Nurse is told she is fit to practise despite inappropriate relationship

First published in News

A mental health nurse who formed an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable patient at a Bradford psychiatric hospital has avoided censure.

A conduct panel found her behaviour was “an isolated instance of misconduct in an otherwise unblemished nursing career of some 11 years”.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Conduct and Competence hearing found Shelley Morrison’s fitness to practise was not impaired by her misconduct, after she made a full admission to the charges relating to her work on the New Dawn Ward, at the Cygnet Hospital in Bierley Lane, Bierley, between June and November, 2009, and subsequently up to January 2010.

A complaint was made to the hospital by an 18-year-old female patient suffering from a borderline personality disorder, who said that communications between herself and Miss Morrison had caused her “distress” and the hospital referred the matter to the NMC in 2010.

Miss Morrison, who had been the patient’s named nurse, admitted to the panel she gave her personal phone number to Patient A in a Christmas card; that she gave Patient A a ring; that she accepted a bracelet as a gift from Patient A and on January 7, 2010, she sent a number of text messages to Patient A and that on this basis the relationship was inappropriate.

The panel decided that the gift of a ring to the patient and the acceptance of a gift of a bracelet were not inappropriate and did not constitute misconduct, however, it found the other charges did constitute misconduct.

The panel heard how Miss Morrison’s job at the hospital ended unexpectedly giving her no time to say goodbye. This distressed Patient A so much her condition deteriorated and an incident took place where the police attended and tasered Patient A.

The patient’s new nurse contacted Miss Morrison, which resulted in Miss Morrison sending the patient a card, phone number and text messages. Miss Morrison, who has since gone to work in Bedfordshire, apologised for referring to former colleagues in derogatory terms in text messages.

A hospital spokesman said: “Our number one priority is always our service users and their physical and mental well-being. We support the findings of the NMC and other statutory bodies that we work with.”

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