A 'HOPELESS' nurse who was so prone to blunders her bosses were afraid to let her treat patients on her own, a misconduct hearing was told.
Judith Broadbent, 56, sparked a string of complaints from patients for leaving bandages agonisingly tight, failing to spot dangerous medical conditions and giving people medicines they were allergic to, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
The 'dizzy' nurse wore out terminally ill patients by chattering about herself when she was supposed to be treating them, the disciplinary panel was told.
She also broke the rule of patient confidentiality by contacting a sick woman's family against her wishes.
Broadbent failed to turn up at today's central London hearing but the council could find her guilty of incompetence and strike her off the register of qualified nurses in her absence.
Clare Strickland, for the NMC, told the panel Broadbent was working as a D-grade community nurse in Golcar when her supervisors first started to doubt her competence.
Broadbent, who qualified as a nurse in 1981, was employed by Huddersfield Central NHS Primary Care Trust in 2002 when Dawn Gordon became her new team leader, the panel heard.
Giving evidence today, Ms Gordon told the hearing: "At first I just thought she was a little bit dizzy. There were little mistakes that kept cropping up."
She said a patient had complained to Broadbent that a bandage on his leg was too tight but she failed to remove it.
When the dressing was removed later it had left a 7sq cm bruise, said Ms Gordon.
On another occasion a terminal cancer patient complained that Broadbent's prattle was driving her to distraction, the panel heard.
Ms Gordon said: "She spoke about herself. She is very friendly but it wasn't always appropriate. It was a distraction and it detracted from what she was doing."
On another occasion Broadbent kept on applying a skin cream to another patient even after a specialist had ruled out using the medicine due to a suspected allergic reaction.
Another serious complaint surfaced when a patient found out Broadbent had been discussing her medical problems with a relative against her wishes.
"It was soon after that she went off work with stress," said Ms Gordon.
Despite taking long-term sick leave Broadbent was eventually judged to be well enough to attend a disciplinary hearing.
The trust's bosses decided to send her to Calderdale Primary Care Trust for a six-week supervised placement in May 2004 to get an independent opinion.
Within weeks Broadbent had made up two more serious blunders.
She checked an elderly patient's blood pressure, but failed to tell the man's GP the reading was dangerously high.
And when sent to treat a patient with a number of ulcers on his right leg, she failed to notice the condition had spread to his left leg as well.
Miss Strickland said Broadbent's Calderdale supervisors had concluded that she "lacked concentration and needed a very high degree of supervision and support".
Broadbent resigned in June, 2004.
She is charged with failing to demonstrate the standards of knowledge, skill and judgement required to practise without supervision as a D-grade community nurse between July 2002 and June 2004.
Broadbent is further charged with failing to demonstrate she was capable of working safely in the community without supervision between October 2003 and February 2004 and on two occasions in May 2004.
She is not represented and could be struck off if found guilty.
The hearing continues.