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Napping nurse caught out by snoring

A NAPPING nurse who fell asleep on duty nine times in one month was caught out – by her loud snoring.

Perpetua Cull, who worked at the North Merchiston Care Home in Edinburgh, slept whilst working the night shift on numerous occasions in July last year.

Mrs Cull, originally from Gweru in Zimbabwe, would collect a sheet and a blanket from the linen cupboard and sleep on a recliner chair “for between one to two and a half hours at a time”.

Mrs Cull has been given a two-year caution order
Mrs Cull has been given a two-year caution order


Her colleague reported her after hearing her snoring, and now she has been given a two year caution order by the nursing watchdog – a move which her angry husband has slammed as “barbaric”.

Mrs Cull attended a hearing with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in Edinburgh earlier this month, where she faced a total of nine charges.

The charges read that she “acted unprofessionally in that she slept whilst on duty on one or more of the night shifts” between 9 July and 24 July 2014.

The nine napping charges were found proven – despite Mrs Cull strongly denying that she ever fell asleep on duty.

All of the charges were found proven
All of the charges were found proven


A decision notice posted online shows that evidence was heard from another nurse who used to work the same 10pm to 8am shifts.

The nurse, who remained anonymous, stated that Mrs Cull “would enter the Residents’ lounge area having collected a sheet and a blanket from the linen cupboard and sleep in a recliner chair”.

He added that “she was sleeping not only because he saw her but because he heard her snoring”.

He told the panel that “although he did not wake her up, he found the night shifts where he was working with her much harder because the volume of work increased”.

Her colleague said that he could "hear her snoring"
Her colleague said that he could “hear her snoring”


Despite not minding initially because the “shift went more quickly” for him, he “later became annoyed that this behaviour was becoming a regular pattern”.

At the hearing, which lasted three days, Mrs Cull denied that she had ever fallen asleep on duty.

The decision notice reads that she “told the panel she never slept on duty and it would have been hard for her to do so because the shift was so busy”.

She said that it was “unprofessional to sleep on duty and she would never sleep on duty”.

She also told the panel that her colleague’s version of events were “untrue” and that she believed his motivation for making the allegations was that she had “raised concerns about the length of his smoking breaks”.

In their decision, the panel stated that they found parts of Mrs Cull’s evidence “implausible”, and it was “more likely than not” that she had slept whilst on duty.

She worked at the North Merchiston Care Home in Edinburgh
She worked at the North Merchiston Care Home in Edinburgh


However, they accepted that there was “no evidence of actual harm to the residents” as she was always on the unit, and “by taking her breaks in the Residents’ lounge rather than the staff room she was more accessible should an emergency had risen”.

The panel ruled that her fitness to practice was impaired, and imposed a caution order for a period of two years.

Mrs Cull was fired from the care home following the allegations, and now works for another nursing agency in Edinburgh.

The decision notice states that she “has made adjustments to her working practice by only working day shifts with her current employer to avoid repetition”.

Mrs Cull’s husband, Robert, has slammed the decision to impose a caution order.

He said: “It’s totally barbarian what they have done. She should have just received a warning at the time.

“It’s not like she shot or killed anybody, she probably just closed her eyes on her dinner break.

“I used to work night shifts and I know that at two o’clock in the morning your eyes can get a bit tired – she didn’t set out to fall asleep.

“She was fired after the allegations came out, but now works for another agency for care homes around Edinburgh.”

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