‘I’m the calm before the storm.’

Sylvia(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

Sylvia Noel Fagan

Administrative Associate, Cardiac Surgery

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I’ve been here for 18 years — first in Cardiology and now in Cardiac Surgery. I’m the administrative assistant for Drs. Emani and Kaza, but I do a little of everything. With eight surgeons and four assistants, we all help each other out.

In person, I call some of the doctors by their first names — Ram, A.K., Francis … I like that. We have a great relationship. When I have a problem, I feel like I can really talk to them. In this department, we all care for each other.

I sit at the front desk, so I’m often the first person families meet. When they come in for a consult with a surgeon, of course they’re nervous. I try to calm them down and help out by distracting the kids. Sometimes it’s too much for a child to hear how a surgeon is going to operate, so I bring them out to color or play on my computer.

I always try to put myself in our families’ position. I had a mother call the other day, and the person she was looking for wasn’t available. I could tell she needed someone to talk to, so I stayed on the phone with her for a half hour, past the time I usually leave to go home. If I were calling and the person I needed wasn’t available, I would want someone to hear me out.

It’s a stressful time, so I always try to be calm. I’m the calm before the storm.

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