News

Nurse who mistreated patient with dementia asks to be removed from register

Nurse also attempted to forcefully administer a sedative but is given suspension despite telling regulator she is unfit to practise and asking to be struck off
Picture shows the entrance to Western General Hospital in Edinburgh

Nurse also attempted to forcefully administer a sedative but is given suspension despite telling regulator she is unfit to practise and asking to be struck off

A nurse who admitted she was unfit to practise after dragging a patient with dementia to her room and forcefully attempting to administer a sedative has been suspended for a year by the nursing regulator.

Carol Picton was working in the stroke unit at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in November 2017 when colleagues raised concerns about her treatment of a vulnerable older woman.

Witnesses who gave evidence to an NMC fitness to practice (FtP) panel

Nurse also attempted to forcefully administer a sedative but is given suspension despite telling regulator she is unfit to practise and asking to be struck off

Picture shows the entrance to Western General Hospital in Edinburgh
Entrance to Western General Hospital in Edinburgh Picture: Alamy

A nurse who admitted she was unfit to practise after dragging a patient with dementia to her room and forcefully attempting to administer a sedative has been suspended for a year by the nursing regulator.

Carol Picton was working in the stroke unit at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in November 2017 when colleagues raised concerns about her treatment of a vulnerable older woman.

Witnesses who gave evidence to an NMC fitness to practice (FtP) panel said they heard the patient screaming in distress after being roughly dragged by her arm back to her room by Ms Picton.

The nurse then attempted to forcefully administer the anti-psychotic drug Haloperidol without checking the correct dosage, the hearing was told. She tried to give the drug orally using a 2ml injection syringe rather than an oral syringe.

Ms Picton denied forceful mistreatment and panel found no evidence she had shown insight into her misconduct

When the patient spat out the drug Ms Picton gave her more without knowing how much she had ingested, risking an overdose, the panel heard. Ms Picton, who was referred to the NMC by her employer following an internal investigation, was also said to have tilted the patient’s bed to prevent her getting out and leaving her room.

The panel, which found five charges proven, concluded that Ms Picton’s actions were ‘deplorable’ and amounted to harassment and abuse.

The panel noted that Ms Picton had denied allegations of forceful mistreatment. It found there was no evidence that she had apologised, was remorseful for her actions or that she had shown any insight into her misconduct or its impact on the patient and her family, the hospital, the nursing profession and the public.

Ms Picton did not attend the hearing, held in early March, but in an email to the regulator dated 17 January 2022, she wrote: ‘I am not fit to practice and have asked in each email communication that my name be removed from the NMC register.’

The panel concluded that her misconduct was serious but not serious enough to warrant being struck off, given that it occurred during a single shift in the context of a long nursing career. She was given a 12-month suspension with an 18-month interim suspension order currently in place in case of an appeal.

Regulator will review the FtP decision to determine if it was the right course of action

NMC interim director of professional regulation Tom Scott said the regulator would be reviewing the FtP decision to determine if it was the right course of action. He said: ‘We have an internal group that can review decisions made by our fitness to practise panels. We’ll convene this group as soon as possible to review the decision in this case, to determine whether it was the right one.’

Ms Picton will not automatically be able to practise after the 12 month suspension is up, as her ability to return to work will be subject to a FtP panel review before the end of the suspension order.

In the case of voluntary removal from the NMC register, a registrant can apply for readmission to the register at any time without the judgement of an FtP panel. For this reason, voluntary removal is not considered an appropriate public protection measure, the regulator confirmed.

NHS Lothian does not comment on individual cases but said staff were actively encouraged to raise concerns. Director of human resources and organisational development Janis Butler said: ‘Any allegation of misconduct or any other form of inappropriate behaviour is taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly using recognised processes.’


Find out more

NMC Fitness to Practise Substantive Hearing: Carol Picton

In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs