Red Sox Nurse: A Baseball Fan’s Dream Job
By Lee Nelson
The Red Sox Nation is comprised of some of the most die-hard fans in Major League Baseball. A few lucky fans, who happen to be nurses, get to spend their shifts in the middle of all the action at Fenway Park.
We interviewed Nurse Shelley Lynch, a former Red Sox Nurse and also top 10 Boston Red Sox “Nurse Hero.”
Lynch recalled her days at the ballpark, “when a ball or bat goes into the stands, I find myself tense until I know no one was injured,” she says. “Working at Fenway was directly related to my work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston. BIDMC is the proud sponsor of the Boston Red Sox. So I wouldn't have been able to do the job unless I was working in the ICU or ED at BIDMC.”
Shelley worked there for a few seasons while she still lived in Boston and before she and her husband, Chad, began having children. She is now a full-time lecturer at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, an ICU nurse at BIDMC and a Family Nurse Practitioner at Freccero Medical Associates. She and her husband run the ACLS Academy, an American Heart Association training in Quincy, Mass. They teach CPR to everyone from Girl Scouts to other healthcare professionals.
Each March, she goes with Partners in Development to Haiti to care for patients in a client in Port-au-Prince. She provides well-child check-ups and other duties as a family nurse practitioner.
Why did you want to be a nurse in the first place?
“It just fit with who I am– caring, loving, and compassionate. I always loved helping people.”
Where was your first job as a nurse and in what unit?
“I started off at the University Hospital in Syracuse, NY in the ICU.”
Tell us how you got started as a Red Sox nurse
“In 2011, some of my ICU colleagues were working the games, and I asked how I could start to work the games.” Shortly thereafter she started working the home games at Fenway Park.
What do you do as a nurse at a Red Sox game?
“We take care of the fans. There are three stations – home plate, green monster, and the first aid station. You rotate between the three places caring for the people in the stands. You work individually but with a team when working at Fenway. The team from BIDMC has one attending, one ED resident, one intern occasionally, three RNs, and one tech. We join the Cataldo EMS team when caring for the people in the stands.”
Explain how it works being an MLB nurse
“We basically set up the first aid station, then we pack travel bags which we carry around the ballpark along with a defibrillator. The bags have first aid equipment along with emergency equipment.”
How do you get a job with the Red Sox?
“You need to be working in ED or ICU at BIDMC. Then go through orientation to the ballpark.”
What are the pros/cons of the job?
“It’s flexible. This work is in addition to the work in the hospital. It is not paid overtime. Most people who do this role love the Red Sox. So, it is a fun way to watch the game.”
Do you need any special training?
ICU or ED, she says.
What was the absolute best day you’ve ever had as a Red Sox nurse?
“Every game I worked was the best day because I only was able to work a few home games a month. I just loved the energy of the ballpark when working a game.”
What was one of the worst days you had as a nurse with the Red Sox?
“Multiple rain delays which had me at the ballpark from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m.”
What are some of the other interesting things that happen when you were a Red Sox nurse?
“You get to eat a meal prior to the game in the Red Sox cafeteria. You will often see retired players or sportscasters, or have the opportunity to meet Wally.”
She also was honored for her efforts at Fenway when a patient had an accident in the men’s room. She and an EMT did everything to maintain the man’s dignity while helping him. Others at the scene said the two performed remarkably for what they had to endure in the bathroom.
How is the pay as a Red Sox nurse?
“It is the same rate as when I work a shift in the hospital.”
Through the years, Shelley has received numerous letters from patients and families expressing their gratitude for her compassion. She also was honored by the Massachusetts State Police at the State House for saving a life at the airport.