the agency are receiving the blame and using you as a whipping boy.
however, to put your mind at rest acas (advisory, conciliation and arbitration service) are an independent and free service offering advice and help in these matters i would give them a call and have a good long chat. acas.org.uk
they are the guys who make the rules!
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