The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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MSc Community Nursing Practice Teacher, DipHE Nursing Studies, PG Dip Specialist Practitoner Community, V100 Nurse Prescriber
Since gaining my nursing qualification in 1994, I have gained experience in both hospital and community clinical environments. I decided to focus on District and Community nursing and subsequently completed a Masters degree in District Nursing gaining a commendation level pass. I have spent the last number of years working in district nursing teams covering a wide range of socio economic groups across a variety of inner city and rural communities. This means I have extensive experience of dealing with patients ranging from the age of 18 to centenarians including those with learning difficulties and disabilities.
From November 2015 to August 2020 I managed a number of District Nursing teams, before taking up a position of Head of Quality and Performance in September 2020. My key responsibilities are to oversee the management of activities relating to quality and performance and identify system wide learning:
• Quality; incident reporting, patient safety, patient experience, patient outcomes, clinical audit, CQC readiness, health and safety, risk management, investigation and learning, people participation and carers strategy.
• Performance; outcomes framework and contract reporting including financial obligations.
I ensure the delivery of services in line with national and local organisational policies providing holistic, patient centred care.
This requires me to not only understand the technical elements but also translate these into practical guidance and procedures to be delivered by nursing staff. I also co-wrote the training pack for the current national wound care CQUIN, rolling this out across Bedfordshire to ensure the organisation was compliant with national standards. I am the area lead responsible for undertaking root cause analysis for category 3 and 4 pressure ulcers as well as for serious incidents. This involves critical analysis of patient’s notes prior to discussion at skin matters or senior management groups, to determine if they were unavoidable or, if avoidable, what lessons learnt can be captured and implemented.
Within my role, I am responsible for reviewing clinical reports from a range of teams and grades to ensure compliance and completeness. This requires me to maintain up to date knowledge of regulations and procedures, deploying this effectively to ensure that errors or omissions are quickly identified and appropriate remedial actions undertaken. I also investigate and resolve both formal and informal complaints that are brought against the district nursing teams. I provide feedback to both the patients but also the staff involved in order that the issues are addressed promptly and any clinical practice errors are addressed going forward. I take personal responsibility for my CPD, attending conferences or workshops as appropriate to ensure I maintain up to date skills and knowledge on matters relevant to my specialisms.
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.