Nurse Fired for Talking about Faith with Patients

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: August 31, 2016

A Christian nurse was fired for "gross misconduct" by the NHS for talking to her patients about her faith and occasionally offering prayer to help them prepare for surgery. Part of her job was to help patients complete a questionnaire, which included a question about religion.

Sarah Kuteh, a nursing Sister from Bexley, had 15 years' experience as a nurse. In August, she was investigated and dismissed for "gross misconduct" and referred to the Nurses and Midwives Council (NMC) for disqualification proceedings.   Ms. Kuteh had worked at the Darent Valley Hospital in Kent since 2007 with an excellent record.  She would see on average 50 patients a week, and over the course of six months spoke to over 1000 patients. Sarah said that although she had no intentions of imposing her beliefs on others, she would sometimes tell them about how her own faith in Christ had helped her overcome adversity.   "I would... reassure them, based on the joy and peace that I really have found in the Lord," she said.   In April, her Matron came into her office and said she had been told by other staff about a few complaints by patients that she had discussed religion with them. Sarah said that from then on, she would only discuss religion if the patient asked her to. If they initiated the conversation about religion, Sarah would check they were happy. In June, she was called into the Matron's office and was shocked to be told that three further complaints had been made. Only days later, she was suspended, told to collect her belongings and escorted from the hospital.  Sarah recalls the experience as "embarrassing and very painful", in light of her many years' experience. 
Following a disciplinary hearing in August, Sarah was dismissed with immediate effect, and referred to the Nurses and Midwives Council. She is now facing disqualification proceedings before the NMC. Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, she has brought a claim for unfair dismissal in an Employment Tribunal.   Sources: Christian Concern and Daily Mail