Valerie Cabral

Valerie Cabral

Valerie Cabral, MHA, MSN, RN-BC

Spinal Cord Injury
James A. Haley VA Hospital
Tampa, Florida
United States
Valerie continued to talk to him and was able to start deescalating his behaviors.

Although Ms. Cabral is the nurse manager for SCI-E, she is a nurse first.  Too many employees to count have commented that she is the most willing manager to step in and help with direct patient care when staff is short.  Yesterday was no exception.  Except for this time, she most likely saved a vulnerable veteran from harm.

Not all veterans have scars you can see.  Some suffer from mental illness and their bizarre and sometimes ridiculous looking behaviors make them outcasts and subject them to ridicule and scorn.  This patient, who had been on her unit for weeks, was having a really difficult couple of days.  He was having wild hallucinations and had been acting out due to stressors in his life.  It became apparent that he needed professional help and as is the case with Valerie, she was there when he needed her.

The doctor decided the patient would need to be transferred for intense psychiatric care.  Unfortunately, being told that, completely scared the patient.  He took off running before anyone knew what was happening.  He could not run effectively, but he did make good time getting off the property and heading for the busy transit station.  Valerie along with one other staff member were the only to follow the patient as he made a frantic effort to escape treatment.  He dangerously crossed traffic on a busy street before Valerie could catch up to him.  When she did catch up at the transit center behind the VA, she was able to engage the veteran and get his attention.  By then, she had called 911 and engaged the EMS system as well.  Valerie continued to talk to him and was able to start deescalating his behaviors.  When the police arrived, they were ready to do a full takedown on him, but she controlled the scene and kept that from happening.  She was so good at engaging him, that he was eventually put into a police car and returned for treatment.

To describe Valerie’s character, it would be best to relay what she said herself.  A citizen witnessing this event, sarcastically said, “This is how they take care of veterans.”  And without hesitation, Valerie said, “Yes, this is how we care for our veterans.  We’re here because we care and we’re going to keep him safe.”  That is her.  She cares and is a true patriot besides being a great nurse.