Meet the Top Nurses Around the Main Line in 2023

Meet the Top Nurses Around the Main Line in 2023

Photos by Tessa Marie Images

Where would the Main Line region be without these unheralded caregivers? Ladies (and gentleman), here’s your curtain call.

Melissa Chinicci

Nursing Legend

Melissa Chinnici, RN, BSN

Melissa Chinnici has her aunt to thank for the initial inspiration to pursue nursing. Still, she always knew she wanted to help people—and that her personality was suited for it. Since graduating from Gwynedd Mercy University, Chinnici has worked as a nurse in long-term care and subacute rehabilitation. She values her relationships with coworkers, and she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. “Staff appreciate it when you’re willing to help out when things get crazy,” she notes.

Nothing was more challenging for Chinnici than the COVID unit. “I don’t know how I got through,” she notes.

When things get crazy, she encourages new hires not to get discouraged. “I tell them to observe another nurse do something they haven’t done at least once before they try it—have someone there to coach you along as you go,” she says. “Time management skills and learning how to prioritize tasks come with experience.”

Looking ahead, Chinnici hopes nurses continue to be embraced as the professionals they are. “Poor staffing is normalized at this point, and the acuity in patients is only rising as technology improves and inpatient hospital stays get shorter,” she says.

Chinnici’s own long days are driven by the reality of the nursing shortage and a desire to support her family. “My patients actually say they miss me when they notice I’ve had a day off,” she says.

Bernadette Dugan, RN

The oldest of six kids, Bernadette Dugan was the one who fixed boo-boos and comforted hurt feelings. Just about everybody called her Bunny due to the plethora of Bernadettes her age. “Except my siblings,” she notes. “They called me Bossy.”

Growing up in Philadelphia, Dugan spent some time in the hospital for dehydration as a child. “It wasn’t a big-deal illness, but the nurses were just so amazing,” she says. “I always wanted to be a nurse.”

In 1976, Dugan was licensed at the Philadelphia General Hospital, which closed a year later. She’d been an ER nurse for 16 years when her father was diagnosed with cancer and wound up in Fox Chase Cancer Center hospice under the care of Terre Mirsch in 1990. “Terre made herself part of our family in a day,” Dugan recalls. “In one single day, she served each one of us and took charge.”