Chris Gagliardi is a quiet, reserved, no nonsense gentleman who is always on top of what is happening on a very busy psychiatric medical unit. This past weekend Chris and I were working together. The unit was very busy and there had been occasions for the use of restraints and 1:1 observations to prevent violence, aggression, and self harm to our patients and staff. After receiving the nursing report, we were going to receive another admission of a "very strong aggressive" male patient who was very violent. My heart sank and I worried how a very lean staff was going to handle the situation. Chris is a very astute and competent charge nurse who saw the look of worry on my face. In a very kind and sincere voice said to me "don't worry, I will keep us safe tonight." I felt a sense of trust in his abilities as a skilled clinician and coworker and knew the eighteen patients and staff would be safe.
As the shift progressed a patient would not cooperate in taking her oral medications. Chris was required to administer injectable medications to her. He was very compassionate and clear in providing explanations and setting limits for her so she wouldn't hurt herself. She wanted to impose self injury by banging her head. He made a difference for she followed his directions and did not hurt herself. She was placed in locked seclusion to keep her safe and to maintain stability for her and the unit. Shortly after this patient regained control, the "very strong aggressive patient" arrived.
He was sedated and was calm for a brief period. He suffered from frontal-temporal lobe dementia. When he awoke he was confused. I walked with him in the hallways to help keep him calm. Chris spoke to him in a compassionate manner to help allay his fears and alleviate his confusion. The gentleman mumbled and only spoke Arabic. Eventually the patient began to strike out at me and I called Chris for help. He exerted an enormous amount of energy for the patient was a big man, taller and heavier than Chris. Chris was able to quickly remove the patient from the other patient's room. He protected the other patient and me from any harm. He quickly contained the aggressive, violent patient. Other staff came to his aide and the patient was restrained and placed on 1:1 observation.
Chris "made a difference" for both those patients. His swift actions and clinical judgement prevented injury to both these patients and myself. As the shift ended, while we were leaving, he smiled and said "Barb we will do this again tomorrow." He was right! I truly believe that Chris Gagliardi has demonstrated the qualities of compassion, kindness, sincerity, energy, trustworthiness, and has "made a difference" in the life of his patients and co-workers. I am proud to be able to work with him.