A CARE home nurse broke down in tears and thanked a tribunal for giving him the “best present” after they cleared him of misconduct.
Stuart Smith faced an allegation that he failed to properly assess an elderly man – referred to as “Resident D” – after discovering him choking at St Michael’s View Nursing Home, in South Shields.
He was found not to have recorded a full assessment of the frail man, but the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)found that Smith was fit to continuing practising as a nurse.
They also cleared him of misconduct in relation to organising supervision sessions of nurses at the home.
After he was told he was free to leave and to continue in his profession, the nurse put his head in his hands and cried.
He then stood up and wished the panel a Merry Christmas, adding: “You won’t get a better present than you have given me today in this room.”
Ian Luder, chairman of the panel, told Smith: “While the panel has found that you did not provide a full assessment of Resident D, it did find that your assessment was adequate in the circumstances of this case.”
Mr Luder said it was clear from the evidence before the panel that Smith’s assessment of Resident D “met the standard” outlined by an expert in the hearing.
Earlier in the hearing Nigel Mitchell, for the NMC, told the tribunal that Smith’s records failed to show when the pensioner, who had a history of choking, had last consumed food, the time or the personnel involved.
He submitted that it must have been significant, as Smith made a referral to the GP the next day.
Mr Mitchell also told the panel that Smith did not conduct adequate supervision sessions for staff at the home.
Despite finding that Smith did not provide adequate supervision to one registrant, the panel found that it was not his duty to undertake this role at the home.
Allegations that Smith did not provide adequate care to another resident and did not keep adequate records for Resident D were dropped.
A further allegation that Smith performed a procedure called suctioning when it was not part of the home’s policy, was also not proceeded with.