Margaret Haywood worked undercover on the Panorama documentary
A nurse who secretly filmed to reveal the neglect of elderly patients at a hospital has been found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary hearing.
Margaret Haywood, 58, filmed at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton for a BBC Panorama programme in July 2005.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled she prioritised the filming and did not fulfil her obligations as a nurse.
But the chair of the panel, Linda Read, said she did so "to protect and support the health of individual patients".
Possible sanctions will be decided by the panel when it reconvenes on Thursday.
Ms Read said: "She followed the behest of the filmmakers... rather than her obligations as a nurse.
"There was a conflict of interests here and the registrant followed her role as a person engaged by the Panorama programme rather than her duties as a nurse.
"She says she was justified in carrying out the filming and breaching patient confidentiality because of the awful conditions on the ward.
"The panel is sensible to the fact that there may be instances where disclosure of confidential information may be essential to protect a patient from significant harm."
She added: "The panel has concluded that, for it to be essential for the registrant to breach confidential information, she must first have exhausted all other avenues of addressing the inadequacies on the ward."
Ms Haywood had admitted breaching patient confidentiality but denied her fitness to practise had been impaired.
House of Commons
Ms Haywood, of Liverpool, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years, had previously helped the BBC in an advisory role with a film about carers in 2003.
At the fitness to practise hearing on Tuesday, programme producer Elizabeth Bloor said there was "an over-arching public interest" to produce the Undercover Nurse documentary because Panorama had received up to 5,000 complaints about conditions.
She told the panel that questions had been asked in the House of Commons about the issues investigated, and the Royal College of Nursing did research into dignity on hospital wards in the wake of its broadcast.
In November the panel found there was no case to answer on two other charges which Ms Haywood had originally faced.
It found no evidence that she broke the NHS Trust's policy on whistle-blowing by raising concerns about patient care in the documentary, or that she failed to assist colleagues when a patient was having a seizure.