A nurse has been censured and ordered to pay $21,000 in costs for a romantic involvement she had with the husband of a woman she was treating in hospital.

The nurse, whose name was suppressed, was also suspended for six months but that ban was suspended for 12 months. During that time, the nurse has to employ a supervisor at her own expense.

The ruling from the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal followed a hearing of a charge against the nurse of professional misconduct.

She was charged after a woman was admitted to the hospital where the nurse worked. The nurse met the woman's husband at a function outside the hospital and a relationship developed.

In its ruling the tribunal said it did not accept the nurse recognised and took responsibility for her improper conduct.

It also said the message must also be given to others in the nursing profession that it was "wrongful conduct amounting to misconduct for a nurse to have a relationship of intimacy with the spouse or partner of a patient in circumstances such as this."

The penalty was to help convey those messages, punish the nurse for her behaviour and convey to her and other members of the nursing profession the standards which the tribunal said should be met.

The nurse was also banned from working at an institution where the patient was being treated.

The tribunal said during the suspended suspension if there was a complaint, concern, issue or disciplinary process against her the six-month suspension could be imposed.

During the hearing the nurse said she did not believe her relationship with the man would have affected his wife's care or rehabilitation.

The hearing was also told the nurse had spoken to others about the relationship and that she was not taking advantage of him.

- NZPA