The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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PG Dip Health Visiting, MSc Research & Evaluation for Professional Practice, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies
I qualified as a Nurse in 1992 and entered health visiting in 2014 in order to make a difference to the health outcomes for children and families. I enjoy the challenges of caseload holding and safeguarding work, such as inter-agency partnership working with vulnerable families and building working relationships with hard-to-engage parents. I now work in a safeguarding role, as well as health visiting.
I have a strong training background, most recently as a UNICEF breastfeeding trainer for the Hounslow health visiting service. Alongside a colleague, I ran a two day training course on all aspects of breastfeeding, from anatomy and physiology to practical skills such as hand expression, including a number of group exercises. When working as a clinical audit facilitator, I ran formal staff training sessions in audit methodology for Trust employees. These included many practical exercises, as well as content delivered Powerpoint. When working for the Medical Research Council, practice nurses from all over the UK attended a two day centralised nurse training course. I was responsible for delivering several sections of this nurse training, as well as building good working relationships with the nurses.
Prior to health visiting, I worked in a clinical support role as a clinical audit facilitator. Report writing was a key part of this role. I worked with paediatrics for many years, which meant being responsible for the safeguarding children audits amongst other things and I was involved in an external review of safeguarding practices at the hospital. I also assisted the maternity unit in achieving CNST (Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts) level 3, for which audit forms the central requirement. I worked with the nursing directorate, during which time I was responsible for audits of safeguarding adults, including an audit of discharge-related causes for concern, which resulted in the writing of a very comprehensive report and action plan, with the aim of improving the quality of discharges. One of the challenges of the role was negotiation with, and persuading of clinical staff, to ensure thorough and timely implementation of the audit action plan.
I have worked on a variety of clinical trials in both community and acute settings. I recently undertook a secondment within the Trust, as clinical research nurse. I was responsible for certain aspects of an interventional research project that the Trust is participating in. I visited patients at home who had a stroke, in order to obtain their informed consent to participate in the study and then undertook the baseline assessments, such as cognitive testing. The post enabled me to develop links with various other clinical teams within the Trust such as occupational therapy.
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.