Hospice nurse put photo of colleague on bedpan on Facebook
A NURSE from the Swansea Valley has been banned from working for six months for breaking rules about using Facebook - including a photograph of a colleague sitting on a bedpan.
Allison Hopton, 39, of Ystalyfera, Swansea, put a series of “wholly inappropriate” postings on Facebook such as saying a student nurse would be a “bitch”.
She apologised for using Facebook during her work at the hospice caring for terminally ill youngsters - believing it would only be seen by her 380 friends.
But a disciplinary hearing was told that an investigation found 45 pages of inappropriate comments including sex, drinking and derogatory remarks.
Nurse Mrs Hopton faced five charges at a disciplinary hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The council’s solicitor Tim Horder said: “An investigation found 45 Facebook pages with frequent sexual references, references to drinking and derogatory postings about her workplace and her job.
“Nurses have to uphold a reputation of professionalism at all times.
“Nurse Hopton’s conduct has been wholly unacceptable and is in breach of what is expected of her, in particular in the case of patients and the families of patients.
“You have to put yourself in their shoes and think how they would view the comments.”
The hearing was told Mrs Hopton wrote several expletive-ridden posts which contained “sexual references, references to drinking, and derogatory postings about her workplace”.
She also posted a photograph of a colleague sitting on a bed pan in the hospice on the social networking site.
Mr Horder said: “Everything posted online, even with the strictest of privacy settings, is public.
“These postings were wholly inappropriate.
“These are comments a proper nurse would not have made in front of parents of patients and the fact they were made in public on a networking site amounts to the same thing.”
Mrs Hopton was dismissed from her job at the Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice, near Sully, Cardiff.
She told the hearing: “I would find it difficult to explain how much this has affected me and my family.
“I wish I could go back in time and change everything. I have definitely reflected on this and changed my attitude.
“I have always given my best as a nurse, given 110 per cent.”
The hearing in Cardiff was told guidelines about using social networking sites had been posted in the staffroom with instructions for everyone to read.
Mrs Hopton maintained she thought her postings were only being seen by her 380 friends on Facebook.
An NMC statement said: “Mrs Hopton’s profile page stated that she was a nurse at Ty Hafan. On her wall there were numerous comments and conversations posted by Mrs Hopton and her friends.
“All these comments were accessible to the public.
“Mrs Hopton used a number of profanities on her Facebook page and made direct and indirect references to the hospice.
“The panel was mindful of the vulnerable nature of those in her care and the sensitivity that would need to be applied to the families of patients at the hospice and the wider public.
“The guidance clearly states: ‘Presume that everything you post online will be public and will be shared’.
“Her comments on Facebook had been wholly inappropriate and had undoubtedly called into question her judgment and integrity.”
The NMC hearing in Cardiff said the public rightly expected nurses to act in such a way as to “uphold public confidence in the profession”.
The panel ordered she serve a six-month suspension and said she knew about NMC guidelines on using social networking sites.