“So, Gale… what do you think we should do for this patient?” It’s a common phrase heard around Mount St. Joseph Hospital in Vancouver, where Gale Santa Juana works as a nurse-in-charge, leading his team to problem-solve countless day-to-day care issues.
Geriatric medicine has been a specialty of Gale’s since he worked as a nurse with patients in Geriatrics and with HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s. After a foray into community health nursing, he returned to geriatric medicine, working with an interdisciplinary team to deliver improvements in patient care rounds, team huddles, delirium protocol, PHC projects and much more. “Gale is eager to initiate change on the unit and be involved in quality improvement projects even outside of his work hours,” says Elizabeth Loewen. “For instance, Gale developed a short 10-minute daily round to highlight every patient’s issues and disseminate important practice reminders to all nursing staff.”
Another example of Gale as an agent of change was when his unit began to accept geriatric psychiatry patients who also had medical concerns. “Gale was quietly instrumental in bringing his colleagues along,” says Providence Health Care Admin Fellow to the Senior Leadership Team Jen Selman. “He mentored and acted as a resource for staff, often role-modeling how to manage a patient’s unsettled behaviours and how to assess for root causes of the behaviour. Thanks to his mentoring, we were able to implement a least-restraint policy very effectively. Gale could see opportunity in this change and was able to speak up about the benefits to patients of receiving medical and psychiatric care by one team.”
Gale fosters positive relationships with peers and patients with an exceptionally positive and helpful personality. “I have had new nursing graduates come up to me and rave about how helpful and knowledgeable Gale is,” says Carmen Wu, RN. “No matter what he is doing, he always has time to answer questions and share all the wisdom he has acquired in a way everyone can understand. He’s always willing to lend an ear or a voice.”
That positive attitude is a big part of his success as a leader. “Gale may be one of the most collected and composed people to ever grace a nursing unit ,” Wu says. “There have been countless times when a patient has begun to crash and Gale does and says all the right things to bring this patient back up to their baseline. Whether he’s performing advanced nursing skills or instructing others, it’s all done in a composed way.”
“I spent a total of 30 shifts preceptoring with Gale and each time he demonstrated great leadership and passion for his work,” says Gina Soriano. “He is one of the hardest-working nurses I have met.”
Whether he’s leading patient safety huddles to cover all of the acute issues of patients on his ward, updating the team on current practices, or reminding those around him of their goals for the day, Gale makes the most of every day for the sake of those around him, his colleagues and their patients.