Nursing expert relishes the challenge of improving clinical practice to benefit patients and staff

NURSING expert, Liz Moir, almost studied law when she left school, but her passion for caring for people drew her into the medical world. Now, as an expert witness, she has a taste of both spheres.

NURSING expert, Liz Moir, almost studied law when she left school, but her passion for caring for people drew her into the medical world. Now, as an expert witness, she has a taste of both spheres.

“Throughout my nursing career I have taken an interest in ethical and legal issues in healthcare,” she says. “As part of my post-graduate degree, I studied modules in healthcare ethics and legal aspects of healthcare”.

Liz, who lives in Oxford, has recently joined Jane James and Associates as an expert witness. Liz has built up her nursing experience and knowledge over a career stretching back to 1992, when she trained as a registered general nurse at Coventry and Warwickshire School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Her first post was within neurosurgery department in Oxford and she has stayed close to the discipline ever since. “The acuity, diversity and all-round challenges of the speciality ensured that I constantly developed both personally and professionally,” she says.

“Through my time working in neurosurgery, I have always had a passion for improving pain management, which then pulled me in the direction of specialist nursing”.

She led the Pain Neuromodulation Service in Oxford for many years and said setting up the Spinal Neurosurgery Advanced Nurse Practitioner role was instrumental in her becoming lead nurse for the city’s Pain Management Service, which is her current role.

It involves clinical leadership for the team working across the organisation, ensuring patients receive high quality care in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

“The Pain Service covers four sites; I have overall responsibility for the clinical nursing team, service delivery, clinical governance,  education and training,” she says. “My role requires me to work across all clinical specialties both at patient facing level, as well as at senior leadership level. No two days are ever the same, and I continue to learn and develop as a nurse each day”.

She enjoys the challenges of the job and the influence she has on both patient care and development of staff. “I thrive on the opportunities my job presents in relation to leadership, management and continued development of clinical practice,” she says.

She also enjoys being close to where the action is. “I ensure I work clinically each week to keep my clinical skills up to date, maintaining direct patient contact is very important to me,” she adds.

She says studying some of the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare heightened her knowledge and skills in clinical practice, but it also enabled her to understand in greater depth the need for robust clinical governance, which has become more relevant in her role as an expert witness.

“I am experienced at report writing relating to complex clinical reviews, incident investigation and structured judgement review,” she says.

“I view this part of my role as vital to ensure that we are continually evaluating care, learning from errors and omissions and celebrating excellence to improve the quality of care delivered. These skills fit well with the expert witness role, along with my breadth and depth of nursing experience”.

She is a passionate advocate of the NHS and has no regrets in staying within it. “I have been fortunate to have had a long and varied nursing career, and feel privileged to still work within the NHS,” she says. “It’s ethos drives my enthusiasm to always seek to do my very best for my patients each day.

“Nursing has also enabled me to travel around the world, with a year working and travelling around Australia, as well as opportunities to travel to speak and present my work at many meetings, congresses and conferences at home and abroad”.

Much of her free time is spent caring for her two teenage boys – as well as cheering them on from the touchline of a rugby or football pitch. She is a keen runner and is in training for the Oxford Half Marathon.

She adds: “I also love long walks around the beautiful Cotswolds which we are fortunate to have on our doorstep.

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