Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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MSc Practitioner with a specialist interest in Cardiology, BSc Adult Critical Care, Dip Nursing
Following my qualification as Nurse in 2003, I have been in acute nursing working in cardiology and critical care across three different hospitals. During this time, I have gained a wide range of skills and experiences in the nursing care of acutely ill adults.
Since 2013, I have been an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Cardiology, autonomously managing patients presenting with cardiac conditions in A&E, and within the wards as part of the wider cardiology team. This incorporates assessment, investigations, diagnosis and management.
I undertake rapid access chest pain clinics across 3 hospitals and discharge or refer for investigation, and prescribe treatment as appropriate. I supervise stress myocardial perfusion imaging, implant loop recorders and undertake cardioversion lists. I assist with primary PCI in the cardiac catheter lab. Much of my time is spent in A&E where I see undifferentiated patients presenting with symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, collapse, cardiac arrest. I manage acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, valve disorders, cardiogenic shock, arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, pulmonary embolisms, sepsis, pneumonia etc.
I also undertake a range of extended skills such as venepuncture, cannulation, catheterization, arterial blood gases, ECGs and am a non-medical prescriber. I am IRMER trained and request imaging. I am ICU transfer trained and an advanced life support instructor. Additionally I have a BSc Hons in Adult Critical Care, hold a Specialist Practitioner Adult Qualification and have gained MSc in Cardiology.
Alongside my acute work, I spent 8 years as a fitness to practice panellist for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, sitting on the Conduct and Competence Committee, finishing my term of office in November 2017. This developed my knowledge of the legal processes surrounding healthcare and regulation, and I became familiar with the adversarial process and civil procedure rules. I sat on a 3 person panel evaluating complex evidence and questioning witness and the registrants to ensure that decision making was robust and based on best evidence.
In addition, to further develop my interest in healthcare standards and regulation I work occasionally as a Specialist Advisor for the Care Quality Commission, inspecting acute hospital trusts and gathering evidence to inform CQC reports.
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.