As a float nurse, Billal sees many patient populations, but it was his assignments within the emergency care unit that sparked his interest in improving pain management. There, he fielded many patient complaints that their pain was not well controlled, and he wanted to do something to change that. The result is an extraordinary, evidence-based program called the Lavender Project. It uses alternative, non pharmacological methods to complement medications and reduce pain. To put this initiative into practice, Billal collaborated across disciplines to create not just an intervention but a profound culture shift in how pain is managed at UCLA Health. The project has yielded impressive results in pain reduction and patient satisfaction.  

Billal is not afraid to take on culture change in other ways, as well. He has a knack for thinking about patient flow, and how to optimize bed use and reduce inefficiency. In a large and complex system, this is not always easy: He was the driving force behind a shared bed program, which used shared rooms to increase capacity and efficiency. There was resistance to this change from many staff members, but instead of ignoring the criticisms, Billal presented the rationale for the program at a lead nurse forum for the whole system. He addressed concerns, provided clarification and also refined the program based on the feedback. Billal is bold and innovative, but he also possesses a genuine desire to hear others’ points of view and build consensus, all with the goal of improving patient care.