A NURSE asked to be removed from the register after she was caught filling out patients’ observation charts without carrying out medical assessments, a tribunal has heard.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise hearing in London was told how Carolyn Whittit had an ‘unblemished career’ for more than 40 years but put patients at ‘unwarranted risk of harm’ and ‘brought the profession into disrepute’ during a late shift in January 2016.

The nurse who worked at Victoria Hospital, Wimborne, was spotted completing observation charts but the observation machine with all the necessary equipment was not near the patient but plugged in at the wall in a corridor.

Another colleague noted the records showed the observations had been carried out – but patients said they had not been assessed.

One patient appeared visibly unwell, but had the same observations as the previous check.

The nurse then falsified records to change timings of the checks, the hearing was told.

Concerned for the health of one patient, one colleague asked a second set of observations to be carried out and the scores led to him being transferred to an acute ward the following day.

Dorset HealthCare carried out an investigation and Mrs Whittit accepted her actions amounted to misconduct and she 'demonstrated remorse for her failures.'

The panel said: “Mrs Whittit admitted at the outset that she had falsified the observation records for a number of patients and she knew this to be dishonest.

“She gave a detailed account of personal and mitigating factors which she believed had caused her to behave in this way, and explained that she had behaved out of character and completely inconsistent with her record of 41 years of nursing.”

The council said her ‘failure to undertake observations on patients in her care, and falsifying records in a way to suggest that these observations had been done, was conduct that fell well below the standards expected of a registered nurse.’

The committee said Mrs Whittit has not practised as a nurse since 2016, and in a letter to the NMC in April gave ‘persuasive reasons why she does not intend or does not feel able to practise as a nurse in the future, and that she wishes to apply for voluntary removal from the register.’

The hearing concluded: “The panel holds the view that a nurse who has dedicated over 40 years to the profession without incident; who acknowledged as an aberration her conduct which occurred over a single day towards the end of her career; who admitted her guilt immediately and at every subsequent stage of enquiry; who has expressed remorse and shown insight into where she had erred in not informing senior colleagues of her difficulties on that day; and who has expressed a desire to voluntarily remove herself from the register, deserves at least the opportunity to rescue her dignity in that way, and confidence in the profession is in no way assailed by that course of action."

Fiona Haughey, Dorset HealthCare’s Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “As a trust we hold professional integrity at the core of our values and we will always take robust action in any breach of conduct.

“In this case, we carried out a rigorous investigation and the individual was dismissed. She was also referred to her professional body, which has now granted her request to resign from the professional register – a decision we support.

“Dorset HealthCare’s priority at all times is safe, high-quality patient care.”