Helping Patients Breathe a Little Easier

Nicholas Jabre, M.D., grew up in a family of doctors. He developed an interest in airway diseases led him on the path to becoming a pediatric pulmonologist.

Nicholas Jabre, M.D.

Nicholas Jabre, M.D.

Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Spring 2022

Nicholas Jabre, M.D., is a pediatric pulmonologist and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined the hospital staff in 2020. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed his training in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, where he was part of the inaugural residency class.

Jabre then completed a clinical fellowship in pediatric pulmonology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in bioethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute.

His clinical interests include pediatric asthma, aerodigestive disorders, chronic mechanical ventilation, and bronchoscopy. His research has focused on parent-physician communication and how it affects decision-making around tracheostomy and home ventilation.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

Yes! It was never a question. I have a lot of doctors in my family. My dad is a retired neurosurgeon, my grandfather is a retired OB-GYN, my grandmother is a retired OR nurse, my uncle is a retired neurologist. I have medicine all throughout my family.

But none of them were pulmonologists or pediatricians, right?

I did a lot of soul searching about my specialty. I knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. I like taking care of kids. I also had an interest in airway diseases, so pediatric pulmonology was the perfect fit.

I also had asthma and I remember being on a variety of different inhalers myself. I can relate better to my patients because I’ve used many of the same medications that I prescribe for them.

You were in the inaugural pediatric residency class that was developed by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. What was that like?

It was a unique experience to be part of the first residency class. What surprised me the most (and drew me to the program) was our ability to have a significant influence on the factors that went into our own pediatric training, and an opportunity to shape the program and education for future residents who would follow us. It felt impactful to be part of that process and experience. As I have gone through my training and my first few years as an attending, I have seen the program continue to grow and it is very rewarding to have been part of that process.

What do you want your patients to know about your commitment to medicine?

I think it’s important to make important medical decisions with patients and their families. I like to talk with them about all their options, instead of being the one to tell them what they should do. Together, we can make the right decision. I like to think of it as “shared decision making.”

How did COVID-19 impact you?

I tried to build trust with my patients while giving sound medical advice. I can’t speak for other specialties, but with COVID-19 being a respiratory virus, I felt a big sense of responsibility that if someone is going to give patients and families the accurate info about COVID-19 and help protect themselves against it, I felt it had to come from me.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

I have a very tenacious Yorkie, named Cooper. I got him when I was a resident and he sort of became the unofficial mascot of my residency class. Because of my work schedule, he lives with my parents in Sarasota, so I still get to spend time with him every week. 

What makes you feel good at the end of your work day?

In my line of work, sometimes patients I treat will breathe better right away when I can open their lungs. But, most of the time, it’s a slow and steady improvement until the child is doing well. To me that’s like, wow, we worked hard to get to this point where we can say, we don’t have anything new to do and we’re going to see you in six months for a checkup. Those are the moments that make me think we did something really good for this patient. We figured it out. We got them on a good routine.