Nancy Doyle, BSN, RN, nurse-in-charge of the Operating Room, remembers when she first felt the call to nursing.
“My mom was sick, and I took care of her until she passed away,” Doyle recalls. “I wanted to do something to help other people during difficult times in their lives.”
This year, Doyle marks over half a century of doing just that at the Brigham. Her journey began in 1973 as a surgical technologist at the Boston Lying-In Hospital, a predecessor hospital of the Brigham. She worked in the role for 13 years before deciding to return to school for her associate’s degree in nursing and taking a position in the maternity and high-risk maternity inpatient units at the Brigham.
About five years later, she wanted to return to her roots — the OR — and accepted a staff nurse position in General Surgery.
“I love the OR and its challenges, the teamwork with nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists and knowing that we’ve done some good for our patients,” said Doyle. “The OR is really my calling.”
Doyle says the ability of nurses to support patients and families is what makes the profession special and rewarding.
“It’s about sharing in what our patients are going through, being there for them and offering our understanding, whether you work in the OR, on inpatient floors or other areas,” Doyle said. “Patients are looking for someone who can be by their sides during difficult times. To know that I can help them in some way makes me feel like I’ve done something. As nurses, we’re there for our patients and their families.”
Seeking New Challenges
In 2012, Doyle decided to return to school once again to obtain her bachelor’s in nursing and graduated from Emmanuel College’s first RN-to-BSN program.
Seeking a new step in her career, she applied for and began in a charge nurse role, working nights and Sundays in the OR. “The charge nurse role was interesting to me because it really opens up the lines of communication, not just with nurses but with the entire team,” Doyle said. “We all work together for what’s best for the patient.”
Though Doyle never anticipated working at the same hospital for 51 years when she took her first surgical technologist position, she has stayed because of the opportunities available to advance her career and be part of the innovative nature of the OR and surgical care.
“All of these opportunities opened up, and I grabbed them,” she said. “I like being part of changes and new ideas, whether it’s new science, technology like surgical robots or new chemotherapy. I like the fast-paced environment of the OR.”
Doyle encourages new nurses just entering the profession to embrace new opportunities and growth. “There are challenges along the way, but the rewards of this role make it worth it,” she said.