Don Bronto
July 2021
Geriatric and Extended Care Services
James A. Haley VA Hospital and Clinics
United States




Don is also instrumental in the promotion of innovation in monitoring and prevention of pressure ulcers in a Long-Term Care setting.
Don follows the true epitome of “Servant Leadership.” Since he assumed the Nurse Manager position in SCI-FV countless accomplishments and accolades have been witnessed by staff and leadership from different areas in the facility. His recent accomplishment was the video paying tribute to nurses in the midst of the pandemic COVID-19. This video has been posted on the JAHVAMC Facebook site which gained a magnitude of views all over the internet. This video not only inspired nurses in the facility but has also received positive commendations from different parts of the nation as well as internationally. The story behind the said video was about overcoming negativity and fear of the unknown among staff members of SCI-FV. This video further promotes the team’s camaraderie, improving morale and positivity.

It all started from the email that Don Bronto, sent to the SCI leadership showcasing the changes of the unit’s change-of-shift reporting. SCI-FV recently implemented a new technique incorporating positive life quotes, bible verses, positive personal stories, and even songs. This is done before the team starts the morning report. One of the staff members one day brought in his guitar and serenaded the team just minutes prior to starting the morning report. At that very moment, the team acknowledged the positive effect of the music/song on the entire team. Not only they converted the negative vibes in the unit into positive, but staff is also happy to work, and it all trickled down to providing excellent, veteran-centered care to all the residents in SCI-FV.

One of the respiratory therapists commented, “Don, that was an excellent way to start our day. Everyone here is singing and having a good day already. I’m impressed.” From then on, staff members always come prepared every single day looking forward to their turn to share their positive thoughts or quote of the day. This has made a big impact on the teamwork and morale of the staff. While filming, medical media staff were very impressed with the teamwork and team spirit during the process. It was added that “all nursing units should be like SCI-FV. As a manager, Don promotes a happy and respected environment. He started promoting the other meaning of CPR which stands for C-Communicate; P-be Professional; and R-to be Respectful. This is now the mantra of SCI-FV which was used a couple of times during the monthly meeting of SCI-F and FV. Don is using this when there’s a disagreement between co-workers or when there are issues amongst staff members. Issues within staff members are now being resolved easily and immediately.

In January 2020, SCI-F and FV obtained zero findings during the Long-Term Care Institute (LTCI) annual survey. This gained SCI-F and FV as its second year of zero findings. To add to the accomplishment, Don was recognized for his implementation of the care plan updating the unit is using. LTCI surveyor commented that “this is the most interactive care plan updating I’ve ever seen in LTC.” It resulted to submitting a “Best Practice” for care plan updating also led LTCI surveyors to report the said practice to LTCI national headquarter again for best practice per the surveyor. The same token, quality management specialist has nominated the same project for the award via a poster presentation. This was entitled “Stamp The Plan.” In lieu of the Stamp the plan project, other VA long-term care facilities had inquired into adopting the same concept. Don was gracious enough to share it including our own CLC here in JAHVAMC. An increase in staff participation to unit, service, and facility committee, a workgroup of SCI-FV’s staff have been noted. Three of the unit’s nurses have volunteered to be “wound champions.” The said three wound champions have been very actively in contact with the service’s Wound Care and Ostomy nurse. They have been instrumental in the implementation of new treatment trials, new nursing interventions to speed up the recovery time of residents’ wound healing in SCI-FV.

Don is also instrumental in the promotion of innovation in monitoring and prevention of pressure ulcers in a Long-Term Care setting. WellSense is pressure, skin mapping that is now being used in SCI-LTC which has impacted the prevention of skin pressure and sustaining new skin ulcers, and increased early detection of worsening skin ulcers. To date, both SCI-F and FV are now using WellSense. Other SCI units have voiced interest in adapting the same concept. A national Mandate called CONCERT which stands for Community Living Center’s (CLC’s) Ongoing National Center for Enhancing Resources and Training which Don is a big part of its successful implementation. This national initiative has created a big impact with Don’s coordination with the SCI-F’s Nurse Manager and SCI asst. chief nurse along with CLC Leadership.

Don was the first unit to implement the Virtual Watch-List Huddle in which all members of the interdisciplinary team are able to attend by phone, instead of physically coming to SCI-FV. This provided a great increase in the attendance of IDT member compliance and therefore increased the success of the program’s implementation. Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, Don has initiated a virtual nurse manager daily staffing. This was well-received by SCI-Poly-Rehab leadership along with the chief and asst chief nurse of the service. Don has also assisted the SCI-Poly-Rehab Leadership to make the “teleworking” for the service easier. He created multiple “step-by-step” visual guides to accessing various applications such as H/S/I drives; Acustaf; VATAS; LiveProcess; and a lot more. It has been a pleasure working with Don. He always looks for ways to improve residents' care and employee morale. He is an inspiring leader and a true rising star!