Tia was struck off the register in 2011 following being convicted of stealing monies and committing fraud in court. The judge took account of her personal circumstances at the time, when she was under immense financial pressure, and gave her a suspended sentence subject to completion of community service and educational training. She then spent the next 10 years building herself back up and repenting for what had occurred in her past including a formal apology to those affected.
She realised that she had transferable skills and was keen to still remain in healthcare and so trained to become a pharmacy technician. She undertook a great deal of training and gradually took on more extended roles to support the clients visiting the service as well as outreach care in local nursing homes and GP practices. Through this work, she realised she still had a lot to offer the nursing profession and was keen to return the nursing. She also realised that she needed to prove to herself that she was not the person she was in 2011 and show those around her who had turned their backs on her that she was a reformed character.
When she approached NMC Watch she was still very unsure of the best way forward. We assigned her a caseworker as well as a buddy, who both mentored her on different aspects necessary to address what was required for restoration to the nursing register. We helped her build a portfolio which included:
- Career History and roles undertaken – showing transferable skills from nursing and showing no repetition of the past behaviour
- An in-depth reflection addressing her misconduct, showing insight into the impact of her actions and how she would ensure they did not reoccur
- A statement clearly outlining events around the incident and her work up to the present day that she had done herself to address the misconduct
- Testimonials from past and present managers to show her good character and work behaviour
- Testimonial from a peer and friend, also a union rep and magistrate who had known her for nearly 20 years and seen her journey
Ultimately Margaret spoke to the panel and presented herself, answering questions and reassuring the panel that she was now a fit and proper person to return to the register.
As her caseworker, it was interesting to work with her on restoration as this was a different experience from the usual Fitness to Practice cases.
- Restoration panels are a more balanced investigatory process to establish if someone is fit and proper to return to the register
- The registrant needs to demonstrate many aspects to reassure the panel
- A registrant requires peer-to-peer support to clearly demonstrate these aspects and learn what is required
- Even the worse cases of misconduct can be remedied given time, mentorship and honest acceptance of personal responsibility for the behaviour
- NMC Case presenters need reminding that the hearing is balanced to the registrant presenting their case to be restored and not the NMC to prove they should not be
- NMC case presenters can require careful monitoring by the legal assessor to ensure their questioning is appropriate, fair and reasonable – in this care, the case presenter attempted to suggest there may have been other areas in their behaviour in 2011 that they had not been “caught”. The legal assessor swiftly stepped in and reminded the case presenter that this was not acceptable and not allowed. Despite there being no other aspects that the registrant had been prosecuted for, it was wrong of the case presenter to try to infer that there were. But this showed an odd need for NMC lawyers to continue to try to prove registrants are unremediable which is very worrying. We will be escalating this with the NMC.