Enrolled nurse suspended for 8 months for professional misconduct

19 May 2017

An enrolled nurse has been reprimanded and suspended for 8 months for professional misconduct.

The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) has reprimanded an enrolled nurse and suspended his registration for 8 months for professional misconduct arising from his manual handling of elderly patients.

Mr John Gibson practised as an enrolled nurse in the Older Adult Mental Health Service Ward at Osborne Park Hospital, Perth. In early March 2015, Mr Gibson used unnecessary and inappropriate force with respect to three elderly dementia patients, and deliberately subjected one of the patients to pain.

On 30 March 2015, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia took immediate action by suspending Mr Gibson’s registration. At the date of finalisation of the tribunal proceedings, Mr Gibson had not practised as a nurse for a period of two years.

During the course of the tribunal proceedings, Mr Gibson admitted that he had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct when he (amongst other things):

  • deliberately applied pressure over a patient’s wound dressing and toes for the purpose of inflicting pain,
  • held a patient in a rough hold and pulled the patient’s feet along the ground,
  • applied pressure to a patient’s upper and lower body, causing the patient to fall backwards on the patient’s bed, and
  • held a patient’s head right back whilst the patient was sitting in a shower chair.

On 10 April 2017, the tribunal ordered that Mr Gibson be reprimanded, suspended for 8 months and have conditions imposed on his registration. These conditions include requiring him to undertake further education and to engage with a mentor in relation to safe manual handling of patients. Mr Gisbon was also ordered to pay $1,800 in costs.

The tribunal’s decision is available on the tribunal’s website.

Page reviewed 19/05/2017