When Sherri Ozawa, MSN, RN, began her nursing career almost 30 years ago, it was at a time when the HIV and AIDS epidemic shined the spotlight on the need to reduce or eliminate blood transfusions.
The New Jersey resident and recent Chamberlain Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate became fascinated by alternative treatments that were resulting in outcomes that were good or even better in patients who previously would have had received transfusions. At the time, there was little published research on the idea of blood conservation.
Inspired to explore this promising medical procedure, Sherri and her colleagues at Englewood Health rolled up their sleeves to study and spread the news and understanding about patient blood management and why it is a good thing for patients, hospitals, the community, and healthcare worldwide.
“We knew we needed to develop both an organized program, education and research,” says Sherri. Their work was funded in part by a multimillion-dollar grant from the United States Department of Defense.
She served as clinical director of patient blood management for Englewood’s renowned Institute for Blood Management and Bloodless Medicine Surgery, which she helped found 25 years ago. The institute offers a progressive approach to blood management for all patients. It’s an internationally recognized program that offers safe and effective transfusion-free medical and surgical techniques. While she continues to advise Englewood, she has expanded her professional experience into national patient blood management with Accumen.
Sherri is also a founding member and the immediate past president of the Society for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management (SABM). She continues to serve on SABM’s Board of Directors, Nominating Committee and has been a significant contributor/author of numerous peer reviewed publications, advisory boards, consensus panels, and book chapters, including the recent publication Blood Works, a comprehensive guide to blood health for both the lay public and professionals alike.
A mother of four teenage and young adult children, Sherri’s passion for healthcare is shared by her son Joshua Ozawa-Morriello, BSN, RN who is in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) master’s degree program at Chamberlain.
These days, Sherri travels frequently across the globe to tour and educate the medical community about this progressive approach to patient blood management, which offers safe and effective transfusion-free medical and surgical techniques. She has lectured extensively throughout North America and all over the world, with a particular focus on the creation and implementation of sustainable, organized patient blood management programs.
Sherri has also served as an advisor/consultant to well over two hundred patient blood management programs under development throughout the United States and beyond. Sherri actively teaches physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in training at the university and academic level. She has also worked extensively with regulatory agencies and other academic organizations, such as The Joint Commission and United States Department of Defense, to analyze and develop better practices for patient blood management in disasters as well as combat casualties.
“We want people to think of blood the way we think of an organ for transplant because blood really is a liquid organ,” says Sherri. “It’s something that should be used very, very judiciously. Before you transplant a patient with an organ, you try every other possible therapy for them. Looking at blood the same way – blood may be clinically indicated for some patients but should not be our default position.”
Her advice to nursing students: “Don’t self-limit. There are so many ways in healthcare to diversify and bring your own passions and skills. The sky is the limit.”
By Chamberlain University
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