Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife, Bachelor of Law LLB (Hons), Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1986 and as a Midwife in 1992. My clinical practice has covered all midwifery areas including antenatal and postnatal wards, the community, pregnancy assessment unit and labour wards.
Since 2021, after 29 years in a substantive post, I now work on the bank as a Band 6 midwife at my local NHS Trust. I am both hospital and community based having previously worked within various models of care including team midwifery providing continuity of care to defined caseloads of women. Due to the increasing levels of demand, and because of the skill mix, I am occasionally the shift lead, meaning I hold the emergency bleep and attend obstetric and neonatal emergencies on site.
My clinical experience includes a qualification in critical care since 2012 following successful completion of the post graduate certificate in the care of the critically ill child bearing woman. I work within multidisciplinary teams to care for women with complex health status requiring high dependency obstetric care and I participate in local forums such as clinical review that investigate adverse clinical incidents. In 2018 I attended the CTG masterclass (Peterborough) in intrapartum assessment of the fetus and management of the fetus at risk of intrapartum hypoxic injury. I now participate in weekly fetal monitoring workshops to review cases, in particular the physiological basis of the fetal heart rate pattern, and responses to best prevent adverse outcomes. This has enhanced my skills in confirming normality within fetal monitoring and identifying when deviations from the norm occur, including timely escalation.
In 2018 I completed ATAIN training (Avoiding Term Admissions into Neonatal units) in partnership with NHS improvement and NHS England and I am skilled in the management of neonatal hypoglycaemia, hypothermia and jaundice. I trained to be an ALERT (Acute Life-threatening Events Recognition and Treatment) instructor in February 2015. As an instructor I update staff in the recognition of impending clinical deterioration, the management of disordered physiology and other aspects of acute care to enable a pre-emptive approach to critical illness. ALERT incorporates aspects of clinical governance, multi-professional education and inter-professional working and has developed my skills in the use of a rich blend of multimedia learning resources, stimulating case material and opportunities for collaborative learning. As an Associate Lecturer with the Open University I explore research, legal and policy initiatives embedded in practice when working with individuals. These modules consider contemporary issues within health and social care services on nursing and social work programmes.
I have undertaken medico-legal training on the NHSR Early Notification Scheme and I am in a position to assist with casework of this nature. 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.