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Kate Ryder is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of clinical experience in both public and private hospitals in England and Australia, and in a range of different specialities. These range from emergency, intensive care, general medical, surgical and short-stay wards, oncology, rehabilitation, palliative care, occupational health and community nursing. Kate has also worked as a patient support officer and as a senior investigator with the Office of the Health Care Complaints Commission. During her 10 years at the Commission, she also contributed to the establishment of the Patient Support Office, wrote case-histories for the Commission's annual reports and the Commission's Health Investigator journal, and addressed a number of community groups and gave media interviews about the work of the Patient Support Office and the Commission. While working as a nurse, Kate conducted a quantitative and qualitative research study into the reasons why patients leave the emergency department without being seen by a doctor. She undertook this research in the emergency department of St. Vincent's Public Hospital, Darlinghurst in 1996, as part of a Masters of Public Health (MPH) course at the University of New South Wales. This research later informed the Office of the Health Care Complaints Commission's position on the treatment of the mentally ill in emergency departments, which in part led to the establishment of Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres (PECC) units in emergency departments in New South Wales.