Nurse who left patients to watch golf is suspended
11:24am Saturday 12th July 2014 in News
A NURSE who put critically-ill patients at risk while he watched a golf tournament on a work computer at York Hospital has been suspended for a year.
Nigel Steel was caught gazing at coverage of the Open Championship from the BBC website in July 2012.
He later told a patient to soil himself, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
Steel was also accused of poor record keeping and failing to provide adequate hand overs to colleagues.
Panel chair Andrew Gell said: “The panel found that Mr Steel’s actions had the potential to put patients at risk of harm.”
Earlier in the hearing fellow nurse Ria Dean said she saw Steel watching golf when he should have been caring for patients.
Steel later claimed he watched the sporting event for only ten to 15 seconds at a time, but the tribunal heard he stood and watched for up to ten minutes.
The panel heard Steel failed to provide critical details about a terminally-ill patient to his colleague Hazel Cahill.
When Ms Cahill went to check on ‘Patient D’ on the acute gastro and renal ward, she found he had moved position and his oxygen mask had slipped off.
“I saw that the patient was pale and sweaty and clammy to touch – I noticed his clothes and bedding were wet from the sweat,” said Ms Cahill.
It was claimed Steel did not mention the patient was using an oxygen mask and did not include details of the care required.
Steel, who was not present at the tribunal in central London, denied watching golf on duty and telling Patient F to relieve themselves on a pad. But he admitted failing to record his interactions with the patient.
Steel also denied failing to adequately hand over the condition of the following patients and failing to implement a fluid balance chart. He admitted failing to record details of care provided to two patients and omitting to take a blood sugar reading for a patient.
A panel of three found all the allegations against the nurse proved.
Suspending Steel from nursing practice for a year, Mr Gell said: “The panel considered that Mr Steel has shown limited evidence of insight, remorse or remediation and there remains a real risk of repetition.”
But he said Steel’s “misconduct was not fundamentally incompatible” with his continuing work as a nurse in the long term.
Steel worked at the hospital from November 25, 2005 until his dismissal on December 7, 2012.
He will face a review panel before he is allowed to return to practice.