A nurse who shoved a dementia sufferer against a wall and gave another patient unprescribed medication was told she can return to work – after saying she was sorry.
Mental health nurse Vicki Anne Thom pinned an 88-year-old patient up against a wall and held her there at Stratheden Hospital, near Cupar, in September 2011.
A misconduct panel determined she failed to promptly inform her employer that police had charged her with assault in relation to the incident.
Mrs Thom was also found to have administered a laxative suppository to another patient at the hospital when it had not been prescribed.
The NHS Fife employee was removed from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register in November 2013 but has now applied to return to the profession.
Panel finds she deserves ‘second chance’
A panel considering her application has allowed her to return to work with a “conditions of practice order” for a year – after they found she was deserving of a “second chance”.
In a report following a fitness to practise committee restoration hearing on February 11, her treatment of patients was described as “unacceptable”.
The report said: “Your treatment of a vulnerable, frail and elderly woman who had dementia and presented with associated behavioural problems was unacceptable.
“No patient should be subjected to the form of aggression and retaliation that you displayed.
“The panel also finds that you demonstrated dishonesty and an intention to deceive your employers by withholding the fact that you had been charged with assault.”
Nurse tells of regret
But in her evidence to the restorative hearing this month, Mrs Thom said she was sorry for her actions and felt remorseful every day and had learned from her mistakes.
She also wants to return to nursing in elderly care and has spoken with a manager at a local nursing home who would offer her a position and support her return to nursing practice.
Mrs Thom has also made inquiries with Dundee University about undertaking a “return to practice” course.
She said that, if faced with a similar set of circumstances, she would remove herself from the situation, raise the alarm and seek assistance.
Mrs Thom said she regretted her actions and had let herself down and “let other people down”.
The panel found she demonstrated “sufficient insight” into her failings and was able to articulate how she would act differently if faced with a similar situation in future.
They said a “well-informed member of the public would accept” Mrs Thom had learned from past conduct and that it would be appropriate to allow her a “second chance”.
Upon returning to work, Mrs Thom must be supervised by a registered nurse.
She must not administer medication unsupervised until she is signed off by a registered nurse as competent to do so.
She must also work with her line manager to create a personal development plan which covers medication management, record keeping and de-escalation techniques.
The NMC must also be informed of where she is working or studying and any clinical incidents or disciplinary proceedings concerning her.