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Joyce Mancini


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“I know now that when you’re taking care of a patient, you’re caring for the entire family.”

Assistant Professor of Nursing

MassBay’s Assistant Professor of Nursing Joyce Mancini always knew she wanted to teach. “I felt it would be rewarding,” she says, “and I found myself doing it anyway. I love it. I really love it. It’s better than working on a floor. Seeing students graduate, and knowing you’ve been a part of it is really very rewarding. Making a difference – that’s what it’s all about.”

While Joyce has only been teaching at MassBay for more than two years, her perspective on teaching and on the nursing profession changed forever eight years ago. It was then that she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. “There was no family history. I was only 34, with a 2-year-old. I thought this doesn’t happen to someone who’s 34,” she says. To complicate matters, the same week of her diagnosis, Joyce learned she was pregnant.

“It was a very emotional time,” she says. “The first thing I asked was, ‘Am I going to die?’ Then I thought about what’s the next step – what do I need to do. As it turned out, I was doing more consoling to everyone else – I guess that’s because I’m a nurse,” she says.

Initially, Joyce was informed by her oncologist that she would have to terminate her pregnancy. But an appointment with her OB/GYN doctor gave her hope that she could keep the baby.

Today, Joyce’s sons Derek, 11, and Michael, 8 are both healthy and happy. And while dealing with breast cancer is never easy, Joyce is convinced that her experience has made her a better instructor.

“I know now that when you’re taking care of a patient, you’re caring for the entire family,” she explains. “It is important to share all the information you can with the family, because in my case my husband spent so much time researching the subject online that I think he essentially became the doctor! But now, when students ask about sharing bad news to their patients and ask me, ‘What do I say? What do I do?’ I know how to teach them.”

“I can’t stand pity,” she adds. “I’m more than just a person with cancer. This experience taught me that anything’s possible. You have to stay strong and stay positive. There is always a light at the end of a tunnel.” MassBay is proud to spotlight Assistant Professor Joyce Mancini of our Nursing Department for her courageous fight against cancer, for her perseverance, and for her unwavering passion for teaching.