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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Bridgid Joseph, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Training Center Coordinator in Boston's BIDMC Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

Bridgid Joseph

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When Bridgid Joseph first stepped foot on the infamous “Dustbowl” at Boston College, her home for the next four years, she wasn’t entirely sure where she might end up. Accepted into the School of Nursing based on her aptitude for science, she wasn’t convinced that she had made the right choice. So she decided to explore her options. She took a little of this and a little of that. It wasn’t until she walked through the doors of Mass General Hospital for her first clinical rotation that she finally felt at home. Taking in the sights and sounds and fueled by adrenaline, it finally hit her: Medicine was her calling. Bridgid graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2002, and officially embarked on a lifetime of helping others in need.

Bridgid began her nursing career on the transplant floor of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, MA. With a caseload of five patients per day, she learned the ropes. She provided physical therapy, patient and family education, and coordinated discharge planning. But amidst the busy work, what she truly provided was care. A listening ear, a hand to hold, and a hug for a family member were all part of a day’s work. 

In fewer than two years, she found herself on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit working as a Clinical Nurse. Her days and nights of work with transplant patients provided the skills she needed to care for patients gripping onto life in intensive care. It was there that she realized that she had an interest in critical care. While she spent most of her days caring for her patients, she used her remaining time to build upon her education.

Bridgid graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in May, 2008, with a Masters of Nursing and a new title: Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. It takes strength and courage under fire to care for the critically ill, and Bridgid had the passion for just that.

From there she went down to Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, LA, where she worked as a Critical Care Nurse Specialist. A clinical expert in her field, she provided staff education and updated hospital policies to be in line with current best practice standards. In October, 2009, New England called her home and she landed at Yale New Haven Hospital. Working as a Clinical Nurse of the Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit, she worked with gunshot and stabbing victims, along with massive car accidents, as is par for the course in a Level 1 Trauma center. The pace of the work was always fast. Patient care can truly change in a heartbeat, and quick instincts are vital. Bridgid, as it turned out, had the ability to assess patient needs quickly and accurately while providing comfort and education to the families in the waiting room.

In May, 2011, Bridgid made her way back to her true home in medicine, BIDMC. Taking a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Training Center Coordinator in the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Center, she currently provides both patient care and staff education. Upon noting a need for faster response, she initiated a Mock Code Program to improve staff response to cardiac emergencies. Given her expertise in her field, she has been called upon to provide trainings and education to staff. Whom You Know is honored to feature Bridgid Joseph especially at such a demanding time as our latest Mover and Shaker.  We commend her and everyone in Boston that has been committed to excel in the face of adversity.  Peachy Deegan interviewed Bridgid for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: When did you decide you wanted to become a nurse and what affected your decision?
Bridgid Joseph: I decided to become a nurse, truly because it was forced upon me by my mother, when I was applying for colleges, but I had always been interested in sciences and health growing up, and never had a weak stomach when it came to blood.

What is your first nursing memory, both nonprofessional and professional?
My first memory? When I was shadowing in an Emergency Department while I was in High School, and I saw a patient complaining of his head itching, and when I looked at his scalp, it was infested with maggots....and it was one of my first lessons that maggots can aid in healing by eating gangrene, so new tissue can grow. Creepy and cool all in one.

What did Miss Porter's school teach you and what do you love most about it?
MPS taught me how to appreciate myself for who I am; if I don't appreciate myself for being different, outspoken, and a complete wild card, who will?

Why did you want to attend Boston College, best college in the world?
My family members either went to Georgetown or Boston College. And I really was pining to go to school out in Los Angeles, but I decided to follow my sister's footsteps and go to helped that my best friend was also starting at the same time.

What did Boston College teach you and what do you love most about it?
Boston College was helpful in teaching me the basic tools I needed to be a Nurse, but my favorite part of BC was living with my best friend (from the age of 3) and being able to be roommates and share that time of growing up together.

How do you try to make the world excel, as in Ever to Excel?
I didn't do much to make the world excel, until I decided to start my blog ( to answer health questions for people worldwide. Questions that they may be too embarrassed to ask their own Healthcare Practitioner, but really want answers to. I have connected with more people, and truly feel like I have made a difference in many people's lives, whether it is by answering a health question, or assisting in healthier lifestyle choices.

If you were going to bet with Regis on the next Holy War, what would you bet and why?
I would clearly bet with my Alma Mater: Boston College because those Eagles are always on the warpath.

We give you a lot of credit because some people we know couldn't handle parts of the biology curriculum at MPS and followed that up with Chemistry in Society at BC which in our minds was far, far away from hospitals which make us pass out. How do you have nerves of steel when dealing with what makes many uneasy and squeamish?
Thank you. It really is just an innate trait; it makes me feel squeamish to imagine having to sit at a desk all day. I guess we all have our limits! There is always one thing that each Healthcare Professional cannot deal with, and my weak spot is eyeballs. I don't like touching them at all, and my anatomy class at BC where we had to cut into a cow eye to dissect it, really sealed the deal for me! No eyes! 

What made you become a nurse rather than a doctor or PA and why?
I became a Nurse because I love the bond that I have with my patients. Nursing is so much more than just medicine; it truly is caring about the patient, family, and helping them cope with a disease process and plan how to care for themselves when they are back at home. You form such a strong bond with patients when you are a Nurse because they almost automatically feel comfortable with you, more so than any other field in medicine. I think the experiences Nurses have with their patients effect both parties equally, and they have the same impact in my life that I have in theirs.

