A nurse who made a KKK hood out of a paper napkin at a staff Christmas party has been suspended for six months.
William Malcolm cut eye-and-mouth-holes out of the serviette for the ‘racially offensive’ stunt while at the Liberty Brown Pizza House, Bar and Grill in Timber Beach Road, Sunderland, back in December 2012.
He then asked a friend to take pictures of him while he stood next to a black colleague.
His colleague - who was the only black person at the Christmas bash - was so offended he snatched the napkin from Malcolm’s face and stormed out in disgust.
Malcolm, who was working as a registered mental health nurse for Northumberland Tyne and Wear Foundation NHS Trust at the time, repeatedly apologised but was suspended and later dismissed.
A Nursing & Midwifery Council panel concluded his behaviour did amount to misconduct and that his fitness to practice is impaired.
Panel chair John Weeden said: ‘Whilst the panel recognised this was an isolated incident, the panel considered that your actions were racially offensive and fell far below the standards expected of a registered nurse.
“You accepted in evidence that your colleagues were horrified at your behaviour.
“The panel considered that he only reasonable interpretation of your conduct is that you were making a reference to the Ku Klux Klan and the extremist views of that organisation.
“In your evidence you were insistent that you did not know why you had done what you did beyond saying you were very drunk at the time.
“Whilst the panel accept that you have expressed remorse for your actions and that you have abstained from alcohol since the incident and will continue to do so in the future, it recognised that this is a case involving a serious lack of judgment and the panel considered misconduct of this nature difficult to remediate.”
The panel concluded there was no risk of Malcolm behaving this way again in future but decided it was in the public interest find him unfit to practice.
Malcolm now works part time as a driver for a funeral director and as a mental health nurse at Conifer Lodge private care home in Sunderland.
Malcolm was given 28 days to appeal against the decision.