20th Sep, 2018

Romanian nurse suspended after lack of understanding of English resulted in medication blunder

Laura Kearns 10th Jul, 2018

A ROMANIAN nurse at South Warwickshire Foundation Trust has been suspended after her lack of understanding of English saw her give medication to patients without knowing what it was.

Roxana Paduraru was formerly employed as a nurse at the trust in December 2016, but bosses felt she lacked the knowledge to work as a nurse so made her a health care assistant, while still being paid the same amount.

She was given an action plan by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which runs Warwick, Stratford, Leamington and Shipston hospitals – in a bid to improve her skills, which meant she had to be supervised by experienced nurses at all times and was not to administer medication.

But two months after agreeing to follow the plan, Miss Padararu – who trained at care homes in Romania – undertook a supervised drugs round when the nurse she was with had to help a patient in another room.

She instructed Miss Padararu to wait, but when the nurse returned she found a patient had been given two co-codamol painkillers and two ‘Depakote’ tablets – used to treat epilepsy – which were kept locked away in the patient’s bedside cabinet.

Miss Padararu admitted taking the keys from the drugs trolley and giving the tablets, despite not knowing what the dosage amount on the patient’s drugs chart meant and then using colours instead of the drug names to describe the tablets.

The nurse assisting her said in a statement ‘she did not know the pink tablets were Depakote. They could have been anything’.

A panel at the Nursing and Midwife Council (NMC) heard how the Romanian nurse admitted she did not understand drugs and that was the reason she was being supervised.

Concerns had also been raised at SWFT about her communication skills when speaking to staff, patients and relatives. Patients had also commented on her ‘lack of English’ and staff were worried the nurse said she understood what they meant, when they were not sure she did.

The trust had offered her extra English language lessons and insisted she take a test, which she failed to do for three months.

In March 2017 she was suspended pending an investigation, due to lack of insight and the risk she posed to patient safety due to lack of clinical skills.

The NMC has now suspended her for 12 months during which time she must improve her language skills and knowledge, and says after that time the order will be reviewed.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “There was no thought for the patient or any consideration of the potential risk of harm to the patient’s safety through her actions.

“Miss Padararu’s English language test shows clearly she is not competent in the English language which impacts on her ability to practise safely.

“She did not have the knowledge and skills to work in a clinical setting as she had never done so, as Miss Padararu had done her training in care homes in Romania.”

A spokesman from SWFT said: “We have robust procedures in place for when concerns are raised about the performance of a member of staff to ensure the safety of our patients. We followed the necessary processes and the individual is no longer employed by the organisation.”

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