Nurse cautioned for falling asleep on duty

A SOUTH Yorkshire nurse has been let off with a caution after she fell asleep while caring for a vulnerable patient, a professional misconduct panel heard.

Stephanie Atkinson was caught sleeping on the night-shift at Parklands Nursing Home in Wombwell, Barnsley, the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

Fellow care assistant Carly Jordan said on the night of November 21, 2008, she responded to a buzzer set off by a patient to whom Atkinson was meant to be providing one-to-one care. She saw Atkinson asleep in a chair and the patient crawling on the floor. Another care assistant, Hannah Snowdon, threw a glass of water in the nurse’s face to wake her up.

Atkinson denied the allegation, insisting the water was thrown in her face as a ‘joke’ - but the panel said Atkinson’s version of events was ‘improbable’ and found her guilty of falling asleep on duty.

The panel of three people, chaired by Simon Evans, said sleeping on duty was a ‘serious breach’ of trust, with the potential for causing harm. But they accepted it to be ‘an isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished nursing career of 16 years’.

Atkinson received a four-year caution.