Nurse who harassed colleague has registration cancelled by the High Court

It was claimed that in December 2016, on various dates, inappropriate text messages were sent from her phone to the nursing home’s mobile phone for the attention of one male colleague
Nurse who harassed colleague has registration cancelled by the High Court

High Court reporters

A female nurse who was convicted in court of the harassment of a male colleague has had her registration cancelled by the High Court.

High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine, on the application of The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, on Monday confirmed the board's decision to cancel the registration of the nurse.

The judge noted the Fitness to Practice Committee which made the cancellation recommendation had found that the nurse, who cannot be named by order of the court, was guilty of professional misconduct in relation to sending inappropriate text messages to a nursing home mobile phone for the attention of a male colleague and, when asked to stop sending the messages, continued to do so.

Giving the background to the case, Ms Justice Irvine said two complaints had been received about the nurse’s conduct and her engagements with three colleagues in a nursing home.

It was claimed that in December 2016, on various dates, inappropriate text messages were sent from her phone to the nursing home’s mobile phone for the attention of one male colleague.

The judge said the notice of inquiry makes the factual allegation that the nurse, having been requested to refrain immediately by another male colleague from sending the inappropriate text messages, continued to send the messages.

It is also alleged that in early 2019, the nurse was convicted in the Circuit Court of the harassment of a third male colleague.

'Infamous and disgraceful'

Mr Justice Irvine said the notice of inquiry alleged the nurse’s conduct amounted to a serious falling short of the standards of conduct expected of nurses and midwives, and it was infamous and disgraceful in a professional respect.

In 2020, a Fitness to Practice Committee found the nurse was guilty of professional misconduct and noted she was suffering from relevant medical disabilities. The cancellation of her registration was recommended.

The judge said the committee also considered it was relevant that the conduct continued after the nurse was asked to refrain, and her conduct was repetitive and prolonged and “demonstrated a pattern of harassment type behaviour that had an underlying sexual nature".

"Importantly, the conduct caused stress to the victims and their families," the judge said.

She said the committee also noted the nurse had sought to deflect responsibility for her behaviour.

Ms Justice Irvine said she was satisfied in deciding to impose the most severe sanction of cancellation.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board was of the view that the conduct was so serious that no lesser sanction would suffice to uphold the standards of the profession and “thereby instil confidence in the public that robust and effective oversight is being exercised over its members”.

The judge added: “It is indeed regrettable that she caused so much distress to who she targeted for attention in the course of her work, and it is easy in such circumstances to see why the board has decided that no lesser sanction than a cancellation of registration would protect the public and in particular those with whom she would be obliged to work if any lesser sanction were to be proposed.”

The judge concluded she saw no good reason to overturn the board's decision that the nurse’s registration be cancelled.

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