Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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Independent Prescribing, Supplementary Prescribing, BSc Hons Nursing, Dip Nursing
I qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1998 and have since then gained considerable experience in most aspects of neuroscience nursing. Originally I worked for over 4 years in neurosurgery and neurosurgical high care in the regional units at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the Royal Northshore Hospital in Sydney. During this time as well as advancing my practice I gained valuable experience in dealing with complex neurosurgical patients, which at times made providing good clinical care challenging. I also worked to develop a new nurse led service for the follow up of chronic pain patients with implantable devices.
In 2003 I transferred across to Neurology. At first taking a role as an advanced nurse practitioner and then acquiring my current role as a clinical nurse specialist in epilepsy. I now have over 10 years experience of working within the field of epilepsy, being responsible for my own clinic case load, running my own clinics and practising at an advanced level including complex assessments and implementing treatment in environments as diverse as the emergency unit to the prison to the clinic. It is always my goal to continue to improve the care that I give and the services that I am able to offer and am constantly working and leading on improvement projects. For example in 2009 starting a service that integrated the epilepsy nurse into the emergency department, providing specialist assessment for transient loss of consciousness patients at the front door.
I have presented nationally and internationally on epilepsy and the role of clinical nurse specialists, including being invited to present at the National Assembly for Wales.
My role also has strategic responsibilities and for the last 6 years I have been involved in practice and disciplinary examinations primarily as the investigating officer. Investigating complaints in nursing care across different disciplines within the University Health Board, devising reports and findings and presenting them at hearings.
My career highlights have included
• Winning the inaugural Betsi Cadwaladr Scholarship Foundation Award
• Winning a Florence Nightingale Scholarship, which enabled me to visit services in America and Australia
• Being a finalist for a Nursing Times award and an NHS Wales award.
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.
2008 Independent prescribing conversion course, University of Wales, Cardiff
2006 Supplementary prescribing course, University of Wales, Cardiff
2001 BSc (Hon’s) Nursing, University of Wales, Swansea
1998 Diploma in Nursing, University of Wales College of Medicine