Nurse Expert Witness

Who can act as a nurse expert witness?

A Nurse expert witness is an experienced registered nurse who acquires specific expertise and competencies in acting as an expert witness. There are four core

Key areas of nursing:

  • Adult nurse (general nurse)
  • Children’s nurse (paediatric nurse)
  • Learning disability nurse
  • Mental health nurse (psychiatric nurse)

As well as the four key areas of nursing, there are many subspecialties and ways of classifying nurse specialities. For example, some nurses become theatre nurses, neonatal nurses, district nurses, prison nurses, primary care or GP nurses, school nurses, and health visitors. Some nurse roles are further defined by their working environment. For instance, mental health nurses who work in the community are called community psychiatric nurses (CPN) and fulfil different functions to their inpatient counterparts.

Some nurses develop specialist knowledge to become advanced practice registered nurses, otherwise called nurse practitioners and advanced nurse practitioners. Advanced Nurse Practitioners hold masters degrees in advanced clinical practice and must demonstrate competency in their area of practice using their expert clinical knowledge and skills. Advanced nurse practitioners are trained to make autonomous decisions in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients. Advance nurse practitioners practice in many areas such as tissue viability, diabetes, heart failure, asthma, and dementia.

 

General nurse

Why might you need to instruct a nurse expert witness?

Our nurse expert witnesses provide evidence about standards of care, provide expert evidence in claims of clinical negligence.  In specific situations, nurse expert witnesses may provide specific assessments in other proceedings.  For example, our registered mental health nurse, Michal Kulasik, is trained in administering the ADOS-2 (the second edition of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), and therefore, he may be instructed to provide expert evidence in criminal and family proceedings as well as civil proceedings, the area in which most nurse expert witnesses work.

Our nurse expert witnesses accept instructions from claimants, usually via their legal representative, and defendants.  Often the defendant will be an NHS trust, but as claims of nursing clinical negligence may be made against any provider of nursing care, the defendant may be another body such as an independent hospital, a care agency, or a nursing home.

Clinical negligence

Although health professionals may make mistakes, when a registered nurse makes a mistake and their practice falls below expected levels of care, avoidable harm may be caused to a patient. In these situations, there may be a claim for clinical negligence.

 To establish clinical negligence, it must be shown that:

  • a duty of care was owed to the claimant, and
  • the duty of care was breached, and
  • the claimant suffered harm as a result of the breach

Examples of situations which may give rise to a claim for nurse clinical negligence include:

  • Not assessing a patient’s condition (including blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs, such as blood glucose (sugar) on time
  • Failing to record vital information
  • Failing to take proper action or notify other healthcare professionals when there has been a significant change to a patient’s condition
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to make accurate notes
  • Misusing a medical device
  • Failing to follow a care plan

Fitness to practise

Nurse expert witnesses are sometimes instructed to provide expert evidence about another nurse’s fitness to practise.  Typically, our expert nurse witnesses would be instructed to form an opinion about the registrant’s standard of practice and whether the registrant’s practice had fallen below the professional standards of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Allegations about fitness to practise can be based on:

Our nurse expert witnesses are most likely to be instructed in cases of misconduct, and lack of competence but they may be instructed in other cases of fitness to practise as may other experts on our panel.

What nurse expert witnesses does Expert Court Reports have?

Our nurse expert witnesses include Matthew Govier, a registered adult nurse, who specialises in prison nursing, and Mr Michal Kulasik, a registered mental health nurse who specialises in learning disability, autism, and ADHD.

Why use Expert Court Reports?

A good nurse expert witness should come with years of clinical experience as well as specific competencies to act as an expert witness.  Look for someone who has established expert witness experience.  All our nurse expert witnesses have established experience of acting as expert witnesses.

How quickly can you provide a report?

At Expert Court Reports Ltd, we understand the pressures of the legal profession.  We recognise that litigation is subject to defined timescales and for this reason, we will be as flexible and accommodating as we are able to be.  However, we pride ourselves on not promising work that cannot be reliably delivered within a given timescale.  The quality of the evidence which is provided by our experts is subject to review and scrutiny.  All expert reports are subject to a detailed and robust proofreading process to ensure that our expert evidence is accurate and expertly formatted.

Instructing a nurse expert witness

If you would like to find out more about how our nurse expert witnesses could assist you, please call us on 01865 587865, email office@expertcourtreports.co.uk, or request a quote by completing our online form.