Blackburn nurse stole cigarettes from care home residents
11:25am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A BUPA nurse caught stealing care home residents' cigarettes has been banned for six months.
Regina Privonitz was caught out after a colleague spotted her puffing on 'Windsor' and 'Silk' brands - which two of the elderly folk were known to smoke.
The senior sister at the Old Gates Residential and Nursing Home, Blackburn, then watched Privonitz walk into the office, open a locked cupboard and pop two fags into her cardigan pockets.
During an internal investigation with the home's manager on 27 October 2011, Privonitz admitted stealing cigarettes from the vulnerable residents on more than one occasion.
Cash-strapped Privonitz claimed she had previously tried to give up smoking but had failed to do so.
She was working additional shifts and suffering from health problems making it increasingly difficult for her to cope, the hearing was told.
But Krystle Fonyonga, for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said Privonitz's actions were not a momentary lapse of judgement but a serious breach of her position of trust.
She told the panel that Privonitz is liable to act dishonestly in the future.
NMC panel chairman John Matharu said: “The panel considered that honesty is the bedrock of the nursing profession and the patients that you serve must be able to have trust and confidence in the nursing profession.
“The panel considered that the charges are serious in that you took cigarettes belonging to vulnerable residents, from a locked cupboard, for your own personal use on several occasions.
“The panel considered this to be a serious breach of your position of trust, particularly as you were the nurse in charge of the shift on 24 October 2011,” he said.
Privonitz, who attended the hearing and was represented, admitted the allegations of stealing cigarettes.
The panel found her fitness to practice impaired and handed her a six-month suspension order.
Comments are closed on this article.