Alex Penfold on Youth Mental Health Day 2023: Insights from a Mental Health Nurse and...
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BSc Occupational Therapy, PG Dip Oncology, MSc Special Education, BSc Nursing
I qualified as an occupational therapist in 2007. I have always had a particular interest in rehabilitation, oncology, and palliative care; and I have always been involved in writing and research. During my graduation, I carried out three scientific investigations and published articles on my findings. Two years after qualifying, I completed my MSc and joined a high profile rehabilitation institution for children with disabilities in Sao Paulo (Brazil), where I had the rewarding opportunity of treating children with congenital and acquired neurological deficits and children with amputations and congenital deformities. In the meantime, I completed post-graduate diplomas in neurology and oncology and developed a particular interest in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, which led me to carry out a literature review and publish an article on this topic.
As my interest for oncology grew, I decided to undertake a bachelor degree in nursing to better understand the physiology and pathology behind cancer and other conditions I treated as an occupational therapist.
Halfway through my BSc in nursing, I spent 3 weeks at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Texas, USA) and was awarded a scholarship to undertake a neurophysiology course at Middlesex University (London, UK) for 12 months. Upon completion of my BSc in nursing in 2015, I started working at The Royal Marsden Hospital where I currently have the opportunity of applying my knowledge in my day-to-day clinical practice as an occupational therapist.
At The Royal Marsden, I have been treating children, teenagers and adults undergoing cancer treatment who experience symptoms of the disease and the incapacitating side effects of treatment. I also provide support and interventions for patients whose curative options are no longer available and who therefore receive palliative care treatment aiming at alleviating symptoms and providing comfort and quality of life. In 2019 I stepped up to Head of Department and remain active in maintaining my clinical practice as this gives meaning to my profession and satisfaction in my job role.
I have very broad experience as an OT with a wide range of different clinical conditions. I am a confident writer and have excellent clinical and analytical skills which I have acquired throughout my career.
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.