John Maxwell once wrote, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” Jessica Gambella, the manager of 4N, ICU/Trauma Stepdown at Blake Medical Center exemplifies this statement as she has not only influenced one life, but rather had an immensely positive influence over the 4N unit, the nursing staff, and the countless patients who come through our doors.
Jessica has turned our unit completely around through her dedication and hard work, whereas prior management had pushed many staff members, including myself, to the brink of resignation. I have never seen the employee morale as high as it has been since her taking the manager position. She has spent countless hours on educational resources, even creating an education center to help with nursing competency and charting fallouts, and she has placed other leaders strategically to assist in the ongoing improvement on the unit. With this, we can reduce risks to patients and improve the level of care and safety provided on 4N.
Jessica has even worked with physicians to give live-in services to help nurses understand the processes behind our interventions. She encourages continuing education and makes resources readily available to the staff while single handedly seeking out qualified nurses and support staff to build a core team that can provide nursing excellence every time.
Additionally, she has brought the heart back to our floor. Patients aren’t bed numbers or bodies. They are an extension of the Blake Family and to be treated with respect, dignity, empathy, and compassion. She reminds us that holding someone’s hand or giving them a warm blanket can be just as impactful as managing a cardiac drip, and more importantly she does this by example - connecting with our patients and their families and managing their concerns as if they were her own family.
Personally, Jessica has stood by my side as I have held the hands of family members while their loved ones have passed. She has assisted me in addressing patient and staff concerns. She has been a mentor, a friendly ear to listen, and when needed, a drill sergeant lining up the troops to motivate them and push them to their potential. She was the primary force that encouraged me to take on my current position which subsequently has allowed me to help so many people. And no matter how many hours she has put in or how tired she might be, she has always been there for me, her staff, and all of our patients.
Jessica is a DAISY Nurse Leader for elevating the care on 4N and for continuing to raise the bar so that the nursing culture has become more patient-centered than ever before. When Maxwell spoke of leadership influencing lives, it should be noted that in leadership we gain the opportunity to impact more individuals through those whose lives we touch. A manager who understands that happy nurses create happy patients who in turn have the opportunity to go forth and pay that compassion forward is one who truly understands the reach of leadership. For all those lives touched by Jessica, she should be considered a true embodiment of The DAISY Award.