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news News Sunday, May 5, 2019 Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:39 PM - Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:39 PM

Nurses Week 2019: What it means to be a clinical nurse educator

Nurses Week 2019: What it means to be a clinical nurse educator

This week, we are celebrating all things nurses! Nurses Week is an opportunity to thank our nurses for their dedication to patient care and commitment to advancing their practice.

Melissa Gorman, MSN, RN-BC, CCRN, has been a clinical educator at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston since 2007, and clinical education coordinator since 2015. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, she has over 16 years of pediatric nursing experience. We recently reached out to Melissa to learn about her journey to becoming a key part of the Boston Shriners Hospital patient care team, and most importantly, to celebrate everything she does here.

When did you first learn about Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston?

A: Growing up in the Boston area, I always knew about Shriners and what a great hospital it was. One of my relatives received care here for a burn as a young child. My family always spoke highly of the hospital, and my grandmother was always sure to donate to the hospital each year.

Did you always want to be a nurse?

A: Yes. Growing up, I was always fascinated with science and medicine. As a young child, I had to go to the doctor frequently for several years to get allergy shots, and always saw the same nurse practitioner at each visit. I began observing what she did in her role, and knew by the time I was in middle school that I wanted to be a pediatric nurse practitioner. After I graduated from nursing school, I worked in a pediatric ICU in New York City, and obtained my master’s degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner in 2005. Next, I worked in a pediatric emergency department (ED). While working in the ED, I had the opportunity to participate in nursing education as the hospital went live with the electronic medical record. That was when I realized nursing education was the direction I wanted to take in my career. Around the same time, a clinical educator position opened up at Shriners and I knew it was the right time to transition into nursing education full time.

What was your first visit to the hospital like?

A: I actually started my career at Shriners as a student nurse extern in 2001. The summer before my senior year of college, I worked on the reconstructive unit as a nursing assistant. I remember being amazed by the expertise of the staff, collaboration between departments, and the resiliency of the patients here. After that summer, I was sure pediatrics was the area of nursing I wanted to work in. Based on that experience, I also knew I wanted to work at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston again in my career.

How would you describe your transition from nursing at the bedside to clinical education?

A: Although I did miss the daily direct patient and family interaction, it is rewarding to be able to impact direct patient care in a different way through education and quality improvement initiatives. While I’m not providing direct care at the bedside, in my role I’m still able to see the progress patients make throughout their hospitalization, from admission to discharge. I continue to be amazed at how resilient children are, and how fortunate we are as a team to have the opportunity to provide the specialized care they need.

What is the most rewarding part of your position as clinical education coordinator?

A: I love to see the staff grow and succeed in their roles. The clinical staff here are some of the most dedicated and skilled providers I have ever worked with. There are so many nurses who started here as new graduates, or new to burn care, and now are leaders in their departments. They are often the nurses I turn to with questions or for input on a decision. I am so fortunate to get to work with nurses during the transformation from novice to expert.

What is your advice to anyone who is considering becoming a nurse?

A: Nursing is such a great career. There are so many paths within the field of nursing and the options continue to grow. Often, people think of nursing and immediately think of bedside nursing, which is a wonderful career for many people. Other settings such as perioperative nursing, outpatient nursing, care management, nursing research, community nursing, psychiatric nursing or nursing administration, may be a better fit for others. There are opportunities to transition into different areas of nursing throughout one’s career. As a profession, nurses are well-respected and it can be extremely rewarding.

Thank you Melissa, and thank you to all our nurses who make the care at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston possible.