Mental health nurse played ‘chappy’ on door of vulnerable patient with paranoia

A mental health nurse from Edinburgh has admitted playing ‘chappy’ on the door of a patient with paranoia.

Douglas Masson, a nurse at Royal Edinburgh Hospital, was handed a caution order by the nursing watchdog after they heard he knocked on the vulnerable man’s door and then hid in September 2019.

Masson, who has practised for more than 30 years, was found to have put the patient at risk of “psychological and/or emotional harm” and “ought to have known better.”

The patient – referred to as Patient A – suffered from paranoia along with other mental health conditions and had been admitted to the hospital in November 2017.

A hospital ward

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard that Mr Masson recognised it was “not the best thing to do”, that it was out of character and a “matter of poor judgement”.

He was found to have shown “genuine remorse” for his actions, apologised to Patient A and had training after the incident.

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Mr Masson was also accused of telling the user “you won’t be getting out of here, you are delusional” ahead of their tribunal hearing.

But this charge was not proven as a statement from the patient was found to be “vague and inconsistent” and “contradictory”.

The NMC’s said: “The panel considered that you should have known that Patient A was vulnerable. You were an experienced mental health nurse and were familiar with Patient A and his particular care needs.

“The panel was of the view that, although a one-off, your actions were a serious misjudgement and fell well below the standard of clinical care that Patient A should have received,

and therefore amounted to misconduct.

Patients and their families must be able to trust nurses with their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

“To justify that trust, nurses must make sure that their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession.

His lawyer said it would be ‘a complete exaggeration to say that the conduct undermined the reputation of the nursing profession.

The panel gave him a two-year caution order which means any employer will be on notice that his fitness to practice was found impaired. The notice will be removed after the two-year period.

NHS Lothian was contacted for comment.