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Praise the ward! Nurse back after Bible woes

KIND AND CARING: Sarah Kuteh is once more allowed to work as a nurse, after winning a legal battle following the imposition of restrictions on her work after offering a patient her own Bible

A CHRISTIAN nurse who was dismissed from her job for talking to her patients and giving one a Bible was recently given the allclear by the Nursery and Midwifery Board to start practising again as a nurse.

Sarah Kuteh, a nurse with 15 years’ experience, was formerly employed by Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

As part of her work, she routinely asked patients about their faith as part of an assessment prior to their surgery. Occasionally, this would lead to a conversation about faith with the patient.

Sarah would see around 30 to 40 patients a week, and over the course of six months spoke to hundreds.

It was never Sarah’s intention to impose her faith on others, rather she would sometimes share how Christianity helped her overcome adversity.

“I would...reassure them, based on the joy and peace that I really have found in Jesus,” she said.

Following her dismissal in 2016 the hospital also brought a case questioning Sarah’s “fitness to practise” as a nurse before the regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

But in a judgment delivered on July 26, the NMC panel unanimously ruled that Sarah Kuteh was fully fit to practise and “it is in the public interest to return an otherwise experienced and competent nurse into practise”, as it revoked all restrictions with immediate effect.

Sarah, a mother of three, was elated. She shared: “I didn’t expect to be sacked so I was shocked. This means so much to me because I can go back to the profession I love.”

This verdict concludes a twoyear legal battle where Sarah fought for her professional future. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Sarah engaged eminent barrister Jonathan Storey to represent her.

Although Sarah found a new job in a nursing home, she was only allowed to work as a nurse subject to conditions imposed by the NMC, including close supervision by a more senior nurse. In a statement presented to the NMC panel, Sarah’s supervisor praised her as “a kind, caring, honest, friendly nurse” and “a valuable member of the team”. Another colleague described her as “respectful to both service users and colleagues” and wrote that she “always acts professionally while on duty”.

At the hearing, Sarah conceded that giving her personal Bible to a patient back in 2016 was “going too far” and “crossing professional boundaries”, and she should have used a Bible from the hospital chaplaincy instead. “We have been very impressed by your insight,” panel chairman Adrian Smith told Sarah before handing down the decision vindicating her professional credentials.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented: “We are delighted that Sarah Kuteh is once again able to practise nursing without restrictions.

“But for the question on the pre-op assessment questionnaire, these conversations would not have taken place. Without proper investigation, she was fired and her long career as a nurse put under threat.

“Those who know Sarah recognise what a caring, hardworking nurse she is, and the professionalism she brings to her job.

“Although it’s disappointing that she was ever penalised for her actions – which were wholly motivated by compassion – we rejoice that Sarah is once again free to bring her skill and expertise to her role as a nurse.”

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