Interview with Nursing Expert Witness

An interview with our Advance Nursing Practitioner Expert Witness Ms Wendie Smith

When solicitors appoint an expert witness in nursing, they should feel confident that the individual producing a report is an expert in their field, along with being certified and experienced in writing unbiased expert reports that can assist the Court.

One of our panel members, Ms Wendie Smith, BSc (Hons), sat down with us to talk about her role as an expert witness. Ms Smith is an advanced nurse practitioner with over 20 years nursing experience. Ms Wendie Smith has been an expert witness for 6 years and she has given evidence as an expert witness on fitness to practice to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Thank you for speaking to us Wendie. Could you please tell us a little about your Nursing background?

Thanks Clair, it’s great to get the opportunity to discuss my Expert witness career so far.

I qualified as a mature student in 1999, I think the real-life experience helped me progress in my nursing career and in 2006 after mostly surgical hospital experience I went into community care.  I worked as a discharge liaison nurse in a hospital avoidance service, and then was head hunted to support a new service supporting GPs with home visits.  I learnt so much about the variety of clinical practice and how this supports medical goals and working with patients and carers.  Since coming into the General Practice arena, I have been fortunate to have multiple opportunities in areas such as leadership with the local integrated care board and I’m a Queens Nurse.

What made you choose to work in Nursing and as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner?

Nursing was always going to be my path after supporting my Nan when she had a stroke when I was 14. Advanced practice was when I realised how important it is to provide the whole process of treatment which requires physical examination, clinical decision making and of course prescribing.  To me this fulfilled a drive to support people in the holistic care process.

I note that you have an interest and several qualifications in chronic disease management, can you tell us a little about this?

My current role as an advanced nurse practitioner working in a GP surgery helps me to look at the person not just the disease or condition.  The team I work with have a common goal to provide excellent care and this improves all our roles in my view.  Chronic disease is the current social economic crisis, and both affects people personally and our community.  Supporting people to maximise their health is a real positive aspect of my role.

Why would an expert witness report in Nursing be needed?

The majority of clinical practice is safe and fit for purpose. However, sometimes things get missed, overlooked and there is a very small element of poor practice.  My role is to undertake forensic review of notes and ensure any care meets the standards of a reasonable and responsible body of nurses, known as the Bolam and Bolitho test, the twin pillars of clinical negligence.  There are both sides to review and I work for both the Claimant and Defendant, but my responsibility is to the Court following the CPR 35 roles.  This is key to ensure the report gives the judge a view on standard practice using guidance and my practical knowledge.

Ms Smith

Ms Wendie Smith is an advanced Nurse Practitioner she has experience in primary and social care and undertakes Claimant and Defendant breach of duty, causation and condition and prognosis reports.

Instructing Ms Wendie Smith

If you want to instruct Ms Smith or if you want to discuss using Ms Smith for your case, please contact us.

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