Like Mother, Like Daughter: Meet MSK Pediatric Nurses Roseann and Gabriella Tucci

By Meredith Begley,

Gabriella and Roseann Tucci pose on a Pediatrics floor
Summary

Formative experiences with her mom, Roseann, at a summer camp for children with cancer led Gabriella Tucci into nursing. Today, she and her mom work with current and former patients of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Gabriella Tucci gave her mom, Roseann, the mother of all compliments by following in her footsteps and becoming a pediatric nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Roseann is a nurse practitioner in MSK’s Survivorship Program. As a clinical nurse, Gabriella works on MSK’s pediatric inpatient floor. Here, the mother and daughter share what they’ve learned from each other on and off the job.

How did you get your start at MSK?

Roseann Tucci: I started as a new graduate nurse on an adult floor and then transferred to the pediatrics unit a year later. I also volunteered as a nurse at a sleepaway summer camp for children with cancer called Happiness Is Camping. Some MSK pediatric patients attend this camp. Since Gabriella was a young girl, she’s always attended with me.

Gabriella Tucci: Even before I worked as a counselor there, I would stay in the cabins with the other campers. I became friends with some of them, and it was nice to hear their success stories. I was also able to see my mother in action as a nurse.

Roseann: (To Gabriella) You always had an interest in nursing, but your specific desire to work in pediatrics developed, I believe, due to your summer camp experiences.

Gabriella: Especially with pediatric oncology. I always knew I wanted to become a nurse, but at camp I realized I wanted to work in pediatric oncology.

Roseann: And now she’s a nurse at the camp too!

At MSK, we know what to look for in terms of late effects in childhood cancer survivors, and we understand what they've been through.
Roseann Tucci
Roseann Tucci nurse practitioner
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Gabriella, when you were growing up, what did you observe about your mother’s career?

Gabriella: I knew she was a nurse and took care of sick children, but I never asked specific questions.

Roseann: I wanted Gabriella and her sisters to see me more as a working mom. I believe it is important for young women to have female role models who are dedicated and enjoy their work. The kids I worked with were very sick, and I didn’t want to share their struggles with my girls when they were young. But as they grew, I did share some stories. Patients are so very courageous and inspiring.

Gabriella: I didn’t understand or know firsthand those stories until I started working on the inpatient pediatric unit in 2012. In the beginning, it took time. It was difficult to see sick children suffer and to understand everything about pediatric oncology. But as the years go on, I feel more and more experienced and confident in my role.

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Roseann, how did you feel when Gabriella told you she wanted to work here?

Roseann: I was very happy. She started at MSK as a nursing student for her internship, and she really liked it, so I said, “Why don’t you apply for a job when you pass your boards and graduate?” And she did.

Gabriella: During my internship I really bonded with the nurses and patients. There are some patients I’m treating who were here when I was an intern. You grow a bond with these families.

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You both understand the rigors of pediatric oncology. How do you support each other?

Gabriella: I tell her everything. She is someone I lean on for support and guidance.

Roseann: Sometimes she’ll tell me about a diagnosis that she thinks has a poor prognosis, and I’ll tell her we follow quite a few survivors who have it. There’s always hope, and that’s what I’ve found in my job. Some survivor stories are truly miracles.

Gabriella: It’s amazing. Those survivor stories give me so much hope for my patients.

Roseann: Today in the Survivorship Clinic, I see patients who I actually took care of in the 1980s. You see them when they’re really sick, and now they’re all grown up. Some are working; some are married with their own children. And some are still battling the late effects of their disease and treatment. I also follow four or five patients who have become MSK nurses! My work is challenging and rewarding.

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How have you seen treatments for pediatric cancer change over the years?

Roseann: Treatments were different back then. Now, the radiation is more precise; the chemotherapy is more tolerable. There’s a lot more immunotherapy coming our way. Survival rates for many pediatric cancers have increased. At MSK, we know what to look for in terms of late effects in childhood cancer survivors, and we understand what they’ve been through. (To Gabriella) Maybe as the years go on you’ll see that the patients do better with fewer side effects because the treatments have improved.

Gabriella: There are also more clinical trials. There are a couple of kids on our floor getting drugs no one’s ever had before because they just started as clinical trials.

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What have you taught each other about nursing?

Roseann: I say to her, “You have to give patients hope.” The teenagers who want to sleep late, you should encourage them to get up if they’re able to. For example, if the teacher is coming at 12 o’clock, that gives them hope: “Maybe she thinks I really am going to get better and take those SATs next month.” Little things like that help. And sometimes she is able to tell her patients about the Survivorship Clinic, which also gives them hope.

