Shawna and I were in a mental health patient's room. I was hooking the patient up to the heart monitor and I noticed the patient had a knife. I am fairly new, so I did not know the precautions. I discreetly let Shawna know and she took care of the situation. She handled herself professionally and calmly. She defused the situation, taking the knife from the patient while keeping her calm and not making the situation worse. I felt no danger with the way Shawna handled the situation. Shawna has been a great mentor to me as I learn the ropes in the ER.
Shawna is always one of the first nurses in our department to step up and want to help when a code or trauma is coming through the door. I have known this about her since the day she started working on our team. However, there have been two patient situations in the past two weeks in which Shawna has gone above and beyond her duty. The first situation could have caused harm to not only the patient but also to her fellow staff if she had not acted in such a quick and precise way. While helping a patient change into a gown, a newer ER Tech discovered that the patient had a knife tucked into the top of her pants. The tech quietly got Shawna's attention, and Shawna demonstrated her always top-notch critical thinking skills to quickly de-escalate the situation. While speaking to the tech and the patient, Shawna was able to withdraw the knife from the patient while preventing any harm to the patient and fellow staff members, including me, who were present at the bedside.
The second situation involved a critically ill patient. Shawna's shift was to end at 1500. Before leaving the department, Shawna asked me if there was anything she could do to help. I mentioned she could check to see if the nurse and doctor who had just started taking care of a high acuity patient in one of our trauma rooms needed any help. As Shawna did this, she immediately realized the patient was in a life or death situation and went to work. Shawna stayed with the primary nurse and patient for 3 hours after her shift ended. Without her flexibility, leadership, critical thinking-skills and numerous other qualities she possesses as an ER nurse, the outcome of both situations could have been gravely dangerous.