3:10pm Thursday 24th January 2013
By Anna Roberts
A nurse turned off safety alarms and moved bells so that seriously ill and vulnerable patients would not disturb her sleep.
Karen Stirman was meant to be in charge at Victoria Nursing Home in Dyke Road, Hove, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was told.
But when bosses carried out a secret spot check at the care home, they found her partially undressed and “deep asleep” in a makeshift bed.
She had turned off a frail and confused patient’s sensory mat, which would have raised the alarm if the resident had got up.
Another patient who was elderly and immobile was left stranded in bed, unable to move. She had not been turned for five hours.
Stirman had also moved bells out of the reach of patients so that they could not ring for help.
Now she has been banned from the profession for life after the nursing watchdog ruled that her “outrageous” behaviour put patients’ lives at risk.
Fellow staff had raised concerns about Stirman because of the speed with which she completed her rounds to give out medication.
They did not believe that she could be giving medicines out properly and bosses decided to secretly check up on Stirman, who had been a nurse for 30 years.
During the spot check in May, Stirman was found in a deep sleep in bed.
An NMC report said: “The panel heard that Miss Stirman often disabled residents’ call bells or left them out of reach and often unplugged a resident’s sensory mat.
“It was also alleged that Miss Stirman regularly set up a makeshift bed at the home while on duty and would sleep during her night shift.”
The panel said it was likely Stirman, a nurse of 30 years, had slept on duty on other occasions and found her guilty of misconduct.
Stirman was banned from working as a nurse.
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