Ana Maria Leopold of University Medical Center – Brackenridge is described as a role model— one who is quick, decisive and organized with a work ethic every manager wishes for.
“I love caring for my patients,” said Ana Maria Leopold. “I want them to succeed in life. I want to send my energy that God has given me and give it to them.”
Affectionately known within her unit and to families as “Leopold,” Ana Maria has been nursing for over 15 years and works as a charge nurse or resource nurse 90 percent of the time. At UMC- Brackenridge, it’s not uncommon to hear staff say “I feel safe when Leopold is in charge.”
“When I hear our mission statement, I think of Ana Maria Leopold,” said Lynne Baugh, one of Ana Maria’s co-workers. “She is the epitome of holding all that is true in every sentence of our mission. In ANY role, she moves quickly, efficiently and is out there in the unit helping and supporting her nurses to give maximum care.”
Ana Maria is highly respected by physicians, nurses and patients, and works across disciplines to make sure patients receive maximum support and care. Her daily actions and critical thinking skills serve as a fine example for others, and she has a fabulous report with her patients—including making sure patients’ pastoral needs are met.
“She acts like a bee, pollenating flowers by suggesting, guiding and implementing her knowledgebase, especially to our new hires,” said Baugh. She does not take over, but quietly instructs. She signs up for every Super User position, which is awesome as she is so non-intimidating. She teaches us the new policies, equipment, etc., not only to new hires but even to seasoned nurses”.
Ana Maria is also a CPR instructor, and is on the mock code blue team which set up mock codes throughout the hospital. (It was an exercise Ana truly excelled at, as teaching is a most important role to maximize code outcomes). Along with her natural gift for nursing and teaching, Ana is also described as being very humble.
“Ana Maria has the amazing knack that she identifies an issue, and will place a “bug in a nurse’s ear” who she knows will take that suggestion and run with it, and let that nurse receive all the glory,” said Baugh. “Ana Maria sits back and smiles like a proud mother— she hates being in the limelight.”
Ana Maria said that her parents, husband, siblings and others have taught her to be who she is, and that she’s learned from admirable people—both at work and in life—who have gone above and beyond.
When Ana’s in charge, you probably won’t see her sitting behind a desk. You can find her in the rooms helping with direct care, which gives her the opportunity to assess and teach. (This is especially important in the SICU). Anna maintains control of managing emergent & crisis situations and is there to help fellow her nurses debrief. And in addition to looking out for her patients, Ana also looks out for her co-workers.
“Ana Maria does not make it known about all the things she does,” said Baugh. Her husband is a saint also! She does not advertise her sacrifices, she follows the mission both inside and outside of work.
This includes leading an effort to quietly raise money for a housekeeper who was going through a rough time, babysitting for “new mommy nurses,” and even driving single nurses to-and-from appointments. She once heard about a single mother co-worker who was hospitalized because of severe asthma, and immediately went and picked up her young children and took them to her house until their mother was discharged. Ana Maria has also gone to other countries to assist with care.
“One of our seasoned nurses made the statement ‘When I grow up, I want to be like Leopold.’” said Baugh. “I am honored to work with Ana Maria. She is my role model. I have been nursing for over 40 years. Her patience, love, and care assures me that we still have truly excellent nurses still out there! She deserves to be honored.”
For Ana Maria, nursing is an honor itself. As for why she does what she does, Ana Maria said it’s a path that was given to her.
“My heart sings for this,” said Leopold. “I pray every morning to be a hollowed being to give and show God’s work. This is my path that God has set me on, and I thank God for giving me this. Thank you, Austin Statesman for doing this, and giving people the opportunity to show their love for someone who has touched their life.”