SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Six months ago, Michele Doolittle became the nurse manager of the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Health Hospital, but she’s been a registered nurse in that same ICU for 23 years.

“Being a nurse seemed to be the perfect fit for me, even as child, always nurturing, liking to care for people,” Doolittle said.

It’s in her blood.

“All of my siblings are in the medical field now,” Doolittle added. “Three of the four of us are RNs in certain aspects.”

Doolittle is from Central New York and graduated from St. Joseph’s College of nursing. The ICU was where she wanted to be. It’s her life’s mission to help patients, especially those nearing the end of theirs.

“Being able to help people through this transition is very fulfilling for me. I cry with families. I feel their pain.”

Michele Doolittle, Nurse Manager of the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Health Hospital

While the job can take its toll, there are those special moments Michele holds close.

“My peers and the support I’ve gotten from them. The transition of new nurses coming in and being able to teach them the pearls of wisdom that we’ve been handed down from the people that were here before us,” she said.

“I actually use her as my biggest resource,” said Joseph Doolitte. “I used her knowledge and her experience during school.”

Joseph works down the hall from Michele in the Cardiovascular ICU. He’s a registered nurse and her son.

“It kind of feels like the family business. You know, I’m the next generation of it, carrying it on,” he said.

He initially wanted to be a doctor, but seeing the care his grandmother received in this same ICU, changed his mind. He also graduated from St. Joseph’s College of nursing.

We asked Joseph what some of the biggest lessons his mom taught him about being a nurse were.

“I would say the biggest one is to treat the patients as if they’re your own family,” Joseph said.

“I’m proud of the opportunity to be able to work with my son,” Michele responded.

The feeling is mutual.

“If anything, it’s made me a better nurse,” Joseph said.

Care and compassion — all in a days work for this family.