Nurse felt it was her ‘right’ to bully patient

A nurse at Newmarket Community Hospital felt it was her ‘right’ to bully a patient because she was being demanding, a tribunal has heard.

Brenda Mcdonald allegedly told the woman patient at the Exning Road hospital, ‘don’t turn the water works on with me’. And she was overheard challenging the patient: ‘Why are you not helping me more? Why don’t you help us’, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Mcdonald then roughly handled her and shoved her legs into a hoist on the morning shift of July 5 2011.

Patient A would demand help when she used the toilet and seek more general assistance than other patients, but Mcdonald was caught speaking to her in an ‘unnecessarily raised voice and using language in an accusatory manner’ the panel heard.

Nick Smith-Howell, who investigated the allegations, told the tribunal that Mcdonald admitted her tone could be perceived as threatening during an interview on August 3, 2011.

“I was concerned at the registrant’s lack of insight into her actions when I questioned her regarding the incident. The registrant freely admitted that it was her manner to be direct with people, she did not see what the issue was with her challenging a demanding patient,’ he said. “She seemed to feel that because Patient A was a challenging patient she had the right to be challenging back.”

Mr Smith-Howell said he had explored issues that may have provided mitigating reasons why Mcdonald was abusive to the patient, but failed to find any good reason.

“I think it was that general lack of insight, having readily accepted that that style of communication could be intimidating, particularly with vulnerable groups, and could be considered as bullying, she didn’t seem to think that the style she presented was something she needed to concern herself with,’ he explained. “I don’t think she felt that she needed to change her behaviour.”

Mcdonald, who is not present at the tribunal in London, has made no admissions to the charges that she was verbally abusive towards Patient A or that she handled her in a rough manner. If the panel find the allegations against the nurse proved, she could face suspension or being struck off the register. The hearing continues.