This nurse had worked for a mental health trust for 11 years. She was dismissed following a medication error and referred to the NMC.
When we met her she was unable to afford representation and did not want to attend the hearing which was set for a few days later to decide if an interim order was required whilst they investigated the allegations.
She was allocated a case worker who spent the next 48hrs counselling her about the process and what to expect. Her case worker also reminded her that it was important to engage with the process and the NMC may look more favourably if she was in attendance and able to answer questions if required.
She was understandably scared and worried that her mental health may plummet if she attended but following lots of discussions with her case worker she agreed to attend. We also helped her write a statement and a reflection as previously she had not submitted any. Her caseworker reminded her that the NMC could not assess her insight and remediation if she didn’t submit them and so after some work on the documents they were submitted also.
The Interim Order Hearing happened with the nurse in attendance and her case worker presenting her case. The NMC case presenter established that they were looking to request a Conditions of Practice Order (CoP) but agreed with the registrant that this would be minimum to allow for public interest and safety to be served but to allow for as little negative impact on her personal and professional life as possible.
The NMC handed down a CoP that we believe is workable and we look forward to continuing to support her so she can continue to develop her portfolio of evidence for the NMC to show she has addressed the issues raised. She has been allocated a buddy as part of the buddy pilot service which will also help her.
She is hoping to start work with a new employer soon – we have provided some explanatory notes that we hope will help them.
This case study has shown the following lessons:
- Registrants may be more likely to engage if they have peer-to-peer support
- Registrants don’t often understand the implications of non-attendance
- Registrants often won’t get a good understanding of process and what to expect from their case officer at the NMC as they are fearful of asking questions.
- One-to-one support can be enhanced by written information (as supplied by NMC) but not replaced – understanding of insight and remediation takes time
- Potential employers need further explanation of what a COP means and how they can support it.