Leslie is one of our nursing supervisors. If ever there was a person, perfectly suited for this position it would be Leslie. She is strong, well-spoken, knows how to make a decision, respects her position, and follows through while remaining accountable to any consequences that follow. Not a glamorous job, but Leslie knows how to keep this large level 1 trauma center rolling with and through all the punches that accompany such a large, diverse, and complicated place.
One day in one of the ICUs, there was a verbal threat made against staff by a visitor. Leslie heard about this threat, and like all threats, staff as well, Leslie took it seriously. Leslie made the necessary calls and the threat was investigated. Police, security, staff, and family were all involved in an emotional situation that escalated when the emotional fragility of one family member became too heavy for him to bear, and he verbally threatened staff members. With adrenaline at maximum, Leslie entered the situation and soon realized the full weight of the anguish that this family member was feeling and helped to de-escalate it.
Leslie took the time to learn about this family member. She learned how the visitor had been married to the patient for years, how he could not bear the thought of life without her in it, and how he lost control of his temper while facing the death of his wife and regretfully made empty verbal threats against staff. Then Leslie discussed the idea of allowing this family member to remain at the bedside so he could be there when his wife died. She discussed this option with the staff, security, and UC Davis Police. She encouraged other family members to allow him to have a few minutes alone with his wife, one last time. She saw the man behind the threat and recognized that he was heartbroken. She advocated for him and the patient, allowing those precious last moments alive to be shared, just as they had shared a life together.
Leslie, in the midst of a highly charged situation, remained the nurse she had trained to be so many years before and helped made the situation as right as it could have been, despite the grim and inevitable end to his wife's life.