Judith Leder

Judith Leder, RN

Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, Georgia
United States

It is difficult to find just one story that will adequately demonstrate the exceptional level of nursing provided by my co-worker and mentor, Judi Leder. I started on SE ICU - surgical/transplant ICU as a new graduate nurse. I was terrified, overwhelmed, very hard on myself, and unable to find support within my unit. When I got off orientation, I had only a few nurses who were supportive and that empathized with my struggles surrounding transitioning into nursing. I almost quit.

I started developing a relationship with Judi early on. I respected her professionalism, work ethic, patient care, kindness, knowledge, and humble manner. I thoughtwhen I grow up in nursing, I want to be just like Judi. She not only took me under her wing and helped me to develop as a nurse, but she became a friend.

Judi has been the full time weekend night charge nurses for years. I actually took a weekend positon because I know I was have her as a resource and that, ultimately, my patients would be safe. Just a few weekends ago, something evolutionary happened. I was the charged nurse and Judi took patients. Starting to charge a 20 bed ICU is like being a new nurse all over again, so of course, I was reluctant. I didn't think I could handle it, didn't think I as experienced enough, and thought I was impeding on Judi's seniority and expertise. Once again, I witnessed Judi's amazing ability to mentor.

She not only welcomed my new role, but expressed gratitude for giving her a break from charging so she could be at the bedside to do what she loves most - providing direct patient care. In addition to caring for her patient in her extraordinary Judi manner, she was constantly available to answer all my questions, provide support and encouragement, and help me find effective ways to handle difficult situations.

Not only has Judi Leder provided 30 years of bedside nursing service, but she has mentored probably at least a hundred new nurses just like me. Judi has single-handedly, exponentially grown the number of quality nurses within our organization through her conscientious nursing style and willingness to teach, encourage, support and mentor.

Sometimes I stand outside of a patients' rooms when Judi is providing care just to watch and learn. Each interaction is so genuine and compassionate, even in a crisis. About a year ago, I was alone with a patient that just died. The family didn't want to be in his room during the dying process. I was holding the patient's hand when Judi came in.

"Oh you are already in here"

"Yes Judi, I wouldn't let anyone die alone."

"That's why I came, to hold his hand, but looks like you have a hold on it already."

I thank you Judi for being my mentor, co-worker, and friend. You are the reason I have flourished as a critical care nurse and why I constantly strive to do better.