Gabriella: I would say she taught me to be patient. It’s a very demanding floor. But I see how patient, kind, and compassionate she is. This is what she inspired me to be. She’s a role model not only for me as her daughter but for her patients and other nurses. I am so fortunate to have her as my lifelong role model, mentor, and most importantly, my mother.

Roseann: (To Gabriella) You’ve taught me about kindness. You go above and beyond for your patients. I am inspired by this new generation of nurses who choose this challenging career.

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Comments

What a wonderful exemplar of how exposure to the discipline can draw another person into the profession. These two woman exemplify the true meaning of nurse... Thank you Roseann and Gabriella for your commitment to our patients, their families and the profession.

you are each such wonderful nurses and so inspiring! I feel lucky to have worked with you both!

I have the pleasure to call Roseann my friend who I met through Mentoring@MSK, and I have met Gabriella who is just as wonderful as her mom. Thank you for sharing!

Two of the very best!! I am blessed and honored to work with both Gabby and Roseann (my longtime friend and colleague whom I admire immensely!!).

Such a beautiful example of compassion, strength and dedication from Mother to Daughter and now Daughter to her own patients. I love this story!

Bravo, Tucci girls!!! Well done.

Roseann has been my daughter, Melissa’s nurse in and off for over 31 yrs. I’m sure that with a mentor and example like her, Gabriella will follow and be just as wonderful as her mom. MSKCC is very lucky as are their patients to have them both.

Gabbie or Tucci as is fondly called is such a passionate and caring person who truly loves her job. She makes nursing look easy and enjoyable as she is so kind. Some patients can be difficult and will say mean things through anger and frustrations and it's so funny to see a nurse saying " I was so mad....yet smiling from ear to ear.....who ever feels mad but keep smiling then go back for more?? Gabbie Tucci does!!

Roseann has been my daughter's nurse on and off for over 30 years. Gabriella is lucky to have such a wonderful example and mentor as her mother. I am certain that she will go on to be as kind and as caring as her mom. MSKCC is lucky to have them but the patients and families are the truly blessed people. God bless them both!

What a wonderful story about Roseann and Gabriella. I am lucky to have worked with Roseann many years ago when we were young , new grads on the Pediatric floor. The patients are blessed to have Roseann and now her daughter there caring for them.

Roseann and Gabriella are inspiring role models for us all. Your pediatric family is very proud of all you have accomplished and our families so fortunate to have your expert care and support.

What a wonderful story ! The pediatric patients are fortunate to have either of you caring for them ! ♥

Roseann Tucci has been a pleasure to get to know through our work together with Mentoring@MSK. It does not surprise me that her daughter became a nurse. She is a great role model and mentor for professional nurses!

Oh my gosh Roseann I couldn't believe this was you in the picture. I had to do a double take. I think you will still remember my son Todd. I can't say enough about you and the wonderful pediatric nurse that you are. I will also be grateful to you for the loving care you gave so freely. Gabriella is beautiful and you must be so proud to have her follow in your footsteps. MSK is lucky to have you both. Your blog made my day. <3 Elaine

My 30 year old daughter has been seeing Roseann Tucci at the Survivor's Clinic for a number of years. Although my daughter is a survivor of childhood leukemia, going to the medical visits as an adult survivor is still frightening for both of us even after all these years. However, when we see Roseann, the fear just drops away. She is a brilliant knowledgeable nurse and embraces the "whole patient," concerning herself with both physical and emotional health of the patient. I can't say enough good things about Roseann Tucci.

Gabby was one of the first nurses my 10 year old son had. She was so patient with him. Super patient. And she has the best personality. She made the scary things tolerable. And she made the annoying and painful feel like nothing. When I just showed Jonathan the picture in this article, he was so happy to see Gabby even though it's been so long since he has seen her. She is a bright spot in a dark world and we are lucky to have had her as our nurse!

What a wonderful and inspiring story..I might be a bit partial but Pediatrics has the best nursing staff.

Roseann, You know how I feel. It seems like only yesterday when we started on "M-5." A million memories and poignant moments. I see Elaine Rado posted and I remember them so well. You must be so proud of your beautiful daughter. Wishing you both love and laughter, strength and joy. Whatever love we gave the children was returned to us a thousandfold. xoxo

What a wonderful article! I am blessed to be a patient of Roseann’s in the survivorship program @MSKCC. She is so passionate about what she does and I’m not surprised her daughter has been influenced to pursue this very important work. Kudos to you both!!

What a wonderful legacy! . Roseann’s kindness and nursing expertise has obviously been passed on to Gabriella. It is a joy to see and certainly a gift to all of their patients.

Have had the pleasure of working with both the wonderful Tuccis in Pediatrics and at Camp. Awesome as nurses, individuals and mother-daughter unit!.

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