Rachel Westcott Advanced Practitioner - Emergency Department
There are lots of professions that are vital to the effective running of our busy Emergency Departments at St James's and the LGI.
One of the newest roles is that of Advanced Practitioner (AP). They have been a feature across the Trust for over two years now, and perform a vital role working in key areas alongside senior medical staff to improve the quality of patient care.
Our APs can found across different areas of the Trust and the role is being developed to bridge the gap between our nursing staff and medical professionals.
Rachel Westcott was one of the very first Advanced Practitioners in the Trust and currently works at both the LGI and St James's EDs.
Rachel said "Being an Advanced Practitioner in ED has given me a range of opportunities and experiences that would not have otherwise been available. The nature of the department means I get to meet a wide variety of patients with different problems and play a significant role in their treatment."
"The diversity of the role means that Advanced Practitioners across the Trust are becoming more of a feature in the day-to-day care of patients across LTHT," she added. "The role is 100% clinical, so we're always patient-focused."
Advanced Practitioners at LTHT are experienced nursing staff who have completed a Master's degree in Advanced Practice, although the positions are available to midwives, physiotherapists and experienced AHPs.
The degree equips staff with new theoretical and examination skill-sets to play a much more diverse role in caring for and treating patients.
"As an Advanced Practitioner, my role in the Emergency Department is to assess, diagnose, treat and make other clinical decisions traditionally undertaken by medical staff, such as referring, prescribing drugs, admitting and discharging patients," said Rachel. "Everyone has been really supportive of APs in the department and thus helped ensure the role has been fully integrated into patient care."
"The Emergency Department is one of the busiest and most active areas of any hospital and we see lots of different patients every day with serious and life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, we also see people who have minor illnesses and problems that could receive more appropriate treatment elsewhere," explained Rachel. "It's especially important at this time of year that people make sure they're visiting their Pharmacists and taking care of themselves at home with conditions like colds and flu."
Rachel enjoys travelling and has previously worked as a nurse in Finland and Australia, as well as volunteering in India. On a recent trip to China for a month, working as a university lecturer in the School of Nursing, she also took the opportunity to inspire students of her Advanced Practitioner role in the UK.
"Outside of work, I love travelling and photography. I relish visiting different places and capturing the sights and atmosphere," she said.