Nurse struck off after jabbing elderly patient 285

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By Alexander Lawrie

A MENTAL health nurse has been struck off the nursing register after he jabbed his finger into an elderly patient’s face while shouting at him.
 
James Fraser, 54, was working at the Udston Hospital in Hamilton when he lost it with a dementia-sufferer he was meant to be caring for.

He shouted at the man, grabbed hold of his arm and twisted his hand, before poking him in the face.

Fraser, of Motherwell, did not appear to hear evidence against him, and the hearing went ahead in his absence.
 
He defended his actions by claiming he was acting in self-defence and that he was under considerable financial pressure and had recently gone through a traumatic divorce.

But yesterday, at a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council conduct and competence committee, a panel found him guilty of three charges in relation to the March 2006 incident.

Giving evidence, one of Fraser’s colleagues nurse Catherine Walls admitted she was “very angry” after witnessing the abuse of the patient.
 
She said: “On that day I saw Fraser and the patient coming out of the toilet. As they got near to the seating area Fraser was directly behind Patient A.
 
“As he turned to leave, the patient tried to grasp Fraser. At that point Fraser grabbed the right arm of the patient and pulled it out straight.
 
“It looked like he was twisting his arm.
 
“He (Fraser) was also very loud as he shouted at the patient, he then started to jab his finger into the man’s face.
 
“I couldn’t actually hear what was said because I was in the office looking through the window, but it was very aggressive.”

The tribunal heard how Fraser – who had been in nursing for over 30 years but is now understood to work in a call centre – had previously received censuring at an unofficial management meeting for being aggressive to fellow members of staff.

They were also told Fraser had attended staff courses on how to deal with aggressive and vulnerable patients, but that he thought the courses did not leave him competent to deal with the situation.
 
Nurse Walls added: “The incident didn’t call for anything like the reaction I saw, so I reported it officially.
 
“He could have walked away from the situation and there was no need for him to turn back.”
 
After finding the nurse guilty of the three charges, the panel decided to strike Fraser from the nursing register for a minimum of five years due to his fitness to practice being impaired by reason of misconduct.
 
James Crowe, chair of the committee, said: “The committee has decided the respondent’s conduct is fundamentally incompatible with the NMC’s code of conduct.
 
“The protection of patients has to be paramount. In this case, the patient’s safety was compromised. The committee has no up-to-date information on how Mr Fraser has tried to re-dress his deficiencies.
 
“We consider his actions to be a serious departure from the rules set out in the NMC’s code.
 
“The panel has decided to strike Mr Fraser from the nursing register for a minimum period of five years after finding his fitness to practice was impaired by reason of misconduct.”

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