A nurse convicted of manslaughter will be allowed to practise again but under strict conditions, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has ruled.

The tribunal, which heard the case in Dunedin in February, released its decision yesterday.

The nurse, who has had her name permanently suppressed, had her registration suspended for six months.

If the nurse resumed work, she would have to be tested every six months to address concerns about alcohol use, have her employment approved by the Nursing Council, and provide her employer with a copy of the tribunal's decision.


Tribunal chairwoman Alison Douglass said in its decision a conviction for manslaughter was a significant departure from the standards reasonably expected of a registered nurse and was serious enough to warrant disciplinary sanction

The conviction had not come in the course of the nurse's work, she had been co-operative throughout, showed deep remorse, and was focused on ongoing rehabilitation concerning alcohol use.

"[The nurse] has maintained her professional role and started a new life and regular employment.

"There have been no alcohol-related convictions for seven years or more and she has been co-operative with the Nursing Council under the supervision of the Health Committee."

The nurse had spoken frankly of her court case, relevant previous criminal convictions and ongoing rehabilitation.

The tribunal was satisfied censure and suspension for 18 months would allow the nurse to continue her rehabilitation.

The suspension was then lowered to six months to reflect the fact she had not practised for five years.

The tribunal emphasised its role was not punitive, but to assess whether disciplinary action was needed to protect the public by maintenance of professional standards.


Likewise, it had balanced the need for the public to know the name of the nurse against the desirability of maintaining the privacy of her and her daughter.

"The tribunal is satisfied that public interest factors in this case are outweighed by the desirability of maintaining privacy for [the nurse] and her daughter; her daughter has suffered due to the tragic nature of this case.

"The tribunal considers that an order for permanent suppression and identifying details will support the practitioner in her ongoing efforts to rehabilitate herself and to return to the nursing profession."