A Lithuanian-born nurse working in Lincolnshire has been suspended for 12 months to give her time to improve her English speaking skills.
Natalija Sadkeviciene, whose first language is Russian, was found to not have “necessary knowledge of the English language to practise safely and effectively”, in her role as a registered nurse.
A Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing on September 1 concluded that her fitness to practise was impaired as a result of this.
The panel heard that concerns were first raised regarding Ms Sadkeviciene’s knowledge of English on January 11, 2016.
At this time, she was working as a registered nurse at the Jasmine Health Care Nursing Home in Sleaford.
A colleague at the nursing home who made the referral raised question marks over Ms Sadkeviciene’s ability to read and write in English, and understand patients and colleagues when discussing care.
She was concerned about the impact on patient care.
Other colleagues were concerned that Ms Sadkeviciene was not able to communicate with emergency services on her own.
Ms Sadkeviciene’s employment at the home was terminated on February 18, 2016, due to the concerns highlighted above.
She began work as a night nurse at Abbey Court Care Home in Bourne in early March 2016.
In November, she was asked to sit an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assessment.
After completing the assessment in February 2017, she was found to not have sufficient command of the English language to practise safely.
The panel heard that Ms Sadkeviciene is committed to improving her English speaking abilities and pursuing her chosen career in nursing.
A report published by the council said: “Until she demonstrates that her English speaking skills are sufficient, there remains a risk of unwarranted harm to patients in her care, and the ability of those sharing the care of patients with her is compromised if she cannot communicate effectively with them.
“The parties agree that a suspension order for 12 months is the appropriate sanction.
“This is not a case where it is appropriate to take no action; that offers no protection to patients or the public at all, and would not inspire public confidence.
“The panel noted from the appendices to the CPD (Consensual Panel Determination) agreement that Ms Sadkeviciene is committed to improving her English skills and is described by her tutor as ‘a smart and hard-working student… always anxious for improving and developing her skills’.
“The panel considered that a suspension order for a period of 12 months may give Ms Sadkeviciene time to improve her knowledge to the required level.”
An interim suspension order of 18 months has been imposed to cover any appeal period.