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Disciplinary hearing.(165 Posts)
I have worked in the NHS in different clinical roles for almost 30 years. Had promotions and no issues from clinical or behaviour point of view in that time. Clean record. Last year I made a serious mistake and a patient could hve died as a consequence. I recognised what I had done and accepted an investigation was necessary. However I have been repeatedly told that I now could face a summary dismissal for gross misconduct and I don't know how to go on. I fully accepted my mistake and feel destroyed by the whole process. Not one person in the organisation has offered any support and the stress and anxiety is killing me. I have my hearing soon and I honestly feel suicidal at the prospect. I have lost my career my good name and risk losing my income. I have support from friends but feel so isolated and ashamed.
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I really feel for you. I used to work as a nurse but the stress got too much. My last work place was reasonably supportive and there were some nurses who had made repeated drug errors who didn't get suspended. there was one very serious error and the 2 nurses involved moved on very quickly and weren't supported well. I hope you manage to recover from this.
*which just sounds like the plan to scapegoat you anyway
I would just quit. You say yourself that you couldn't continue that job worrying you might make a mistake again. So just quit. Sod them and their 'hearing' (which ut dounds like they plan to scapegoat you in).
Start an entirely different career with the excuse that you wanted a total change from nursing ('too much stress/red tape/drama' or whatever) use a colleague as a reference instead of a boss.
Seriously, life is is hard or as easy as we make it. I know its a wrench to give up a career but the rest of it...haven't you punished yourself enough? Well, sod them then, just walk away.
Firstly, I think you need some support. Counselling maybe. Your employer should be supporting you. The decision has been made, you've not been struck off, so an effort should be made on both parts to enable you back to work so that a clinically able nhs professional is not lost due to circumstances. I think you need to take stock of the situation too. It's not as bad as you probably think. If you were about to be struck off, you'd have been sat in front of a far more senior panel than an internal investigation. In very serious incidents, minutes of the panel meeting are taken which are then published to the pubic. There are many examples of these on the internet, they are published so transparency can be seen and so the public are reassured about the clinicians competency.
One thing I would advise you to check is your registration status. If you've been sanctioned, any sanctions are published on the online portal. Both the public and potential employers can check this. I use it to check any GPs I'm employing do not have any fitness to practice regulations.
If this is all clear, I think you need to breathe easy. Yes it's probably incredibly daunting that you've made a mistake...but we're all human. A man minding his own business ran over and killed my 11yo cousin because my cousin was on his mobile phone and stepped out into the road. This man carried incredible guilt that had he not glanced to the left instead of the right, he would have seen him...he's never driven again. Don't be this man, don't carry the guilt. The nhs needs good, competent clinicians which you sound like you are. It was just a bad day at the office. Big hugs.
What makes me bloody laugh is the hospital management expects no mistakes to be made when people are put on 12 hour shifts.
I left nursing when 12 hour shifts started because I was getting so tired I knew I would make mistakes.
I ALWAYS said nobody can perform properly working 12 hours straight. The 7 hour shifts should be brought back, you can only really concentrate for 7 hours not 12.
However, nobody ever in management gave a shit what I think which is why I am doing 9-5 private podiatry and earning three times as much as I did when I was nursing..
I work in the NHS and am currently suspended. I don’t want to go into detail on here for fear of being recognised, how paranoid does that make me sound. It has been the worst time of my life it wasn’t connected to a patient or error.
I live in fear of losing my job, have contemplated suicide. Scared I will lose my job, my income....not to mention a loss of my career. There is a guilty until proven innocent mentality in the NHS.
I have just read your thread, Op, but only realised it was an old one when I got to your update. My heart bleeds for you.
I retired from forty+ years in NHS a few years ago and it breaks my heart to read how desperate the situation is now, especially, but not exclusively, for clinical staff.
Have you considered looking for work outside an acute NHS trust? A setting where you can get your confidence and joy in caring back. I worked in different areas of community care in the latter part of my career and very rarely met a nurse/ HCP would wanted to go back into acute trust after working in the community.
I hope whatever you do in the future, you will get some peace of mind after this awful time.
We are all human, we all make mistakes.
”I find myself unable to return to my role as I am so afraid of making an error and of being subjected, once again, to a disciplinary process”
Have you been applying for other, non-clinical posts?
Following on from my hearing, where I received a final written warning, I find myself unable to return to my role as I am so afraid of making an error and of being subjected, once again, to a disciplinary process that is so unkind and lacks any compassion. What on earth do I do? How do I manage this situation? I won't be permitted to remain non clinical for long but dread and fear a return to front line care.
I put my first application form in for pupil support last Friday and iv got an application form to complete for another this week.
Before my investigation i was too lacking in confidence to move . My investigation lasted 6 months, and during that time i realised my core values of compassion, empathy, loyalty etc ... i was pouring into both patients & staff . But the Trust were not reciprocating my values.
Apparently for us to be happy our core values need to be in line with what we are giving & receiving at work.
I always thought that i was in the ideal job because I could channel all my compassion & energy into it. But then one day a counsellor told me that the value of compassion involves being in a situation where you are also able to receive it .
My nursing job gives me no sense of worth, respect , i am not treated with empathy or compassion.
As awful as it was to go through an investigation for an unfounded allegation... it has at least got me to reevaluate how my own needs are met , and what makes me happy.
