Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris, RN, MSN, MHA

Transitional Care Unit
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
Cleveland, Ohio
United States
Lisa never stops being a resource for the staff, always willing to take on another task and follow through.

Lisa incorporates the ICARE values through her everyday interactions with staff and veterans.  Lisa is known on the floor as a person of integrity, demonstrating consistency, fairness, knowledge, and follow-through on a regular basis.  The Transitional Care Unit is not only a new floor of nursing but also a new care level for the VA.  Lisa has been the strong leader through all of the TCU’s development.  She is constantly soliciting feedback from the staff and the veterans on our floor as to ways we can improve.  She is fundamentally involved in all the process and policy development on TCU.  Then she not only gathers the information, but she advocates for different resources to come to the ward to help educate staff to succeed.  The character she completes all these tasks with is remarkable.  Every person on the floor would describe Lisa as compassionate and “truly caring” of both her staff and the veterans we serve.  She never stops being a resource for the staff, always willing to take on another task and follow through.  There are many examples of how Lisa has gone above and beyond her role, but I will describe a few to help you see what a true leader she is in the VA Community.

We had a resident who was actively dying on the floor.  He did not want his family present due to his deteriorated condition but was also scared and anxious during the dying process.  He was scheduled to go to hospice later that day but was rapidly declining.  The staff was demonstrating moral distress over their inability to be in the room 24/7 due to other obligations to the remaining veterans on the floor.  Lisa sat at this veteran’s bedside and held his hand for two and a half hours.  She helped reassure this man and bring him comfort in his last few hours so he would not be so frightened.   She performed bedside care services that are no longer required of her, going above and beyond her role as Nurse Manager.  She did this without hesitation and without being asked.  She saw there was a problem for both her staff and the veteran and showed Commitment to the veteran, Respect for the veteran at the end of his life, and Excellence in her performance that day. 

Since the TCU is a newer addition to the LSVAMC, the admission criteria have been fluctuating over the past year.  There was a period of 3 months where we experienced several veterans passing away in a short time.  The staff was uncomfortable with their palliative care orders at the end of life and also experiencing confusion of the TCU’s direction.  Many nurses are new to the VA and were feeling unsure of their role as advocates for the veterans.  Lisa noted how distressed her staff felt and immediately got in contact with the CNS Educator about educating staff regarding End of Life discussions and the nurse’s role in the veteran’s plan of care.  Her Advocacy led to multiple meetings over 2 months to continue education and help the nurses and nursing assistants to feel empowered and knowledgeable about the care of our veterans.   This is only one example of how she has advocated for her staff.

My last example is the character in which Lisa manages.  Her Integrity is apparent every single day.  She comes to work with a smile on her face, which sounds like nothing, but it is truly a wonderful way to start your workday, by feeling welcomed and that someone is glad you are present.  She is always shedding light on the positive and helping our staff to see the silver lining in every situation.  She knows her staff members and the veterans we are currently serving on the floor.  She is knowledgeable about resources and encouraging of her staff to continue to develop professionally, always being supportive of additional education opportunities and committee obligations. She is invested in her job and is always staying over her scheduled tour to assist with answering questions or helping to get things done.  Whenever you take a concern to her, she either provides immediate advice or finds the appropriate resource for that employee.  She uses disciplinary actions as a time for teachable moments. She encourages her staff daily to follow the VA mission statement and be the best nurses we can be.  She is a regular reminder of why we are here and the difference we make in the veteran’s lives.