The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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DipHE Adult Nursing, BSc (Hons) Community Nursing, PgCert Prescribing, MSc ANP
I qualified as a registered nurse in 2003, and my first staff nurse role was at Newham University Hospital in East London on a rotational programme. I worked on a busy gynaecology ward, an acute admissions unit and then in accident and emergency.
I progressed to a senior staff nurse position in A&E, and duties included coordinating the majors and resus areas, undertaking triage and supporting and mentoring junior staff. During this time, the opportunity to become a project nurse for New Horizon Youth Centre (a homeless youth centre in Kings Cross, London) became available. In this role, I provided individual case management advocacy for clients and developed a highly specialised service for vulnerable young people. I was involved in developing a mental health risk assessment and organising a successful 'health fair', which aimed to promote the local health services and encourage healthy lifestyles. I also established critical working relationships with external NHS agencies and obtained priority referrals for service users.
Alongside the New Horizon Youth Centre role, I also undertook bank work as a staff nurse in sexual health clinics for Camden PCT. My duties included undertaking sexual health screening and treating patients with cryotherapy for HPV infection. Having these clinical skills outside of New Horizon enabled me to maintain skills and apply them when undertaking physical health assessments of clients.
In 2007, I completed the specialist community public health degree and qualified as a school nurse. I took time out to travel to South America and undertook voluntary work teaching English and sexual and reproduction education to children who were part of the internally displaced refugee population in Colombia. I then visited the Amazon rainforest for a month long volunteer placement with a public health clinic.
I obtained a senior school nurse position in Tower Hamlets on my return to the UK. I provided support to and supervised a team of staff nurses, nursery nurses and administrative assistants and managed a caseload of seven schools. In 2012 I commenced training to become an advanced nurse practitioner and embarked on a locum position as the specialist school nurse for the Pupil Referral Units (PRU) in Tower Hamlets.
In 2015, I completed the postgraduate diploma in an advanced nurse practitioner programme and then in 2018; I undertook the dissertation module, which completed the masters degree in advanced practice. Over the past few years, I have consolidated my knowledge and skills as an advanced nurse practitioner working in GP surgeries, Urgent and Emergency Care, Walk-in Centres and Out of Hours services.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.