Mental health nurse played 'chappy' on paranoid patient's door

Douglas Masson was found to have put the vulnerable patient at risk of psychological and physical harm.

Mental health nurse at Royal Edinburgh Hospital played ‘chappy’ on paranoid patient’s door iStock

An Edinburgh mental health nurse has been given a caution order for playing ‘chappy’ on the door of a patient with paranoia.

Douglas Masson, a nurse at Royal Edinburgh Hospital, was accused of knocking on the door of the patient and then hiding in September 2019.

The service user, dubbed Patient A to protect their anonymity, suffered from various mental health conditions – including paranoia – and had been admitted to the hospital in November 2017.

The mental health nurse, who has practised for 30 years, was found to have put the patient at risk of “psychological and/or emotional harm” by doing so.

Mr Masson was also accused of telling the user “you won’t be getting out of here, you are delusional” ahead of their tribunal hearing on October 2, 2019.

However, this charge was never proven as the patient’s evidence was found to be “vague and inconsistent”.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was told that Mr Masson recognised it was “not the best thing to do”, that it was out of character and a “matter of poor judgement”.

Mr Masson also apologised to Patient A and underwent training after the incident.

The NMC said: “The panel considered that you should have known that Patient A was vulnerable. You were an experienced mental health nurse and were familiar with Patient A and his particular care needs.

“The panel was of the view that, although a one-off, your actions were a serious misjudgement and fell well below the standard of clinical care that Patient A should have received, and therefore amounted to misconduct.

It continued: “Nurses occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and are expected at all times to be professional and to maintain professional boundaries.

“Patients and their families must be able to trust nurses with their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

“To justify that trust, nurses must make sure that their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession.

Since Mr Masson was found to have shown “genuine remorse” for his actions, which he could not explain, the panel gave him a two-year caution order.

Under this, any employer will be on notice that his fitness to practice was found impaired. The notice will be removed after the two-year period, but will remain on record with the NMC.

NHS Lothian has been contacted for comment.

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