000 days

since the NMC committed to investigate its ‘established procedures’. We’re still watching!

Moving on from FtP but no escape from disclosure.

Apr 23, 2024 | Employment Issues, Reflection | 0 comments

Back in 2017 …

Following my strike-off order, I was lucky to be able to return immediately to my previous role with a private healthcare provider who supported me and knew me well. Returning to work wasn’t easy and even with their unwavering support, I was a shadow of my former self and certainly was not the confident practitioner I had been before my strike-off and appeal.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the background of my case, I was struck off the register in early 2017, appealed as a litigant in person in July, and by September was back on the register. The whole experience was extremely short for me – I was “lucky” as many face years of process and never get their career back on track.

You can read more here:

Life’s never simple

Life’s Rich Tapestry

Lessons in law

5 little words

Return to work out of necessity

Despite having supportive colleagues who enabled me to return to work at a pace I could cope with, I still struggled. A previously confident practitioner, I constantly doubted myself, assumed everyone was judging me, and was sure I would make mistakes that would end my career once more. I can honestly say that even after 3 years I was still a nervous practitioner and that was with an employer and colleagues who understood.

At that point, I was returning to work because I had to. As a family, we lost around £60k during the process from lost salary. If I was honest I didn’t want to return to nursing as I was not only a fearful practitioner, but I had also lost my love of the profession I had been a part of since I was 17 years old. Also, I was angry, very angry – although I bottled that part up inside me, and tried not to show it, I was very angry that I had been through this. I was angry with my regulator for the way they treated me, I was angry with those that referred me but most of all I was angry with myself – for getting myself in that situation in the first place.

Managing PTSD and a change of role

I continued working at the same employer on a bank basis – mentally for me it was so that I would be in control of my hours, increase and decrease them as my PTSD fluctuated. During this time my role also fluctuated – starting on the chemotherapy unit, helping out on the triage team as needed, then during Covid, moving permanently to the triage team.  The move to triage was good for me, as it took the perceived risk that comes with working on any unit out of the equation. However, what I didn’t realise at the time, and can now see looking back, was that this was the first step to me moving away from clinical nursing and I was attempting to gradually move towards retirement and away from the profession completely, at my own pace.

There was no doubt that when I interacted with patients I quickly re-found the love I once had for being part of a busy team – I felt I was a respected member of the team again. But this joy was short-lived, as I would doubt myself before every shift worrying that I couldn’t do it and worrying even more that I was constantly being judged. There was no evidence of this, it was all in my mind, but it was there like a nagging dog lurking at my ankles ready to bite.

Due to restructuring within the team and recruitment of permanent staff, the availability of bank shifts was reduced and finally in 2022/23 the employer decided to not offer any further bank shifts to anyone not on a permanent contract. Existing staff would fill the gaps and they would recruit more permanent staff. I didn’t want to go onto a contracted job – my mind wouldn’t allow it, so my time with this employer grew to a natural end.

We shall have cake!

If I am honest I was relieved. In 2017 my husband and I had built a separate business running a bakery from home. Putting my nursing on hold gave me the final push to put all my efforts into making that a success. I revalidated again in 2023 having secured the correct practical hours during the previous years and continued with CPD and reflection despite not working. My work with NMCWatch was also building up, and my role as a volunteer and advocate ignited my passion for caring for people – this time my peers rather than my patients. The anger was still there but lessened as I focussed on something more constructive – trying to improve the FTP process for others – turning my experience into something more positive now.

Return to work 2.0?

Jumping forward to today, April 2024, and my mindset is very different. I now wish to return to work because I miss patient contact, I am confident I have something positive to add and I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of events that have occurred. I am proud of what I have been through, I believe it has made me a better practitioner, not a worse one and I am aware of my limitations and how to manage them so I don’t get triggered but can move positively forward in any role I have in the future. I have recently applied for a bank position in my local hospice, the telephone interview went well and I am looking forward to an in-person interview next week. However, some paperwork came through which made me realise that the NMC process is never behind you. Regardless of your outcome, you will always have to answer to what has occurred and sadly this may negatively affect the outcome of any future employment.

Initially on reviewing the paperwork I was reassured to read the following:

As my case was resolved in 2017 I was hopeful that there would be no need to disclose. No doubt at the interview the issue may come up if the interviewers were to review gaps in my CV and I would of course answer as honestly as possible. I then went on to answer the further questions on the response form and was disappointed to note the following question:

So it seems that despite events happening over 6 years ago – the decision was revoked and my registration restored – I am still unable to move forward without full disclosure. Sadly the reality of this is that some HR departments may not allow the interview to move forward if the above question is marked as “yes”.

Like many in our group, I await a management review of my application to see if they want to move ahead with my application. It begs the question as to why we still have to disclose events throughout the remainder of our career and whether this is fair under Article 8, concerning private and family life.

Is it ever possible to move forward and away from FtP or will we always be labelled and have our employment potential hampered by disclosure?

It seems not…

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