Meet CHA Nurse Manager Gilberto Gamba

09/16/2020
Pictured is CHA nurse manager Gilberto Gamba.

Before greeting his wife and two daughters after an intense day caring for patients, Gilberto has a ritual. He walks into his garage where a makeshift sanitation station is set up, removes all of his clothing that he wore to work at CHA Cambridge Hospital, washes his hands, and then quickly jumps into the shower. Every day throughout the COVID-19 surge in Massachusetts (nearly three months) Gilberto performed this important chore to keep his family safe. "We all had concerns for our own families while caring for 2patients with COVID-19 and small steps like cleaning, washing your hands, and proper hygiene go a long way to stopping the spread," said primary care nurse manager Gilberto Gamba.

Since joining CHA in 2017, Gilberto has been the nurse manager at multiple primary care clinics in Cambridge and Somerville. He is also a clinical instructor in nursing at Regis College and spent nearly 25 years in nursing education and informatics.

Responding to COVID-19 in Massachusetts

 In early April 2020 everything changed and he moved into a new role managing nursing staff at newly established Comfort Care units at CHA Cambridge and Everett Hospitals. Gilberto had not been at the bedside for nearly ten years. "Stepping back into a role at the bedside was amazing and seeing my colleagues take on new responsibilities brought us all together in a really special way," said Gilberto. Comfort Care provided compassionate end-of-life care in a specialized inpatient setting during the height of the surge.

On one afternoon, Gilberto was rounding on the halls and heard soft singing emanating from one of the rooms at the Comfort Care unit at CHA Cambridge Hospital. "One of our nurses was sitting beside a patient who had no family and she was trying to put the patients' mind at ease," said Gilberto. The patient's primary care provider, their only real connection to the outside world, also called every day to check-in. According to Gilberto small acts of kindness like this happened every day on the units as staff went above and beyond to ease pain.

Outside of his role at CHA, Gilberto volunteers with Project PaceMaker International, a non-profit organization that provides modern cardiac therapy to people in the developing world. For the past 20 years, he has traveled to Bolivia with a team to provide pacemakers to rural populations. Working internationally helps to inform his outlook on providing care at CHA.

"CHA is a special place and diversity is at the heart of our mission and outlook," said Gilberto. "Often, we are helping people who would otherwise not have access to healthcare unless CHA existed to meet their needs." Diversity, according to Gilberto, extends into the organization itself as staff and providers come together from different backgrounds and lived experiences to put the patient first. "At CHA, no one works independently and care is provided through compressive teams," said Gilberto. "We know that we cannot accomplish anything by ourselves and great teams here making everything possible."

It's Safe to Get Care

"Now is a great time to reach out to your primary care team to get care," said Gilberto. CHA has created a safe space for staff, patients, and visitors in the midst of COVID-19. "Evidence shows that masks, gloves, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and thorough cleaning keep people safe," said Gilberto, "CHA may not be the biggest system in the state but we take quality and safety precautions seriously to keep everyone safe."

Many appointments at CHA are now by video or phone (telehealth). This includes video visits using Google Meet. CHA is the first health system in the country to connect Google Meet with MyChart - making it easy to have a video visit (even three-way visits with an interpreter) while keeping information safe.

If you have a new or ongoing health concern, don't wait. Just call or send CHA a MyChart message. We can help decide if a video, phone or in-person visit is right for you. We continue to gradually reopen for face-to-face visits, starting with the most pressing needs. If you are coming in person, please know we are working hard to keep you safe.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.