Panel hearing summary 2013.0173

Decision of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Performance and Professional Standards panel

Jurisdiction: Northern Territory
Date of Hearing: 21 August 2013
Date of Decision: 17 October 2013

Classification of Notification:

Behaviour – aggressive behaviour

Boundary violation – inappropriate use of social media

Allegations

  1. On 30 September 2012, the practitioner:
    1. Yelled at a disabled patient (the patient) waiting in line to “hurry up” and 
    2. Pushed the patient in the chest causing him to stumble and fall back into glass cabinets and
  2. On 30 September 2012 and 1 October 2012 the practitioner published a discussion on her public facebook page referring to the details of the events in the cafeteria, including inappropriate comments about the patient.

Findings

The panel made the following findings:

  1. That on 30 September 2012 the practitioner pushed a patient in the chest causing him to stumble and fall back while in the cafeteria at the Royal Darwin Hospital. 
  2. The practitioner’s professional conduct was of a lesser standard than could reasonably be expected by the public or the practitioner’s professional peers. The panel found the nurse had breached the standards of care required in the profession, which are enshrined in the ethical codes that underpin the Code of Conduct and include respect, practising kindness and modelling consideration and care. It found the practitioner had also breached a core tenant of professional behaviour to do no harm.
  3. At the hearing the nurse acknowledged her behaviour was below an acceptable standard. 
  4. The panel decided the practitioner behaved in a way that constituted unprofessional conduct. 
  5. On 30 September 2012 and 1 October 2012 the practitioner published a discussion on her public Facebook page referring to the incident in the cafeteria, including inappropriate comments about the patient. 
  6. The panel was satisfied the practitioner’s professional conduct was of a lesser standard than might reasonably be expected by the public or the practitioner’s professional peers. Comments published on Facebook by the practitioner failed to adhere to the National Competency standards for the registered nurse in demonstrating respect for the patient, dignity, culture, values, beliefs, and patient rights.

Determination

The panel reprimanded the nurse under section 191(3)(c) of the National Law and imposed the following conditions:

  1. The practitioner must attend a Board approved, treating psychologist for counselling about the incident at a frequency to be determined by the treating practitioner. Reports are to be provided to the Board by the treating psychologist every three months, until the Board is satisfied and removes this condition 
  2. The practitioner must within 12 months of the date of the panel decision, successfully complete a Board-approved program about legal and ethical nursing practice 
  3. The practitioner must authorise the treating psychologist and the Board to communicate about her counselling, including the Board providing treating psychologist copies of the panel decision and information about the incident and 
  4. The practitioner will be responsible for the cost of the above mentioned reports.

The panel will review the conditions in 12 months from the date of its decision.

 
 
Page reviewed 17/04/2014