Tell us about your experience with the Terror Attack on Boylston Street please on Marathon Monday.
It was a horrible day, one that I will not forget, but one that made me so proud of all of the first responders throughout the city that worked quickly and efficiently to save so many lives. There were so many lives affected by the senseless bombing, traumas suffered by children and adults alike that were completely unnecessary; I saw more pain and fear on people's faces than I ever want to see again. 

What should everyone know about the attack on Boston that they don't know?
Most of the first responders were reacting and helping to save people without really knowing what was going on or happening at the time...or until hours later. 

What should most people know about what Boston is made of?
Boston will not allow terror to break it apart; it has only made us stronger. 

How can Americans stay strong, healthy and prevent terrorism?
I think the most important thing is to seek help if you are experiencing any Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but you need to live your life and not let the threat of terrorism get you down. You need to live the life that makes you happy, allows you to embrace the spirit of the freedom of the US. And, I think that performing random acts of kindness and focusing on the positive doesn't hurt either. 

What should people know about being a nurse that most people would not know?
It is really hard work. You must continuously work at educating yourself, learning best practices, and push others to do the same. As a nurse, you should never feel that you are done learning or that you know everything, because medicine is constantly evolving and we should all be constantly in a state of learning.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
My family, all of their love and support, has encouraged me to strive to be the best and excel in my profession.

What are you proudest of and why?
In my life, I am the proudest of my ability to land on my feet no matter what life has thrown at me, which is heavily related to the love and support of my family. Of course, I'm also very proud of my two dogs, who are therapy dogs, keep me sane, and completely rock my world.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
I'm not sure. I have had so many amazing opportunities, and I feel that the leadership at my hospital is so strong that they are constantly encouraging me to try new opportunities and develop as a professional. I would like to further my blog to assist more people in their search for a healthier lifestyle. I would also like to be able to find a better work/life balance. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
I have been awarded some grants and awards from the Sigma Theta Tau International (nursing honor society) and American Education Traineeship to assist with my Graduate studies and allow me to pursue research opportunities. 

What one word best describes you and why?
Unstoppable. When I set goals for myself, I attain them, no matter how tirelessly I have to work, or how long it takes me, I will always hit my goals.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan, and also Boston?
My favorite place in Manhattan is Bryant Park for an amazing lawn to hang with friends, catch a movie in the summer, or ice skate in the winter. And my favorite place in Boston is with my two dogs either running the beach or around the Emerald Necklace, to clear my head and spend time with my favorite little creatures. 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan, and also Boston?
My favorite store is sadly not city dependent: Bloomingdale's. I go. I shop. I conquer. 

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
If I could hire anyone, it would be Dumbledore so that he could give me that little locket he gave Hermione so she should could constantly hop around in time, so that I could actually get everything done that i have planned for each day and get enough sleep!

What is your favorite drink?
I love water, but if I am choosing an adult beverage, it would undoubtedly be a Macallan 25yr aged scotch 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
The funniest thing? Hmmm....diagnosing 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan, and also Boston?
My favorite restaurant in Manhattan is Highlands in the West Village because it was like stepping back into my favorite Edinburgh pub (which I miss all the time). And in Boston, I love Sel De La Terre on the waterfront because it is gorgeous and the food is just amazing.

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature, and also Boston?
My favorite Manhattan book is "Murder in Central Park" because I love solving a caper, and in Boston, I always have a soft spot for "Make way for Ducklings"

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
I would like to be the owner of Took a Leap Farm in Houlton, Maine, so I could spend all day with my favorite dwarf goat, Buttermilk, and learn more about organic and sustainable farming.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
What in Boston and why?
It would be the same in Manhattan and Boston: I would want a public garden named after me, that grows fruits and veg (organically) and supports the local area markets.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience, and also Boston?
Running in central park was a great experience, and in Boston I love running the Charles River in the spring, summer, fall (the winter it is a little creepy) but it is a beautiful view, it clears my head, and makes me so happy.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else, and also Boston?My favorite thing to do in Manhattan is meet up with my Miss Porter's Girls and have a good time exploring the city, just like high school all over again! In Boston, my new favorite thing is to explore different areas of the city that I don't know and 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
I would have dinner with my Dad who passed away right before I graduated High School when I was 17. It would be nice to catch up, get all of the advice that I missed from him while growing into the woman I am now.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience, and also Boston?
My best Manhattan music experience was seeing Super Diamond at the Highline Ballroom. 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
I donate a lot of time to various causes, such as dinners to women/children shelters with friends, and my blog is a public service that I run in my (very sparse) free time. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here, and also Boston?
I always think that touristy places are overrated, but I must say that I found Ellis Island (a stone's throw form Manhattan) really moving. And in Boston visiting the site of the Boston Tea Party is pretty overrated, but the Charlestown Navy Yard is so rich in American culture, and really underrated (It took me 8 years of living here to even see it!)

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
I do like to keep up with Better Living & Travel because every hip girl should be in the know, and planning their next trip!

Have you tried The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? 
I have not tried the Peachy Deegan. I don't drink much, and when I do, it's scotch. 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I have overcome a lot of obstacles in my life, which is one of the reasons that I tend to be headstrong and unstoppable, but also why I am able to empathize with many different people in all aspects of life. I am multifaceted, and I live to love and have fun, but I also work very hard. I love my family, I love my friends (who are an extension of my family), and I would not be where I am today, or who I am today, without them.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
If any readers have questions they can contact me through my blog:,, or twitter: @NurseBridgid

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