A nurse who lied about morphine stock levels and tried to cover her tracks at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) has been allowed to return to work.
Sumana Ojha was suspended from practising after “failing to demonstrate the standards of knowledge, skill and judgement” required for the role.
Last year she appeared before a panel of the Nursing And Midwifery Council (NMC) which determined she was unfit to practise.
She faced a number of charges dating from 2016 and 2017, which she either admitted or were found proven by the panel.
The suspension order she was given as a result is due to expire next month and will be replaced with conditions on her practice – allowing her to return to the workforce.
The NMC said, in November 2016, Ms Ojha had signed a document to say she had given a patient insulin, when she had not.
The following month she administered the medication Sando-K, rather than Phosphate Sandoz.
Both items have been recognised as confusing in the past, including by medical journals, due to their similar names, “almost identical” shapes and packaging.
On May 18 2017, Ms Ojha did not sign a document to confirm she had administered doses of painkillers oxycodone and fentanyl.
And in June that year she made a “false entry” in the controlled drugs register about the amount of morphine sulphate available to “cover up a discrepancy”.
At the hearing, the NMC recognised the incidents were “somewhat historical,” as Ms Ojha has not practised as a registered nurse since 2018.
It also noted she had completed some online training and appeared to be genuinely remorseful.
‘Working under stress’
Ms Ojha told the panel she had been working in a stressful environment and “panicked” when she saw entries in the drugs register were incorrect.
But as she gave her account, there were times she “appeared to panic and become somewhat incoherent.”
Concerns were raised she had not put in place any coping mechanisms, and would be likely to again “act dishonestly” if a similar high-pressure situation was to arise at work.
Six months on, a further NMC hearing has taken place to review Ms Ojha’s case.
Laura Bowen, who represented the nurse, said she had been unable to find work in the care sector and was now in an administrative role.
She said her client is “committed to return to nursing” and intends to enrol on a refresher course and a session on drug administration.
Four reflective essays were also submitted on her behalf, which the panel felt showed she had “developed insight” into her actions.
But, in one of them, she again confused the names of two medications – which the panel feared could lead to another mix-up when administering drugs.
Ms Ojha, who now lives in England, has had a number of conditions imposed on her registration for the next 18 months, including that she must be supervised when giving medication.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “We note the decision of the NMC panel.
“The individual in question no longer works for NHS Grampian.”