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Northern Ireland nurse could not perform basic tasks, panel hears

A nurse who worked in a hospital in Northern Ireland has been accused of a series of startling failures in basic knowledge — including not knowing how to put a patient in the recovery position.

A fitness to practise hearing has been told that even though Joshy John was under supervision while she was being trained for a new role at Craigavon Area Hospital, she still presented a risk to patients.

During the first day of the hearing, one of the nurses who supervised Ms John’s training to be a band-five nurse in the trauma and orthopaedic department said that the risk to patients remained despite the fact that she was always monitored.

She said: “She was at risk of harming patients. There was someone there to guide her, but the risk was always there.”

The Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told that Ms John was employed by the Southern Health & Social Care Trust between April 19, 2010 and August 10, 2010, during which time her probation period was extended a number of times.

The supervising nurse said that the department was extremely busy and noisy and a challenging environment for all new members of staff.

“I can explain from my own point of view of moving to Craigavon that it took me a while to settle in as well,” she said.

Under cross-examination, she was asked whether she believed that Ms John’s performance would have been better had she been in a different department.

She replied: “Reflecting back ... no. I wouldn’t have thought she would have performed any better in another environment.”

Ms John’s solicitor continued: “In your opinion, she was not capable of performing as a band-five nurse?” The nurse supervisor said: “The standards at the time, she didn’t attain them.”

Ms John faces a number of charges arising from her time working at Craigavon Area Hospital, which, it has been claimed, demonstrate that she lacked the standards of knowledge, skills and judgment required to practise without supervision as a band-five nurse.

These include:

  • Being unable to demonstrate the knowledge required to put a patient in the recovery position.
  • Being unable to spot the signs that a patient had fainted.
  • Inappropriately guessing the breathing rate of a patient.
  • Failing to recognise the temperature of a patient recovering from surgery was at a dangerous level.
  • Being unable to set up a range of equipment.

A solicitor for Ms John told the hearing panel that her client maintained that she did not guess the breathing rate of a patient as there was a clock in the room.

However, her nurse supervisor said that a subsequent risk assessment of the room had identified the lack of a clock.

The hearing continues.

Belfast Telegraph