Sacked East Lancashire nurse can still work

Blackburn Citizen: Philippa Ralph Philippa Ralph

A NURSE who was cleared of leaving seriously ill babies wearing soiled nappies and covered in vomit can continue working, a panel has ruled.

However Philippa Ralph, who is in her mid-20s, will have to complete at least 200 hours of training before being allowed to work as a nurse.

She faced seven separate misconduct charges from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after being sacked from the neonatal intensive care unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital in 2008.

An NMC conduct and competence committee, which sat in Lancaster, decided there was no case to answer in relation to the most serious allegations, but found against her on two charges.

These included an incident where a baby boy started ‘turning blue’ after Miss Ralph took him off nasal continuous positive airway pressure — which keeps the windpipe open during sleep and prevents episodes of blocked breathing.

Miss Ralph, who has been given a conditions of practice order for 15 months, admitted being ‘too cocky’ during her probation period at the hospital, and failed to see that ‘theoretical knowledge was not the same as practical application’.

A report of the panel’s findings added: “The panel noted that you now feel confident ‘but hopefully not too confident’ that you can apply the lessons learned from this experience to your future development.

“The panel accepted that you have matured and that you would approach nursing from a different perspective if you now returned to practice.”

Miss Ralph was also found to have attempted to weigh a baby when it was wrapped in clothes, rather than weighing it when it was naked, and needed prompting to wrap a baby in a blanket when its temperature was low.

She was cleared of five charges due to lack of evidence, including leaving babies wearing wet clothes, soiled nappies and covered in vomit, and inserting a feeding tube into an infant’s stomach when it was already full.

The conditions of practice order means Miss Ralph will have to complete and pass an NMC-approved ‘return to practice programme’, and notify any future employer of the order, among other conditions.

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