Who is an Expert Nurse Witness?
Resume – Wyn Glencross
I qualified as a registered nurse in 1978 and worked continually in the acute sector of the NHS in the north of England for the first 25 years of my nursing career. During this time I experienced a wide variety of nursing specialties within the acute sector ranging from paediatrics, orthopaedics, elderly care, vascular and general surgery, ITU, theatres and general medicine (to name but a few specialties), and finally in A&E for the last 10 years before relocating to the South West London area. As my specialist interest area during this time was in tissue viability I studied the subject for many years in order to specialize in the subject at a later date.
Following my relocation in 2001 I first worked in a variety of London A&E departments until my appointment as a Tissue Viability Nurse Lead in 2002 within a South West London Primary Care Trust. This was a new post on appointment and I was responsible for setting up the tissue viability services, which included opening, establishing and supervising wound and leg ulcer clinics within the community setting. A large part of my role was to take and respond to referrals from GP’s, practice nurses, district nurses and residential and nursing homes within the community.
My responsibilities were to give advice, formal and informal training on all aspects of tissue viability and pressure ulcer prevention and management. As tissue viability entails all specialties the training and advice I delivered covered the entire range of nursing specialties and activities of daily living (ADL’s).
Other responsibilities of this role included working as an autonomous practitioner during the clinical management of patients with tissue viability needs that included assessing, diagnosing, treating, planning and supervising care provision; training, supervision and competence assessment of clinical staff on an ongoing basis; working in collaboration with the nursing, medical and other allied health professionals; ensuring policies and protocols are in place and adhered to; continually monitoring the service using audit and research; auditing and reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers; working with industry in purchasing cost effective wound care products and pressure relieving devices; reporting on risk management issues, to name but a few aspects of the role. The advantage of this experience was to allow me a panoramic view of the patients journey from community to hospital and back again, and the issues that this raises in terms of continuity of care and communications between health care settings.
During this post I undertook and successfully completed the V300 Non-medical Prescribing Qualification (registered with the NMC) and a Masters Degree in Medical Law & Ethics. In addition, in collaboration with my son, I set up a health care training company as during my work as a community TVN I realized that these care providers were unable to access quality training despite their best efforts and frequent criticism from inspectorate bodies. The training I delivered included practical, classroom based teaching and e-learning modules and combined classroom/practical and e-learning. I employed tutors located across the UK, all experts in their chosen field to ensure compliance with the Regulated Activities 2010 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The company now mainly focuses on e-learning and specialist training for all care sectors, including domiciliary care, much of which is offered free of charge to carers and organizations (i.e. for mandatory subjects).
In 2010 I returned to the acute sector as a Tissue Viability Nurse Lead following relocation to the East Midlands area. My role in this large general hospital was a new post, with similar responsibilities to that in the community setting and once again my prior experiences enabled me to improve working relations between external organizations and care providers. My greatest achievement in this role was to reduce the incidence of avoidable pressure ulcers occurring within the trust by 75% within my first 18 months in post. In part this was achieved by the implementation of a fundamental daily activity which was sadly overlooked despite having a policy on ‘Protected Mealtimes’. By highlighting the dangers of not adhering to this policy I was supported by the Executive Management team to re-introduce this policy and this went some way in the reduction in pressure ulcers, along with training and a tissue viability presence on the wards.
In May 2013 I finally left the NHS to pursue a career as an Independent Nurse Consultant, and in particular my interest in medico-legal work, which I had become involved with as an Expert Witness since my commencement in tissue viability in 2002. In the course of this work I have been involved in many high profile cases for both the Claimant and the Defendant (50/50) and as a nurse expert advisor to the NMC in fitness to practice cases. My reports are independent and are compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses. In total I have completed in the region of 250 cases to date, and I am frequently recommended by Barristers and solicitors. Additionally, in the course of this work I have been requested to supervise other expert witness reports to ensure their reports are CPR compliant and to aid their learning and development in this field.
I have also been requested by CSCI (now CQC) to assist with inspections of homes whilst I was a community TVN. I have also been commissioned by independent care providers to act as a Compliance Officer to their homes in order to provide independent advice and support prior to their formal inspections by CSCI and later CQC. In doing this work I am able to utilize my nursing and management skills as well as my legal qualifications in order to improve standards of care.
I have just completed writing my first book in wound care, which will go for publication in December 2014 and will form part of the ‘At a Glance’ series of publications. I have also delivered talks both locally and nationally on tissue viability / pressure ulcer matters and have been an invited guest speaker at solicitors conferences that have included AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents), a charity set up to assist people with civil action against health providers, and APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). I have spoken at a Bladder and Bowel Foundation conference on issues surrounding tissue viability and incontinence, as well as on general care issues at national conferences.
My personal interests are listening to classical music and opera (as well as other types of music), attending live performances of the same, travel and swimming.