UK psych nurse admits to inappropriate relationship with patient

Carmen Leanne Donnelly was working at the Rowanwood unit in Cumwhinton Drive, Carlisle, when the man – identified only as Patient A – was admitted on to the ward, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard yesterday.

Donnelly had attended to the man in a number of one-to-one sessions, but their relationship began after the patient’s discharge from the intensive psychiatric care unit.

David Clark, for the NMC, said: “Patient A was admitted to the unit on November 19, 2010 under compulsory powers and he remained on the ward until his discharge on December 16.

“During the time that patient A was on the unit, he received care from a number of specialists. There is evidence, which the panel will see, that on six separate occasions the registrant provided care for the patient.

“Some of those involved one-to-one sessions with him and those are recorded in his care notes.”

He said that the pair met again in April 2011 – after the patient had been discharged and through a mutual friend – and began a relationship.

Mr Clark added: “There is evidence that on June 8, 2011 the police were called to an incident which occurred at Miss Donnelly’s home address and the patient was present at the time.

“There is further evidence that on the June 25, 2011, Miss Donnelly accompanied [Patient A] to the A&E unit after he had taken a suspected overdose.”

When the pair were met by a psychiatric liaison officer in A&E, Donnelly was referred to as the patient’s girlfriend, Mr Clark said.

Nursing guidelines state that ‘registered nurses and medical officers must very clearly consider whether it is ever appropriate to have anything other than a purely professional relationship with a client or a former client’.

Donnelly, who is attending the hearing, admits the allegation of forming an inappropriate relationship with patient A after his discharge from the Rowanwood unit.

The allegation is that her fitness to practise is impaired by reason of her misconduct.

The hearing in London continues.

Source: “Carlisle nurse had love affair with psychiatric patient,” News & Star, October 9, 2013.

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