Congratulations to Jessica Thurston, Somek & Associates' Chief Operating Officer and...
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MPhil, BSc, RGN, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1990 and initially worked in Accident & Emergency for 5 years before specialising in Intensive Care Nursing. I have worked in the ITU environment since 1995, initially as a Staff Nurse and rising to a Senior Sister. From November 2004 – November 2014, I worked as a Clinical Nurse Educator in ITU / HDU at the William Harvey Hospital, East Kent Hospitals University Trust. I had responsibility for the development of 40–50 staff of all grades to ensure high standards of care were given, and staff were competent in carrying out their role. I also worked clinically in my own right on a regular basis, either nursing at the bedside or managing the shift. I had a particular interest in competency assessments, acute renal failure and equipment competencies and documentation.
During my time as Clinical Nurse Educator I also helped set up a group of specialist nurses looking at improving and standardising the care of the critically ill child. This covered A&E, the paediatric ward & ITU. I was also the falls link nurse for ITU and underwent a train the trainers session given by the Trust falls specialist nurse. This enabled me to deliver mandatory falls training to staff in ITU, including the use of the assessment form and identifying ways of reducing the risk of patients falling.
I was part of the Hospital faculty for simulation training and worked with the Trust Simulation lead on developing training sessions for ITU staff; ward staff and junior doctors with a view to providing multidisciplinary simulation scenarios from which staff could debrief and learn in a safe environment. In July 2014 I attended the ALERT (Acute Life-Threatening Events Recognition and Treatment) course for Nurses and Junior Doctors.
In November 2014 I left the NHS and commenced work as an Associate Trainer with Somek and Associates and in 2016 I was promoted to the role of Associates Development Lead for Liability. My role involves the training and development of expert witnesses in the medico-legal processes, I also have a role in quality assurance aspects, developing and presenting study sessions for our Associates and developing guidance and policies.
Despite having left my substantial post in the NHS I continue to work as a band 7 Clinical nurse educator, in the ITU / HDU at the William Harvey Hospital (i.e. my previous substantial role) on a regular basis and continue to assist the current substantial nurse educators in developing staff of all grades, carrying out competency assessments and ensuring they are competent to carry out their role.
I have worked as a nursing expert witness since 2010. 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.