'Every second counts': Glasgow nurse sanctioned after cardiac arrest blunder

·2-min read
Glasgow Royal Infirmary where the nurse was employed
Glasgow Royal Infirmary where the nurse was employed

A Glasgow nurse who told colleagues she had “a lot of experience” failed to recognise that a man had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Julie Ann Walker did not call for help when she found a patient grey and unresponsive in a ward at the city’s Royal Infirmary.

Instead she left the room and approached colleagues “with a lack of urgency” saying the patient “was a funny colour”.

Every minute that CPR or use of a defibrillator is delayed reduces the chance of survival from a cardiac arrest by 10%.

Another nurse had to intervene to press the emergency buzzer. A panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) did not believe her assertion that she could not reach the button because chairs and equipment were blocking her path.

The panel said her response to a “clearly deteriorating patient” fell significantly short of expected standards.

The report does not disclose if the patient came to harm as a result of the delay.

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A total of 15 charges against the nurse were proved including failing to carry out adequate post-operative observations on a patient, placing them at “significant risk of harm.”

One former colleague told the inquiry she did not like working with the nurse “because there was always a sense of unease”. She said she would “question things I would expect a nurse should know.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said Ms Walker was no longer employed by the board. The inquiry was told she has been working for an agency for the past three years.

The charges arose while she was employed by the board as a bank nurse and working in wards 61 and 63 between September 29 2017 and October 4 2017.

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One former colleague said: “Julie stated she had a lot of experience and I remember thinking if this was this case, she would not be asking questions I would expect from a student nurse.

“The most basic things were not being followed by Julie – she was not able to follow even when I was prompting her and giving her assistance.”

The nurse has been given a condition of practice order lasting 18 months, which means she will be required to satisfy regulators that she can work safely before she can work without supervision.

The panel said a suspension or striking-off order would be disproportionate given that she had fully engaged with this regulatory process and had already completed additional training in areas related to her misconduct.