A 36-year member of the MGH community – and a familiar face of MGH Nursing – will soon be welcomed as the hospital’s new senior vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nurse. 

Debra A. Burke, RN, DNP, MBA, NEA-BC – who joined the MGH in 1981 and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as associate chief nurse for women and children, mental health, the MGH Cancer Center and Community Health Nursing Practice – will take the helm Jan. 1, 2018. 

“I’ve worked here for more than 30 years, and I embrace our four-pronged mission,” says Burke. “Every day at the MGH, I feel like I’m part of the mission, vision and values of our organization. This place really resonates with me, and it feels like exactly the right place.”

The announcement comes following a year-long nationwide search to find a successor for Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, NEA-BC, FAAN, who has served as chief nurse for the past 21 years and who will remain active with several hospital initiatives.

“I’m coming into a job with really seasoned, outstanding leaders and staff,” Burke says. “In the beginning, I think it’s really about getting to know people better. I already have worked closely with so many of our talented nurses and health professionals, but I am looking forward to introducing myself to those I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting. I think relationship building, visibility and accessibility are extremely important and part of the key to success.”

Burke started her career as a staff nurse in MGH Thoracic Surgery, became a clinical teacher in the Surgery and Trauma Services, worked as a nurse manager in Vascular Surgery and Vascular Home Care and later as a clinical nurse for the Boston Red Sox. She has played a major role in a number of MGH initiatives – including the Autism Care Collaborative, the Unit Coordinator Role Redesign team and the Partners Nursing Agency Tiger Team. Burke received her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Northeastern University – where she now is an affiliate associate professor – and a master’s degree in Nursing/Business Administration from Salem State College. 

“The MGH is the premier health care organization in the country, and the care that all disciplines and support staff provide gives me great pride,” says Burke. “Our staff are highly skilled and passionate about what they do. And I love that the MGH is always pushing to be better. That’s the type of organization that I’m passionate about and am excited to work in every single day.”

This article was originally published in the 10/27/17 Hotline issue.