A nurse has had their registration cancelled and been ordered to pay $30,000 after they hugged and kissed a “vulnerable” patient.

In a decision released by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal today, the misconduct occurred over two nights and left the female patient feeling uncomfortable and upset.

The nurse, who has interim name suppression, entered the woman’s room after she rang her bell asking to be assessed by a doctor due to her pain.

The nurse told her this could not happen and the doctor did not want her medication changed. When she became upset, the nurse asked if he could hug her.

As he pulled out of the hug, he kissed her on the side of her neck or on her cheek. The woman does not remember which, the tribunal found.

The woman wondered whether she had misinterpreted what had happened and that
the kiss was an accident. She told the tribunal “the whole thing felt weird”.

A month later, the woman was admitted to hospital again. Throughout the night, the same nurse carried out observations and entered the woman’s room at 6am. He hugged her which reportedly made her feel “awkward”.

At the end of the hug, he asked if he could kiss her, which he did on the mouth.

The woman described it as “not a platonic kiss” and he went on to kiss her a second time.

The nurse left the room and the woman became upset and was crying. She needed pain relief but was too scared to ring in case he answered.

In its decision, the tribunal said the woman was in a vulnerable position and suffering considerable pain.

The nurse admitted to hugging the patient but denied that he kissed her and the other aspects of the charges but the tribunal found the claims to be true.

“The Tribunal was satisfied that the nurse’s professional misconduct, both separately and cumulatively, amounted to malpractice and had brought and is likely to bring discredit to the profession,” it said.

The nurse has had his registration cancelled, and ordered to pay half of the tribunal costs amounting to $30,000.

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