The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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PG Dip Tropical Nursing, Dip HE Adult Nursing, MSc Health Community & Development
I qualified as an adult nurse in 2009 and went directly into emergency care at Kings College Hospital, London. I worked there for 2 years and developed the core skills necessary to work in emergency and urgent care including expertise in clinical triage system; recognition of the deteriorating patient; identification and management of the acute presentation of a wide array of illnesses and injuries and practical skills- plastering of limbs; suturing; ECG interpretation; venepuncture and cannulation, life support.
In 2011 I travelled to the Northern region of Malawi where I ran a walk-in clinic in the outpatient department of the District Hospital. My role mirrored that of an ENP in the UK working autonomously to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries, including advanced wound care, and identification of tropical and infectious diseases. Working in a rural region of a resource poor country meant that diagnostic tools were limited, and I developed very strong clinical assessment and diagnostic skills. From 2012 and 2015 I worked in the UK as a locum emergency nurse intermittently returning to Malawi.
I started working in urgent care in 2015 – as a developmental Band 6 and trained as an emergency nurse practitioner in 2016, completed my Non-medical Prescribing in 2019 and am currently undertaking an MSc in Advanced Practice.
I am IRMER trained and request and interpret Xray images for paediatric and adult appendicular skeleton, hip, and chest Xrays. I am part of the team responsible for conducting the Xray audit within our department maintaining oversight and ensuring the safety of our patients. I am a prescribing practitioner and actively use my non-medical prescribing qualification within my specialist area. I am the Medicines Management Lead in our department, auditing and updating patient group directions (PGDs), supporting junior staff in their decision-making around medicine use, reviewing medicines use and the medicines we keep in the department to ensure patient safety.
In my current role as clinical and operational lead for the Urgent Treatment Centre, I continue to practice clinically whilst additionally being responsible for oversight of the unit, including clinical governance, CQC compliance, complaints, incidents, and the development of clinical pathways and policies. I am also responsible for staff education and development.
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.