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Nurse suspended for failure to record care

A nurse has been suspended from the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) register for six months following a repeated failure to keep records of the care she provided for a patient at the Peartree Care Centre in Sydenham, Kent.

The NMC heard that the nurse admitted while working at the centre in January 2006, she failed to record the administration of antibiotics and did not record the details of a wound in a patient's leg.

The independent panel of the NMC's Conduct and Competence Committee heard less than a year earlier the nurse had been warned about not keeping accurate records of care.

Lesley Conway, a spokesperson for the NMC, commented: "Accurate record-keeping is essential to the duties of nursing and forms part of a nurse's Code of Conduct. Records should provide clear evidence of the care planned, the decisions made, the care delivered and the information shared. Her failures could have caused a patient harm even though in this case they did not. The panel accepted that she acted in the way that she did because of great pressure of work but she did not seek help. The decision to suspend her registration for a period of six months reflects the seriousness of her misconduct and is sufficient to protect the public."


Was this the right decision? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"As someone who did their nurse training and was unable to get a job, it is NOT surprising that this has happened. Nurses today (as well as all the other highly qualified caring professionals) in 2009 are completely overwhelmed, overworked, understaffed and underpaid. It is a shame that
this nurse did fail in her duty of care and due diligence, but you know very well that if she has asked for help or support it was probably ignored or dismissed. Unfortunately, this is going to continue to happen until nursing as a profession is properly staffed and fully supported" - Name and address supplied

"It is highly recommended that records must be well kept otherwise care done and not recorded has not been done. All the same I cannot say yes or no with the information here. This nurse was either forgetful or overwhelmed with a lot of work. Did she have someone else to ask help from? Nurses especially in nursing home are supposed to do care work as well as the nursing job. No one cares how much extra time they spend unpaid updating records which are supposed to be done by the person that performed the care. I know this does not go down well with employers. Does NMC give this nurse any support to get back to good practice? No nurse will go on a shift with a plan in mind to do the wrong thing." - Gladys NM, Newcastle upon Tyne

"Yes you have to keep accurate records of care. However, I have to say as a DN we are now swamped with paperwork and although you require to protect yourself and the patient, something has to give as there are only so many hours in the day and more often than not we are working for the health service for free several hours a week. Record keeping needs to be reviewed as at present we have home records which can get lost, base records and records on the computer. I thought we were to become paperlight!!!" - Name and address supplied

"No, she should have been given a written warning. Also, what sanctions have been taken against the institution she was working in? Very often these are money making places who skimp on staff and put them under great pressure to do too many things at once for poor pay. Most nurses have been in this position, and if you haven't, then you are lucky, blind or inexperienced." - Name and address supplied

"Of course it was the right decision. Good record keeping benefits all - the nurse the patient and the institution where the care is/was delivered. We live in a litigious society and recording information is so vital to this possibility." - V Henry, N15

"Yes. Many in general practices too should be suspended for repeated nonrecording or amendments. Then all will be leading to perfection." - Esh, Ealing

"Yes, how else are we going to provide the best possible care for patients? Good record keeping is a must to protect the nurse also." - Annie Brettell, Newcastle upon Tyne

"It's true accurate record keeping is part of the Nursing and Midwifery Code of Practice. I think the nurse should have been given a warning, or asked to go to a refresher course to update herself." - Maryam Omitogun, SE15

"Yes accurate record keeping is part of the holistic care." - Margaret Earl, Northants