As a bedside nurse at St. Dominic Hospital for nearly seven years, Brandy Greer, MSN, RN, knows what it means to balance work, life and play.
As an avid sports fan who loves to travel to see her beloved Boston Red Sox, the flexibility in scheduling the health system allows gives Brandy the balance she craves.
When she joined St. Dominic’s, Brandy was also serving in the military, and she went back to school to earn her nurse practitioner degree.
“My boss was there through every bit of my transition from starting NP school, finishing up school clinicals and my military requirements that I had to fulfill,” Brandy says.
balancing military service and nursing
In her first role at St. Dominic’s Brandy worked a typical Monday through Friday shift, which was difficult given her military commitments, which were her priority at the time. For a brief time, Brandy worked at another hospital.
“The environment was not what I had envisioned,” she said. “I had some friends who ended up transferring back to St. Dominic’s and we came together.” The new role accommodated her desire for more flexibility in her schedule.
how patients inspire
Brandy loves her work as a nurse caring for patients as part of St. Dominic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.
“I work on a stroke unit where patients that come in have some form of a deficit. They have had some form of their world completely stripped from them, and most of them are down,” Brandy says. “If they look at the big picture they’re going to be discouraged, but if you can just think of something that you couldn’t do two days ago and learn to appreciate and be thankful for the small victories in life, it will get better.”
Because of her schedule, Brandy gets to see her patients’ progression in recovery.
“It truly makes a difference to know that you did something for them,” she says. “Their strength keeps giving me strength, which helps me know that I’m still where I need to be.”
returning to a bedside role during COVID-19
Since leaving the military, Brandy’s priorities have shifted to include traveling, home life and other extracurricular activities including continuing her education. “St. Dominic’s is really good about education reimbursement,” she says.
After finishing her master’s degree, Brandy briefly moved to a clinic role. “I came back to the bedside because I felt that I was needed here given everything that was going on with COVID,” she says.
COVID-19 brought so many changes to healthcare, maybe the most to nursing with the explosion of travel contracts. Brandy has a positive spin on the trend.
“All the traveling nurses have brought in new ideas from all over the country, things that we may not have thought about before,” she says. “With so many new ideas it’s a complete evolution and it changes every day.”
feeling supported and empowered
“I feel so comfortable here,” Brandy says. “It was an easy choice to stay. My manager and other leaders play a heavy role in that decision. You have a lot of support through all levels of St. Dominic’s from your direct manager to their management above. They treat us like colleagues.”
Brandy’s boss and team have really gotten to know her, and they have each other’s backs. She says that camaraderie would be hard to duplicate somewhere else.
“One thing that I wish someone would have told me when I started is you don’t have to know it all,” she says. “I don’t have to know everything about it, and it takes time.”
To nurses who are considering where to go in their career, Brandy says St. Dominic’s has an open and empowering atmosphere.
“With nursing the way that it is, when you’re hired there are so many open avenues for you. It’s not just bedside care,” she says. “Whichever type of personality that you have, there’s something at St. Dominic’s here for you. The culture allows you to dig in as far as you want to — it’s up to you what your career choices would be. Make sure you make your career work for you.”
Finding balance in her work and life and taking regular breaks keeps Brandy connected to her work. “It’s completely empowering to a life outside of St. Dominic’s,” she says. “Otherwise, you’re going to burn out and you’re going to go look for something else.”
Someday down the line, Brandy says she will leave her bedside role for a clinic position and use her master’s degree.
“But for now I want to bloom where I’m planted,” she says. “I don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential. There are so many avenues that you can take through the doors at St. Dominic’s, and I have a really good thing here.”