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Gabe Brunelli, RN
As Gabe Brunelli approached his thirties, he found himself reevaluating his career. A 15-year veteran of the transportation industry, Brunelli says, "I always liked helping people, and I got to do that in my job, but not enough. It was time for a change." Seeking greater job satisfaction and security, he decided to pursue a career in nursing.
Brunelli enrolled in the Community College of Rhode Island's nursing program, attending school nights and weekends while continuing to work days. During this time, he also got married and started a family. "Looking back, I'm not really sure how I did it," Brunelli laughs, "But I definitely had a lot more focus and ambition than I did in my twenties."
After completing his nursing degree in 2006, Brunelli began Newport Hospital's graduate nursing program, and says he knew right away that he was in a great environment. "I was impressed with how much tenure so many of the nurses had," he says. "Some of them had been at Newport 10, 15, even 30 years. It’s hard to believe I’m now one of those nurses, as I enter my fifteenth year at Newport Hospital."
Brunelli's first three years of nursing were spent in Newport Hospital's float pool. Brunelli gained experience in almost all areas of the hospital, but mostly enjoyed the ED, where he still works today. "I found a good fit there. I like the quick pace and the variety of work. You become a specialist in a little bit of everything," he says. Brunelli's colleagues began requesting him for their shifts, and he was offered an overnight full-time position in the ED in the spring of 2009. One of his favorite projects while working in the ED was providing input for the design process of the multimillion-dollar ED renovation.
"The skills I've learned on the job have been unbelievable," Brunelli says, describing how on a return flight from a Caribbean vacation in 2010, he assisted a fellow passenger who lost consciousness. "My emergency skills just kicked in."
Brunelli worked the 12-hour overnight shift for 13 years, which worked well with his family schedule at the time. Now, he has been able to transition to the opposite with 12-hour day shifts instead, and has enjoyed the flexibility and accommodating schedule changes.
Gabe was the recipient of the 2021 Newport Hospital Nursing Excellence Award, which is designed to honor a registered nurse who provides direct patient care. He has been instrumental over the years in advancing nursing practice, patient experience and patient flow in the ED and is involved in numerous hospital and ED initiatives. He is chair of the Professional Practice Council, which sets standards for nursing practice and governance in the ED and contributed to designing and planning the renovation and expansion of the ED. He is also a member of the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Committee. Gabe serves as ED Charge Nurse and precepts many new nurses to the ED. Gabe is certified to teach Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support classes with our education department.