The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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Dip in Cardiovascular Disease, Dip in Women's Health, Dip in Infectious Diseases, RGN
I qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1981 and started my career working on an acute medical ward. I then worked and studied at an infectious disease unit and undertook a Diploma in this area before becoming a staff nurse for the radiology department. Whilst raising my family I worked as an agency nurse on a variety of medical and surgical hospital wards prior to returning to regular nursing in 2000. From 2000 until 2010 I worked as a staff nurse in the Spire Hospital in Hastings, gaining experience of the private sector. I also was employed at the Conquest Hospital cardiology department between 2003 and 2005 where I developed my skills in cardiology. In 2007 I moved both into general practice as a practice nurse for three days a week along with school nursing in a boarding school. I stopped school nursing in 2013, and now work only in general practice, four days a week
As a practice nurse, my main responsibilities are setting up and running chronic disease clinics for regular patient monitoring in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes management and performing and interpreting spirometry. I advise on contraception, undertake cervical cytology and sexual health management. I run a childhood vaccination clinic and see babies and children of all ages. Phlebotomy, ear syringing and administering and interpreting electrocardiograms are all part of my daily clinic lists. I also advise on lipid management. I triage minor injuries on a regular basis and am confident in treating minor wounds and recognising when patients need referring to the local hospital for further treatment. I assess and treat patients of all ages with minor illnesses. In addition, I treat and dress both chronic and post-operative wounds, and remove sutures and clips. My other responsibilities include the administration of a variety of prescribed and travel vaccinations, implementing yearly influenza clinics, giving general health education including lifestyle advice, well person clinics and weight management. I work with a GP who undertakes minor surgery in house. I assist with these procedures and have developed a knowledge of skin conditions and the early detection of skin cancers from this experience.
I have recently had experience of doing ward rounds in a local nursing home. My role was to assess and diagnose medical problems that arose in that environment. This role encompassed physical assessment and examinations, which I now do on a daily basis in primary care, delegated by the GPs, as my role has become more extended in general practice. I have considerable experience in delivering the Covid vaccination programme in my locality.
I became a Justice of the Peace in 1990. I have worked largely in adult criminal courts, but I also have experience on the Family Panel too. I qualified as a chairperson in 1998. I am familiar with the court environment, and often consider expert witness reports with relation to cases that I sit on. I have been a magistrate appraiser and have sat on the selection panel for new magistrates.
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 the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.