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Spotlight on Nursing Professional Development Specialist Melissa Gorman

Melissa Gorman

For fifteen years, Shriners Children’s Boston’s clinical education department has been guided by the experienced hand of Melissa Gorman, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN-K. A certified pediatric nurse practitioner by training, Melissa has previous work experience as a pediatric intensive care unit registered nurse (RN) and as an emergency department RN, before coming to Shriners Children’s Boston as the clinical education coordinator. This fall, Melissa is taking on a new role as the nursing professional development specialist, a Shriners Children’s Home Office position. Melissa will still be based in Boston, but this new, regional role will also cover the Springfield, Philadelphia and Erie facilities.

Melissa was first introduced to Shriners Children’s Boston through an externship program during nursing school, an experience that helped to define her career path. “Seeing patients work so hard to recover and leave the hospital after sustaining a major burn injury was an unforgettable example of how resilient children are,” said Melissa. She recalled one patient who spent many weeks in the hospital that summer, waking up from a major surgery with a smile and immediately asking for a cheeseburger. “Moments like that, and the displays of resilience I see today, still remind me of why I chose pediatrics,” she said.

Much of her role involves working with every department in the hospital to review policies and procedures, and update practices where needed. “I’m always learning something,” said Melissa. “From my perspective, I need to consider the needs of the hospital as a whole. I can’t really have tunnel vision. I have to be able to step back and take in the bird’s-eye view of how all of the departments work together. I couldn’t do my job without interacting with all the other departments. I have an appreciation for everyone’s expertise and specialty, and I appreciate if I don’t know something I can pick up the phone and find someone who will know.”

Melissa training a nurse

Melissa spearheads educational opportunities in every department of Shriners Children’s Boston, leading initiatives like this IV insertion training for nurses.

When asked about some of her favorite Shriners Children’s Boston moments, Melissa reflected on her wonderful experiences with patients and staff members. “At Shriners Children’s Boston, the staff really does put the patient first,” she said. “No one person or department can provide the best patient outcomes on their own, they absolutely need the physicians, nurses, pharmacy, rehabilitation and therapy, child life services, nutrition, psychology and more. You need all of these people in order for the child to have the best outcome and I feel like the people here really get that more so than anywhere else.”

Melissa’s education as a nurse practitioner has helped with her role at Shriners Children’s Boston in continuing to educate staff members to give the best care possible. This is accomplished through different methods such as planning critical care classes, conducting orientations and managing educational seminars. Her work goes a long way in inspiring her colleagues, including the Inpatient Unit Practice Council members who are creating interactive modules to prepare for future certification for burn care nurses. “It is rewarding to see staff so invested in the continuation of their education,” said Melissa.

One of her favorite things to teach are emergency training simulations. An example she gave was a recent mock Code Blue exercise. A Code Blue is a universal hospital response when a person or patient is not responsive and/or needs medical attention. “It’s a lot of preparation to set up,” said Melissa.” But then when it’s over and you feel like everyone left knowing something they didn’t know before they came, it totally makes it worth it.”

Melissa during training simulation

During Nurse's Week Melissa helped design an escape room with nursing-specific challenges, with a prize awarded to the team who escaped the room in the shortest time.

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