The RVN Disciplinary Committee of
the RCVS has removed an Armagh-based nurse from the Register after finding that she'd entered the details of four injections into clinical records when she
had no reasonable basis for doing so.
During the four-day hearing, the Committee considered two
alternative charges against Ms Tracy Nicholl (nee Wilson) relating to her
actions on 3 February 2011, whilst employed by O'Reilly & Fee veterinary
Ms Nicholl was alleged by the College to have administered
Dolethal, a pink liquid containing pentabarbitone and used for euthanasia, to a
dog called Butch without being directed to do so. It was also alleged that she
had made dishonest entries into the dog's clinical records, or had administered
drugs without a veterinary surgeon's prescription.
Ms Nicholl was alleged to have administered the Dolethal
via a fluid bag and giving set on the morning of 3 February, which she denied.
The Committee found that, although a veterinary surgeon believed that she saw
pink fluid in the line, uncertainties in the surrounding circumstances made the
Committee unable to be sure the line contained pink liquid. Expert and forensic
evidence revealed Butch had received Dolethal, but not the route of
administration or the timing. Therefore the Committee could not be sure Ms
Nicholl administered the Dolethal and dismissed this charge.
However, the Committee found that Ms Nicholl did enter on
Butch's clinical records that four drugs had been injected, when she had
neither administered them nor been told that the drugs had been administered.
Although she denied making the entries in evidence submitted to the hearing, in
evidence from an interview with the College on 11 July 2011 she had admitted
this and her initials were on the record entries.
The Committee noted these injections would be chargeable,
and was satisfied the public would regard making these incorrect entries as
dishonest. As Ms Nicholl was a highly experienced, senior nurse who also
lectured to veterinary nursing students, the Committee was sure she knew she
was acting dishonestly. Further, she had breached her responsibilities to
clients by failing to maintain accurate case records, and the entries raised
potential animal welfare issues. In mitigation, her actions affected no
animal's actual welfare, and there was no evidence that Ms Nicholl had made any
financial gain or repeated her conduct.
Judith Webb, chairing and speaking on behalf of the Committee, said: "In addition to the fact that the charge involved
dishonesty, there were a number of other aggravating features. The
Respondent has not demonstrated any recognition of the seriousness of the
record entry allegation, specifically the importance of keeping proper records
... It is in the wider public interest and to protect the reputation of the
veterinary nursing profession that the Respondent's name should be removed from
Ms Nicholl is the first Registered Veterinary Nurse to be struck off since the introduction of the title.
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