.. i am now applying for jobs in schools because I think there are so many transferable skills.
@ifonly I've been working in Pupil Support for about 7 years now and I love it. For a long time I told myself it was temporary and I would go back to nursing but I know now that I won't. I work in a behaviour unit in a mainstream school, I work with lots of pupils and many teachers and senior staff, all of whom appreciate the work I do. The money is poor, but the day is full of variety and flies by. Best of all is that when the bell rings I head out of the door and don't think about it until the next morning.
I know when things go wrong most people on the receiving end will say they want to make sure these things don't happen to another family. A totally reasonable response. In reality because the NHS is so punitive and procedures so secretive all the blame is heaped on 1 individual. Other members of the team don't learn anything and the same mistakes occur. It is absolute madness. The management are just watching their backs. 6 months on after my serous error there is still no resolution. Who is benefitting from this?
I just feel totally flattened & humiliated by what they put me through and don't think i can ever get past it so moving forward nursing needs to be a previous chapter of my life.
I was a nurse and I had one disciplinary for a non-dangerous drug error which highlighted a procedural failing. The trust felt that they had to take me through the process as a test case before the checking procedure changed. It was enormously stressful for several months and, despite just getting a written warning, I felt the relationship between myself and the hospital management was very damaged and moved to another job very soon after.
I don't nurse now and instead I work in schools. I respect the role of the teachers, but it's certainly true that a rotten teacher can go on for years doing a poor job, while an excellent nurse can lose their job in a flash.
Good luck OP, stay strong, you are bigger than this!
from a fellow NHS worker who lives and practices in fear xx
We also talked about what our reaction would have been if our dd had died, it was very close. We agreed that we might well have been so angry that we would have wanted to sue the hospital. We still thought that overall systemic failures were more at fault than individual ones but we would have had a lot of anger to direct somewhere.
I wouldn't call it baying for blood, if myself or my family suffered or god forbid died due to a serious medical/nursing error I would want to see more than just an investigation or to be told that lessons will be learnt. I've seen it from both sides and maybe sometimes it is a catalogue of events that lead to a mistake, sometimes its incompetence or lack of knowledge. Of course it's unfair the way some staff are treated when they make a genuine mistake and malicious accusations, scapegoating happen pretty frequently but some errors are preventable and shouldn't someone take responsibility.
Yes, I felt that the fact they were so honest about what happened, really helped. The error couldn't be "hidden" but the fact they told me ASAP and were so open made me feel better. If it had been attempted to minimise or "cover up" it would have been awful. Ironically I always used to say to staff (different sector) it's not necessarily the mistakes you make, it's also the way you deal with them which influences the outcome.
Having said that, I can understand the anger of some posters here. If it had been an error resulting in fatality I imagine my DH and DC would not be so accepting and it would be an understandable reaction to "bay for blood" for want of a better expression.
OP don't let your career be defined by a mistake. To improve safety we need people to be open and honest and not supporting people who have been open will make things worse for everyone. I have worked in health and social care for years including as a regulator: lots of things contribute to errors, not just humans. Hang in there and I hope you get shown some compassion.
Really kind of both of you to give your experiences too and for being so understanding of how errors happen (that sounds really patronising and I don’t mean it to sound that way at all).
I also had a human error case, I had a midwife the next day sitting on the end of my bed in tears apologizing. Senior management we saw in contrast seemed more concerned about minimizing so they wouldn't be sued.
I was much crosser with the management bods, both the midwife and the obstetrician were open about the mistakes and the impact of them.
I could see the staffing pressures and impact of them. No one had set out to nearly kill my dc.
I was more interested in making sure there was a review to make sure it didn't happen again.
Similarly to ChangedNC I have been involved in a case where an error has been made as a patient (I am also a former nurse with 16 years' experience), although not in the UK. In my case an operation didn't go as planned due to human error and required revision about 6 months after it was originally performed. I certainly wasn't angry, I understood that mistakes happen, the clinicians were honest with me when it became apparent that things weren't as they should be and it was put right. We cannot expect perfection from human beings.
Thanks for posting ChangedNC. That is a really insightful and understanding attitude . Some patients can be amazingly supportive.
I've NCed for this thread. As a patient I was involved in a (I don't know the terminology sorry) incident which was referred to as Incident causing patient harm, I think it was a grade or level 3?
I obviously had to be told about it at the time. I was also sent a letter detailing the investigation and outcome and invited to a meeting afterwards to discuss it.
My sympathies were entirely reserved for the staff involved. It was the worst ward and hospital I had ever been in (an acute ward). The staff were so understaffed and stressed, I regularly saw nurses crying. The doctors involved in mine had been on shift for 14 hours - they were exhausted. I really really felt for them and sincerely hope it didn't damage their careers, and I said so at all stages.
I have lots and lots sympathy for the staff but none for this government (and previous) who have woefully underfunded the NHS, and don't experience the consequences with their private health care Any blame for my incident I attribute to this as a cause and I know the staff were doing their best. With hindsight they should have left at the ends of their shifts but there was no one else there to take their places and patients requiring urgent care.
We are human, not robots - and I would rather be cared for by humans and realise they are not infallible and accept the risks. Just wanted to post from a patient's viewpoint.
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