Margaret (Meg) McCabe, DNSc, PNP has an extremely busy professional and personal life filled with 3 jobs, 4 children and a husband, but she has found balance as evidenced by her success in both areas. Her nursing career has taken her from Buffalo to Chicago to NYC with a short stop in Rural Michigan settling in Boston, Massachusetts and her journey illustrates that one never knows where their career path will lead.
Dr. McCabe, received her UG degree from Niagara University (NU), Niagara Falls, NY, her Master’s from University at Buffalo School of Nursing (UB SON) in 1986 and her DNSc from Rush University, Chicago. She went on to complete two Post-Doctorate Fellowships, one in Boston at the Harvard School of Public Health Nursing Research Institute and a second at Yale University under the tutelage of Dr. Margaret Grey studying chronic fatigue in children.
Currently, Meg is the Director of Nursing Research for the Medical Services of Boston Children’s Hospital. This role involves supporting staff education and promoting evidence based practice (EBP) and research by working with staff in groups and one to one mentoring. The EBP projects generally involve quality improvement initiatives and lead to larger scale clinical nursing research projects. She is able to do this while maintaining her own program of research focusing on fatigue in children, specifically chronically ill children including those with inflammatory bowel disease and cancer and the Bio-Behavioral aspects of their fatigue. Additionally, Meg teaches in 2 programs of nursing. At Boston College, she coordinates the senior synthesis program for those senior nursing student who are at Children’s Hospital of Boston. This program is taken the last semester of their senior year and involves one on one mentoring of students by baccalaureate prepared preceptors in an intensive clinical experience. The other teaching position for Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in their Institute for Health Professions involves teaching graduate research design to nursing students as well as other health professional graduate students. Meg teaches basic elements of research design for clinical inquiry emphasizing the process of developing clinically relevant and feasible research questions, concepts of reliability and validity in measurement and design, and the application of a variety of research designs for answering questions of clinical interest.
Meg’s journey began at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (CHOB) while still an UG student at NU. During the summer of her junior year she was given the opportunity to work closely with staff nurses as a student nurse assistant. In this role she found the staff nurses eager to take her under their wing in order to help nurture her future career as an RN. This position eventually led to her first staff RN job upon graduation and sparked Meg’s lifelong interest in pediatrics, prompting her to begin the UB Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program shortly after graduation. After graduation from UB’s PNP program Meg took a position at CHOB as a PNP in the area of rehabilitation for a short time. She then moved to Chicago to pursue her doctoral studies at Rush University and completed some course work at the University of Chicago in the area of measurement to augment her studies at Rush. After receiving her DNSc she moved to New York City to work with the New York State Health Department studying the effects of acupuncture on crack addicted women. She moved on to take a teaching position at New York University (NYU) to help start their PNP program. Her next stop was Boston, Massachusetts working as a Nurse Manager for an adolescent clinic while teaching at Boston College (BC) part time while completing her first post-doctorate. After this she and her husband a physician moved to Greenville, Michigan. While he was working as a Medical Director for a Nursing Home she had a position at Grand Valley State teaching in their PNP program. Her husband received a Geriatric Fellowship at Harvard which brought the newly expanded family (twins) back to Boston and on to a new career phase.
Dr. McCabe is presently starting a pediatric clinical research project monitoring inpatient hospital environment and how changes in environment can be implemented to improve sleep in hospitalized children. When asked how she chose her research focus she notes that she became fascinated with the concept of measurement and quantitative research while working as PNP at CHOB with Dr. Carl Granger a podiatrist who studied functional independence measures. Then she became interested in chronic health issues while doing her doctoral work in Chicago. Her research interests solidified during one of her fellowships where she worked with children with chronic health problems and their perception of health status, specifically focusing on health outcomes and adding the thread of chronic fatigue.
When asked about her time at UB she offers that both Dr. Patricia Castiglia and Dr. Peggy Chin served as mentors to her as a PNP student and had influenced her career path. She found both to be engaging, informative and extremely interested in their students.
As for advice to current students embarking on a nursing career, Dr. McCabe pulls from her continued involvement with students through her current teaching positions and states “there are so many career opportunities in nursing and students should keep their options open, try something new even though it may seem that it is not right for you. You never know it may be a career changer and lead to something that IS RIGHT!”