Prayer row nurse can go back to work
A nurse who was suspended after offering to pray for the recovery of an elderly patient has been asked to return to work.
Caroline Petrie, aged 45, of Weston-super-Mare, was accused of failing to show a commitment to equality and diversity after the incident and was awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
But NHS North Somerset Primary Care Trust, for which Mrs Petrie worked as a bank nurse, said: "NHS North Somerset have contacted bank nurse Caroline Petrie with a view to her returning to work as soon as she feels able. We have always been keen to bring this matter to a timely resolution. It has been a distressing and difficult time for Caroline."
Mrs Petrie, a community nurse who carries out home visits in North Somerset, was suspended after she visited a woman in Winscombe in December.
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She asked: "Would you like me to pray for you?" after putting dressings on her legs and the woman refused. It is believed the patient later raised the issue with senior NHS staff.
Mrs Petrie, a married mother-of-two, was suspended by the primary care trust and faced losing her job.
In its statement, the trust said it was right to investigate concerns but hoped Mrs Petrie would return soon.
It said: "We recognise the concerns raised by the many people who have contacted us about this situation. We feel we were right to investigate the concerns from people about Caroline's actions.
"We are always respectful of our patients' views, and we will always strive to ensure our staff meet professional standards such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct and any policies and procedures which are designed to maintain high standards."
Mrs Petrie previously argued that she had not forced her beliefs on anyone and simply asked if the woman at the centre of the controversy would like a prayer said for her, as she has done with other patients.
The Baptist, who became a Christian 10 years ago after her mother died, said her prayers had real effects on patients, including a Catholic woman whose urine infection cleared up days after she said a prayer.
Mrs Petrie revealed she had been reprimanded over her faith before, when in October last year she gave a homemade prayer card to an elderly patient.
Her husband, Stewart, 48, is a BT engineer and the couple have two sons, aged 14 and 10.