Jill Watkins – Registered Nurse – Professional misconduct – Registration cancelled

18 May 2021

The Health Care Complaints Commission (“the Commission”) prosecuted a complaint against registered nurse Jill Watkins before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“the Tribunal”).  The complaint alleged failure to undertake observations and falsification of records regarding a 49 year old indigenous male patient who was found deceased in the Acute Mental Health Unit of a hospital in Sydney (“the Hospital”) at the end of a night shift in May 2017. The patient had a recent history of suicide attempts and nurses were required to observe him every 30 minutes during the night shift.

Ms Watkins was the most junior member of the nursing team.   The complaint alleged that she recorded that the patient was sleeping at three times when she did not see him and at another two other times when she did not go into his room and did not properly assess whether he was alive.  The complaint also alleged that she failed to record significant information in his clinical notes about his mental state.

On 11 May 2021, the Tribunal found the complaint proven and Ms Watkins was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.  The Tribunal remarked that while “Ms Watkins was the most junior registered nurse on the night shift, [she] worked in an acute mental health unit where all of her patients were vulnerable and dependent upon proper nursing care for their welfare”. 

The Tribunal stated that it would have cancelled Ms Watkins’ registration had she still been registered and imposed an 18 month non-review period during which time she is unable to seek reregistration.

The full decision is available at NSW Caselaw.

Further Information

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

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