'Popularity went to my head' says private school nurse suspended for 'crossing professional boundaries'
PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 10 September 2019
A former lead nurse at the £32,000-a-year Framlingham College invited students back to his flat and let them have his personal phone number, a tribunal heard.
Simeon Law, who worked at the independent boarding school from 2007 until his suspension in 2018, was accused of a series of misconduct allegations between September 2016 and January 2018 at a recent Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing.
He admitted referring to selected students as "favourites", driving one pupil on an 100-mile round trip to a work experience placement alone without prior permission and examining a pupil's penis twice without a chaperone. An independent investigation found no evidence of sexual grooming or potential abuse.
The NMC panel heard Mr Law was highly regarded by pupils and colleagues but had enjoyed his popularity "too much", admitting in a reflective statement: "It went to my head".
Mr Law also admitted:
- Failing to document that a student had been found contemplating suicide
- Allowing another student to stay overnight in the school's medical centre during the holidays
- Failing to refer a pupil to A&E after they dislocated their kneecap
- Buying mugs as presents for selected students and inviting them to a summer picnic.
He was suspended from the school in January 2018 and later resigned.
An independent investigation was launched and found Mr Law had failed to maintain professional boundaries with students.
'Professional boundaries crossed'
When interviewed, Mr Law said he considered "some of the students to be his friends" and referred to selected pupils as his "inner circle".
Richard Webb, for the NMC, told the hearing: "Having favourite students might have impaired [Mr Law's] ability to provide impartial clinical advice and might have prevented other students from seeking his advice.
"Buying students gifts, giving them his personal telephone number and meeting with students in his own flat out of hours are all examples of his inappropriate crossing of professional boundaries."
The panel found Mr Law had put students at unwarranted risk of harm and that his actions amounted to misconduct.
He was suspended from nursing for 12 months.
In a reflective piece presented to the panel, Mr Law said: "I am very repentant for any distress or anxiety that I may have caused with either my patients or the school population due to this investigation, and to the NMC for any potential smears on the profession of nursing."
What did Framlingham College bosses have to say?
A spokesman for Framlingham College said Mr Law ceased employment in July 2018.
When the matter came to its attention, the Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board procedures were immediately followed, and the college liaised with the police, the local authority designated officer and the strategic officer for children and young people's services.
"Following advice from these external agencies, an extensive investigation was conducted by an independent HR consultant," the spokesman said.
"As a result, a referral to the NMC was made.
"An investigation was completed by the NMC and following a consensual panel determination hearing, Mr Law was suspended from nursing for 12 months."
The principal of Framlingham College, Louise North, added: "The safety and welfare of pupils at Framlingham College is paramount.
"When this matter came to our attention, we immediately notified the relevant authorities and instigated an independent investigation.
"Mr Law left our employment in July 2018."