Leading by example – Lorraine Austria

Lorraine Austria brings a great deal of expertise and enthusiasm to her role as Projects Clinical Leader (CL) on 3E and 3C, Medicine Units, at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital. Since joining Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital in 2006, Lorraine has worked in some of the busiest areas in the hospital, spreading her infectious energy at each stop.

“Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital has provided great learning opportunities for me, which included starting with the new graduate initiative in the Medicine Program, followed by sponsorship to become a critical care nurse,” says Lorraine.

During the latest wave of the pandemic, Lorraine was redeployed back to the Intensive Care Unit and is once again working alongside “dedicated and awesome” nurses in the department.

After 16 years, we asked Lorraine what keeps her going, and she credits both her fellow colleagues and her family.

“Although the work is hard and some days come close to breaking you, there is always the warmth and camaraderie of my colleagues to rely on,” says Lorraine. “The team work keeps you going.”

“Atypical” day

Project clinical leaders focus on helping the unit with project execution, implementation and evaluation of quality improvement ideas. This can include engaging staff and professional staff during daily huddles, encouraging generation of ideas, staff and patient rounding, auditing for sustainability, and carrying out the ideas on hand.

Lorraine’s sense of adventure and exploration is apparent in both her work and personal life. Last year, as a new hobby and way to clear her mind, Lorraine started gardening, enjoying the process each step along the way.

“I made a perennial border garden complete with an irrigation system and bird bath fountain,” laughs Lorraine. “I love trying new experiences – I’ve swam with whale sharks, been white water rafting, and even trekked inside an active volcano, to name a few.”

Although it’s been a long and hard two years on the frontline, Lorraine has continuously adapted in the hospital and on life adventures, and faces every new experience head on and with a smile on her face.

“I want to do my part in spreading joy and kindness so that my children can grow up in a world filled with that – they inspire me everyday.”