Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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PG Dip Advanced Nursing Practice, BSc Nursing, RGN
I qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1994, since which I have worked within both the acute and palliative care sectors. I have knowledge of the wide treatments that can be available to patients and the investigations that patients may have to undergo in order to achieve diagnosis and then to monitor the disease itself or assess treatment responses.
I currently work as the Clinical Co-ordinator for a regional Palliative Care service. This is a diverse and fulfilling role that encompasses operational, clinical and strategic components to my daily work life. I have line management responsibility for a multi-disciplinary team. This close working relationship between health care professionals ensures that our patients receive truly person-centred care. I work locally, regionally and nationally with colleagues to review, implement and evaluate Palliative care provision across Scotland.
My previous role within this service was as a Macmillan Advanced Nurse Practitioner where my day to day work involved caring for patients in the palliative stage of their illness and managing their physical symptoms as well as providing psychological, emotional and spiritual support to them and their families. I utilised my clinical assessment and prescribing skills to plan and implement treatment plans for my caseload of patients who attended day hospice. Being able to assess patients allowed me to monitor their condition and assess when their condition was changing, what further actions were required in order to maintain the patients level of function and primarily comfort. I regularly worked in the inpatient unit caring for patients requiring symptom management or are at end of life. This involved effective symptom management, and most importantly effective and sensitive communication in order for patients and families to be fully aware of the changing nature of their condition when time is short.
During my time working within NHS Fife I worked as a Cancer Nurse Specialist for patients diagnosed with lung cancer and mesothelioma. I was involved with their care from pre diagnosis and followed them through to the end of their journey whether that was end of life care or curative intent. The majority of these patients were palliative from the outset and required significant symptom control, psychological support and regular intervention whilst undergoing various treatments. I ran 2 nurse led clinics within my role, the first was for informing patients of their diagnosis and subsequent treatment plans, this followed on from an in depth conversation with the multi disciplinary team and treatment decisions were made.
I undertook a secondment for 15 months as a Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Acute Oncology. This role involved implementing Acute Oncology into acute medical admissions. I was responsible for triaging admissions and clerking the patients in, planning, implementing and referring for further treatment.
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.