The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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PG Dip Midwifery, MSc Professional Practice (Midwifery), PGC Level 1 Obstetric Ultrasound
I qualified as a Registered Nurse in March 2007 and worked briefly in a medical setting, caring for patients with gastrointestinal problems and serious infectious diseases. However, my true vocation was as a midwife, so I completed the postgraduate midwifery course in March 2009. I have worked for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board throughout my midwifery career so far, predominantly within the high risk, labour ward setting and have developed both my managerial and clinical skills to an advanced level during this time.
More recently I have worked as a senior midwifery clinician, working directly with the senior obstetrician at the level of junior doctor within obstetrics and gynaecology in a high-risk unit. In this role I am the clinician directly responsible for taking obstetric referrals from midwives, triage and GP’s. I work autonomously to physically examine these patients, order appropriate diagnostic tests and undertake referrals to the appropriate members of the multidisciplinary team.
I am trained in advanced clinical skills, including biophysical assessment within obstetrics, resuscitation, speculum assessment, consenting for surgical procedures, cannulation, complex perineal suturing, surgical skills and assisting at instrumental and caesarean deliveries. I completed the independent prescriber course, allowing me to independently assess, diagnose and prescribe treatment for women with common ailments in pregnancy.
In addition, I am also a qualified midwife sonographer, trained in 1st trimester and 3rd trimester foetal ultrasound; combined screening, including nuchal translucency measurement; foetal growth surveillance, amniotic fluid measurement and umbilical artery doppler.
Following the merger of 2 large hospitals within the health board, my role now also includes that of a labour ward coordinator. During any shift my role could rotate between the senior midwife ensuring the safety of the high-risk labour ward, the obstetric triage, the high dependency unit, obstetric theatres or as the lead midwife maintaining situational awareness across the whole maternity unit; including the alongside midwife led unit, induction of labour and antenatal and postnatal wards. As a senior clinician, I regularly participate in PROMPT (Practical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training) to ensure my skills in managing all obstetric emergencies are effective and up to date. I also attended regular training in the assessment of fetal physiology and fetal heart rate / CTG assessment. I am passionate about maintaining safety and quality in maternity care. As a result, in 2019 I completed training by the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales to become a peer reviewer during their unannounced visits, in order to assess the quality of maternity services throughout Wales. I am also a trained Investigating Officer to perform Serious Incident Investigations in maternity care for my Health Board. This included training in root cause analysis and review tools.
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.