Brighton nurse disciplined for sleeping on duty

Posted On 02 Dec 2009 at 8:50 pm

A Brighton nurse was caught napping when a care home boss turned up unexpectedly during a night shift.

Phebby Phiri was asleep while on duty at Partridge House Nursing Home in Heath Hill Avenue, Bevendean.

The agency nurse was caught by the home’s boss, Cliff Parker, who also found three other carers asleep.

Only one member of the care staff was awake and studying.

The remote monitors – or “magic eye” motion sensors – in residents’ bedrooms were all switched off.

After they had finished their shifts, Mr Parker told the agency which supplied Phiri that he did not want it to send her again.

He reported her to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

In a letter to the council, Phiri said that she had barely closed her eyes for less than five minutes.

It found her guilty of misconduct which could potentially have harmed vulnerable patients. And it found that her fitness to practise was impaired.

It said that the misconduct was not only a personal failure but also a poor example to those for whom she was responsible.

To allow others to also sleep on duty was poor leadership,  it said.  And as the only registered nurse on duty she fell well below the standards to be expected of the nursing profession.

It criticised the lack of an early admission of facts and expression of regret

The council’s fitness to practise panel said that she had shown no evidence of any insight into her failings or the risk posed by her behaviour.

It said that such aggravating features undermined public confidence in the profession and raised patient safety issues.

But it said that the mitigating features of her case were that this was an isolated incident and the testimonials that she presented were detailed and very positive.

It said that they showed that she had been working safely and appropriately as a registered nurse, albeit in a different setting, since the time of the incident.

Given her good character, she was given a caution to remain on her record for a year.

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