The best part of nursing is understanding the patient’s journey, says Lorraine Ozerovitch
Nursing is practically part of Lorraine Ozerovitch’s DNA. Her grandmother was a nurse in World War I and her mother in World War II, working during the Blitz and the bombings in East London.
With that kind of family history, how could she not go into nursing?
“It’s really come down to both my mother and maternal grandmother through their experiences,” says Ms Ozerovitch. “Nursing is in my blood.”
And for the past 25 years, nursing is exactly what she’s been doing. Starting off in renal medicine, she later became an intensive care sister and then moved to respiratory nursing, where she found her place. She spent four years as a research sister before applying for her current role – clinical nurse specialist in respiratory infection/immunology at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.
“It was just a natural progression from a research perspective to a clinical specialty role,” she explains.
“Nursing is in my blood.”
Ms Ozerovitch has myriad responsibilities in her job description, including direct patient care, dealing with patient queries over the phone, reviewing clinic patients and providing care when they come into hospital. She also reviews patients for receiving treatment at home and helps allied health professionals who call in for assistance. Of course, juggling all these can be difficult.
“Sometimes you have multiple balls in the air, and what may seem like simple questions and queries aren’t that easy to solve,” she says. “They might lead onto other issues, which require further guidance, and then you have to tie it all up and make it meaningful for the patient. We’re like swans, gliding along but paddling furiously under the water – we’re making it look easy.”
But this isn’t all she does. Ms Ozerovitch is also a masters’ board examiner for Imperial College for the cardio-respiratory nursing degree course, where she has lectured students on her specialty, supervised dissertation projects and conducted viva examinations since 2010. She’s presented at national and international meetings on respiratory infection/immunology nursing, and she’s part of the medical advisor patient charity board UKPIPS as well.
“Sitting with the patient and understanding their journey is really the best part.”
Ms Ozerovitch also believes that social media has had a huge influence on nursing. She launched the Twitter feed for the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists as part of its executive board, and recently did the same for the International Nursing Group for Immunodeficiencies. All this has contributed further to her goal to “keep raising the profile of nursing, and in my case respiratory nursing.”
She’s also demonstrated her wartime heritage by coping well in emergency situations, such as when she was on duty the night of the Soho bomb blast in Admiral Duncan’s Pub in 1999.
But she says her most fulfilling experiences have been working with patients with both primary immune deficiency and bronchiectasis, as these are her specialties.
“A lot goes into nursing, including a lot of paperwork,” she says. “But sitting with the patient and understanding their journey is really the best part.”
“You have to have a passion, be proud and go after what you want to do – striving for excellence.”
Ms Ozerovitch is dedicated to helping patients with long-term conditions make their lives better. “It’s about enhancing quality of life,” she says. “It’s about improving quality so they’re living enriched lives, which is what anyone can hope for when handling a long-term condition.”
As a part of that devotion to patients with long-term conditions, she has initiated the subcutaneous immuno-globulin replacement therapy option for her patient group, and the growing number of patients infusing at home has resulted in great improvement in both quality of life and physical function.
All of this leads in to her ultimate goal, simple but admirable: to be the best nurse she can.
“You have to have a passion, be proud and go after what you want to do – striving for excellence. Hopefully, you’ll be the best nurse you can possibly be – that’s what makes me come to work every day.”