Hospice team ‘shocked and saddened’ after nurse dishonestly took £1,000 donation from a bereaved husband

Hospice nurse took cash donation home

Hospice nurse took cash donation home

The actions of a former St Nicholas Hospice nurse who dishonestly took a £1,000 donation home have been condemned by the charity’s boss.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) struck Carol Bowyer from the nursing register after a hearing found she had taken a donation made by a bereaved husband just hours after his wife died.

Yesterday the chief executive of the Bury St Edmunds-based hospice, which provides end-of-life care, apologised for Bowyer’s actions, but stressed it was an “isolated incident”.

Barbara Gale said: “I am shocked and saddened that someone we thought was a good nurse who we trusted has let us down in this way.

“The donor was proud to give us a donation in memory of his wife and trusted a member of staff with that donation. I am so very sorry something went wrong as a result of the actions of this nurse.”

The NMC found that Bowyer had received the donation near the start of her shift on November 28, 2013, but did not hand it over or tell any other member of staff what she had been given.

The missing cash was discovered the next day when the man returned to ask if he could dedicate the donation in his wife’s name.

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Bowyer, after initially denying the existence of the donation, said she later found it at her home on December 3 2013 amongst the dirty laundry and returned the entire sum.

The hearing, which Bowyer declined to attend, rejected the idea that she had “unintentionally” taken the “wad” of 50 £20 notes home.

They believed that as the money was put in her tunic early in her shift, she would have noticed such a large object and the unusual size of the donation was not easily forgotten.

They heard from the husband that he had been “proud” to make the donation, which he and his wife had agreed shortly before her death. He said that the actions of Bowyer had made him “angry” and had come at a time he was trying to grieve and organise a funeral for his wife.

The panel ruled that an “opportunistic but calculated” Bowyer intended to take the donation for her own “personal use” and that her fitness to practice was impaired.

They heard that Bowyer had shown no remorse for the husband, instead accusing her employer of poor treatment and acting like she was a “victim”.

In the wake of the NMC decision, published on Monday, Ms Gale said: “We would like to reassure all the people who raise money for us that this was an isolated incident and it has never happened before.

“We have stringent procedures in place regarding donations and all staff receive guidance on accepting money. The Hospice relies on the support of the community, they trust us so it is especially disappointing to have been let down in this manner.

“The actions of this one nurse was in breach of the trust we placed in her, so we welcome the NMC ruling on the matter.”

Bowyer resigned from her position just before a disciplinary hearing at the hospice was due in 2013. She will be unable to apply to be reinstated as a nurse for a minimum of five years.

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