Derbyshire : Drug-Errors Nurse Banned From Job

A Hospital nurse who repeatedly swore in front of colleagues and put cancer patients in danger by making basic drug errors has been struck off.

Stephanie Foster, 39, also failed to carry out simple procedures at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, including checking on one critically-ill patient’s vital signs as they lay gasping for breath.

She failed to sign medication charts for three patients to show they had been given powerful chemotherapy drugs, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

And she did not check patients’ prescriptions properly and gave one patient a cancer drug meant for another when she failed to check the label on a syringe.

Foster also swore in front of colleagues while working on DRI’s Ward 11, which cares for 25 cancer patients.

The chairman of the NMC, Val Morrison, said Foster had not put her patients first.

She said: “We find that the registrant failed to observe … boundaries and focus exclusively on her patients when complaining about her day in the presence of patients.

“Swearing and using bad language in the working environment of the hospital and in the presence of colleagues is a breach of the professional code of conduct.”

In one serious incident in March 2004, Foster failed to carry out basic check-ups on a cancer-sufferer as they suffered respiratory distress.

She also failed to call for a senior colleague to alert her that the patient was in a critical condition.

Neil Millard, for the NMC, said Foster’s other errors included discharging one cancer patient without making sure he had an important nasal spray.

On one drugs round, while under assessment by a senior colleague, Foster allegedly failed to check patients’ prescriptions before dispensing medication.

Foster, who was employed at the DRI from June 2003 to August 2004, resigned the day before the hospital was to carry out a disciplinary hearing.

The nurse, who is from Burton, did not attend yesterday’s conduct hearing in London.

Striking her off, Mrs Morrison said: “There is evidence her behaviour could have caused direct or indirect harm to patients. This is not a case of an isolated incident but a catalogue of failures in the registrant’s practice.”

Foster will have to wait five years before she is allowed to re-apply for registration to the NMC.

Em Wilkinson-Brice, deputy director of nursing for Derby Hospitals Trust, said: “The trust acted promptly in referring this case to the NMC as soon as this individual’s competence was questioned and before any patients came to harm.

“Thankfully this is a very rare occurrence and our nurses at Derby hospitals deliver high quality care.”