Essex: Nurse Suspended For Misconduct

A nurse who worked in Essex has been suspended from practising for 12 months after admitting leaving sick children unsupervised and failing to administer medication to a baby with meningitis.

Titilola Orefuwa also left the room as a needle was being inserted into a infant's spine, meaning the procedure had to be repeated, causing the child unnecessary stress and pain.

Ms Orefuwa was supposed to catch fluid from the baby while a registrar carried out a lumbar puncture on the patient, who was being held by a student nurse, but left the room as the needle was going in, a tribunal in central London heard.

Following last week's hearing, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said the panel had considered striking Ms Orefuwa off but had decided the 12-month suspension to be more appropriate.

The Conduct and Competence Committee heard she had admitted seven charges carried out while she was a staff nurse at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital in Essex between January 2006 and April 2010.

Ms Orefuwa, who was staff nurse on a 16-bed children's ward at the hospital, admitted refusing a request by a senior nurse to change wards, replying that she was "pissed off'' and would go home instead.

She is also said to have used the word "f***''.

She had previously agreed to cover a shift on the neonatal ward on June 15 2008, but when asked to do this used the "aggressive and inappropriate language'' within earshot of child patients who were trying to sleep and parents who were visiting them, Rebecca Wood, for the NMC, told the tribunal.

The nurse also admitted leaving a child who needed constant monitoring in the care of a hospital porter.

The child needed supervision as he was under sedation and was waiting for an MRI scan.

The patient's oxygen levels needed constant monitoring but Ms Orefuwa left a hospital porter in charge while she took a call from the patient's mother.

Ms Wood said: "This meant the child was unsupervised and was at potential great risk if the child's condition unstabilised.''

Between that day and the following day, Ms Orefuwa also admitted failing to respond to a baby's monitor alarm after not looking after the patient properly during her shift, even though the baby was her sole patient, the hearing was told.

Ms Orefuwa was then seen to simply get her bag and leave the ward without giving a handover to any other nurses while the baby was in a poor condition, Ms Wood said.

The nurse also admitted failing to administer medication to a five-month-old baby with meningitis on March 3 2010.

She also failed to make a record of what she had done on her shift and failed to follow a doctor's advice to put the baby on restricted fluids.

Nursing staff who took over the baby's care then had to ask the child's mother whether she had seen Ms Orefuwa give the patient any medication.

Ms Orefuwa also admitted administering drugs through a drip and giving insulin to a patient on April 23 2010 while banned from administering medication.

She left her job at the hospital two days later after joining in January 2006.

The nurse was also accused of using Facebook while caring for a critically ill child but the NMC had insufficient evidence to proceed with the charge along with a second one which related to the recording of the frequency of penicillin dosage on a drug chart.

Ms Orefuwa has 28 days to appeal over the decision.