Many congratulations to Consultant Nurse Sharon Oswald who has become the first Doctor of Nursing in NHS Forth Valley. Her thesis: ‘A retrospective case note analysis of the recognition and management of deteriorating patients prior to critical care admission’ provided an overview of the care patients receive before they are admitted to critical care and highlighted areas for improvement to help prevent delays.
Many of these improvements have now been implemented as Sharon explained: “Early Warning Score (EWS) charts are updated regularly and are now more accurate. Any unplanned critical care admissions are reviewed and any learning is shared with the clinical teams. Consultant level engagement in the management and decision making of deteriorating patients has also vastly improved.”
Sharon began her nurse training in 1990 and worked in acute medical receiving, general medicine and in a combined intensive care/coronary care unit. An instructor in Advanced Life Support, she gained a BSC in Specialist (cardiac) Nursing and after becoming an education facilitator, moved back to clinical practice as a clinical support nurse.
The ensuing years have seen her involved in several innovative roles to improve patient experience and safety and, in 2006, as part of a pilot in Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) education she undertook a course run by the Royal College of Physicians which had previously been limited to medical staff only. She then gained her MSc in Nursing in 2009.
Sharon has been working with the University of Stirling and clinical staff to set up a clinical module focussed on primary care where advanced practice nursing is growing fast but the academic clinical decision-making education was not available.