By Cara Sulieman
A NURSE faces being struck off after she chose to go on holiday rather than achieve the competencies she needed to be deemed a safe practitioner, a tribunal has heard.
Elaine Duncan, 25, is said to have consistently failed to meet the objectives laid down for her while she worked in the Coronary Care Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Although already a registered nurse, Duncan was undergoing a nursing degree course and Grampian NHS’s Staff Nurse Development programme when the alleged failure of her competencies occurred between March and September 2006.
And despite reaching the end of the programme it was felt that Duncan was not competent in a number of areas she was required for.
It was at this time that her mentor, ward manager Elaine Slattery, felt the need to report her to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Duncan was not present at the hearing yesterday in Edinburgh.
The two most serious charges against the defendant involved drugs being wrongly administered to patients.
In June 2006, the nurse had allegedly failed to check a patient’s blood sugar levels for three hours – causing the patient to become hypo-glycaemic.
And earlier that month, Duncan is said to have given intravenous Insulin to a patient who was already receiving the drug orally – potentially endangering their life.
Although both patients were unharmed by the alleged mistakes, Sister Slattery became increasingly worried about Duncan’s competence as a nurse.
Problems became apparent
Duncan is also said to have failed to answer a number of questions put to her by her mentor after she was asked to revise the topics as “homework”.
These fortnightly reviews formed an essential part of her ongoing development plan.
Previously, the nurse had successfully completed the first part of the programme in the Gynaecological Unit of the same hospital.
But when she started in the Coronary Care unit the problems with her knowledge became apparent.
When Ms Slattery was asked about the concerns she had about Duncan, she said that at first she didn’t think they would cause long-term problems.
She said: “I had no problems in taking on Staff Nurse Duncan. When it became clear that she needed an action plan I ensured that it was put in place and was confident that she would be able to progress under supervision.”
The panel also heard from Jane Ewen, the Educational Facilitator of the degree course Duncan was taking at Dundee University.
She stated that Duncan had failed to achieve her degree as she had not completed the competencies that were an essential part of the programme.
She said: “It was a surprise to me that after two extensions, Miss Duncan still failed to get the competencies required of her signed off by a member of staff. As far as I am aware she went travelling without achieving degree status.”
The hearing against Duncan in Edinburgh continues.