The case was closed at screening after only 5 months from referral. This nurse had made a drug error the month before. She realised her error immediately and notified management, as well as following correct procedure under Duty of Candour to follow up the patient and inform relatives.
A local employment investigation occurred but she was offered the ability to resign rather than go through a full disciplinary. She admits now that she panicked and did not research this further or take advice. Her ex-employer did not make it clear to her that if she resigned it would mean an automatic referral to the NMC.
She thought if she resigned the matter would be over.
Shortly after leaving she was informed of the NMC referral and job opportunities she was exploring became difficult as an ongoing FtP investigation caused barriers. This put her in a very precarious position as her ex-employer was sponsoring her working visa and without employment she risked having to leave the country.
When she contacted us she was very concerned. We assigned her a buddy and immediately got her onto the advocacy program. Here we were able to discuss her immediate needs of securing employment so that she could gain another sponsorship. We also spent time exploring the support any employer would need to give in order to ensure she continued to remediate.
Luckily she had secured another position prior to the incident but had not gone forward with the job. When she left her previous employer she contacted them again, explaining her current situation. They were very willing to not only employ her but also assist her in providing evidence to the NMC that this was a one-off incident that was not likely to be repeated.
The whole team worked with her to help her provide evidence to the NMC of her remediation. This included an up-to-date CV outlining her current role and responsibilities, testimonials from her current manager and colleagues past and present, as well as evidence of continuous learning and CPD.
When she joined us she was desperate and scared that she would lose her immigration status and have to leave both the profession and the country. Now her case is closed she continues in the profession she loves, is extremely skilled in, and offers a valuable contribution to the wider community.
Key themes in this case were:
- Nurses must remain at their employer and complete local investigations if at all possible
- If registrants feel they can not remain at their current employer they need to seek advice before leaving.
- Fitness to Practice Teams process does not go far enough to explain process in terms that are understandable and workable
- Our healthcare professionals joining us from outside the UK are extremely vulnerable and when faced with FtP will be suffering further stress. This will affect their ability to retain information and advocate for themselves.
- A current and supportive employer can make the difference between a successful outcome and a negative one
- NMC Careline should be able to signpost to specific help for non-UK nursing staff in regard to their sponsorship and visa status