RNs Abraham Thomas and Donna Hayden, and Ms Julie Rumble – Unsatisfactory professional conduct

11 May 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against two registered nurses, Donna Hayden and Abraham Thomas, and an endorsed enrolled nurse, Julie Rumble, before a Nursing and Midwifery Professional Standards Committee. The complaint concerned the nurses’ care of a mental health inpatient at Dubbo Mental Health Inpatient Unit on 28 February 2014. The patient was found deceased by suicide at about 1700 hours but had not been seen out after entering his room at about 1440 hours.

The Commission alleged that Nurse Thomas, was in charge of the morning shift and failed to observe the patient as frequently as the patient’s psychiatrist had ordered throughout the day. The Commission also alleged that he failed to clarify for his and any other nurses’ benefit, any confusion he may have held about how frequently the patient should be monitored. The Commission also alleged he recklessly signed the patient’s observation chart incorrectly at 1500 hours, when in fact he did not observe the patient and therefore created a misleading entry.  On 28 April 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Professional Standards Committee found all allegations against Nurse Thomas proved and ordered that he be reprimanded. The Committee ordered that for at least 12 months Nurse Thomas, not be in charge of a shift or work by himself and he must undergo mentoring.

The Commission alleged that Nurse Hayden, who commenced her shift at about 1330 hours and from about 1500 hours was the nurse in charge of shift, failed to observe the patient as frequently as the patient’s psychiatrist had ordered for approximately two hours. The Commission also alleged that she failed to clarify for her and Nurse Rumble’s benefit, any confusion she may have held about how frequently the patient should be monitored. The Commission alleged that Nurse Hayden knowingly signed the patient’s observation chart incorrectly at 1500 hours, when in fact she did not observe the patient at that time and therefore created a misleading entry.  The Committee found all allegations against Nurse Hayden proved and ordered that she be reprimanded.  As Nurse Hayden is not presently registered in the nursing profession, the Committee ordered that should she return to nursing, Nurse Hayden must undergo further education in mental health nursing, and for at least 24 months is not be in charge of a shift, work by herself, or work through an agency, and must only work under supervision. 

The Commission alleged that Nurse Rumble, who commenced her shift in the area the patient was in at about 1530 hours, failed to observe the patient as frequently as the patient’s psychiatrist had ordered for approximately two hours.   The Commission also alleged that she failed to clarify any confusion she may have held about how frequently the patient should be monitored.  The Commission alleged that Nurse Rumble knowingly signed the patient’s observation chart incorrectly at 1515, 1530 and 1545 hours, when in fact she did not observe the patient at those times and by doing so she created a misleading entry.  The Committee found all allegations against Nurse Rumble proved and ordered that she be reprimanded.  As Nurse Rumble is not presently registered in the nursing profession, the Committee ordered that should she return to nursing, Nurse Rumble must undergo further education in mental health nursing, and for at least 24 months must not have any supervisory responsibilities, work by herself, or work through an agency, and must only work under supervision.

Further Information

The Nursing and Midwifery Professional Standards Committee’s decision is attached

The decision can also be found on the Austlii website

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.