SURGE! From O-R, new broker Nicole Geleynse brings surgical focus to R-E

by Tara Gilligan Reimer


The newest broker at Gateway exudes competence and confidence.

She’s the kind of person you want in your corner. Or, at your kitchen table.

(Even, on your side in a bar fight. Let’s just pretend, for emphasis of teamwork.)

How about in your operating room? She’ll be there.

That’s because Nicole Geleynse is a seasoned operating room (OR) nurse. And she’s bringing all her cool-calm-and-collected to her beloved real estate (RE) terrain of Skagit County.

Here’s a cross-over career with a serious backstory: from Island Health to RE/MAX Gateway.

Scalpel? She’s got that. CMA (comparative market analysis)? She’s got that, too.

‘I love caring for people’

For 16 years, Nicole has served not just as a registered nurse in a revered profession—but also as a focused fixer in the highly demanding and always-on operating room. With experience, too, as the lead charge nurse at Island Health in Anacortes, she sums up her first career: “I love caring for my patients. That work is my extension of caring for people.”

And now she’s adding a second career. Why?

“Remember the beginning of our pandemic?” she asks. To drastically decrease COVID-19 transmission and save lives, there were not any planned surgeries. What that meant for patients was deferred care. What that meant for some medical professionals also affected livelihoods. “I was laid off,” says Nicole.

While the lay-off was temporary due to extraordinary global circumstances, the quest to find more work was permanent for Nicole. (Because every surgical nurse needs a hobby. Especially one that requires on-going licensing, study, and training.)

‘I commit’

Nicole was just licensed in June 2022. Her licensing experience was both easy and a challenge.

“The licensing was easy because I’m self-motivated,” she explains.

“But it was also challenging because all the work was online,” laughs Nicole. “I like learning in class!”

Explaining how she will manage two career tracks, nursing and real estate, Nicole says, “I don’t like to be bored. I commit, and then I stick to it.”

‘I love my community’

Originally from sunny Granada Hills near Los Angeles and then Paradise, California, Nicole moved to Fidalgo Island in 1996. For 26 years, she’s reveled in her island’s lakes and forests, and she’s cared for hundreds of patients. “I love my community,” she easily offers up.

Her second career in real estate comes through her husband, just like her married name. (Nicole’s last name is Geleynse—pronounced guh-leenze—which is Dutch. Her husband is from Lynden and the wider Whatcom County.)

Her husband is also a general contractor. He’s a talent at home renovation.

He does regular work for broker Colleen Pilon. She’s a talent at RE/MAX Gateway.

And Colleen knows talent when she sees it. When Nicole expressed interest in real estate and a passion for community, Colleen encouraged Nicole to get licensed.

That’s the condensed version of how the surgical nurse added a second career of realtor.

Her two callings

She elaborates on the similarities of her two callings. “You have to be a planner, tough, regimented, a micro-manager, and make sure that everything runs smoothly. Everything falls on your shoulders.”

Wait, is she talking about nursing or real estate?

Nicole may turn ORs across the country into recruiting pools for brokers.

At RE/MAX, she appreciates the orientation and onboarding she’s encountered. “There is so much to learn,” says Nicole. “And everyone has been friendly and helpful, personable and responsive.”

‘My town is her hometown, too’

When Nicole describes life on Fidalgo Island, her tone shifts from surgical precision to genuine gratitude. The island is her why, and the Sound is her soul.

Biz Point, the breathtaking bluff that overlooks Burrows Bay and the San Juan Islands, was Nicole’s childhood locus. One mile away is Edith Point, another stretch of coastal paradise, where her parents live.

Her family loves to be on the water. “We kayak, paddleboard, and swim in the Sound.”

Best of all, Nicole bestows this deep sense of place on her daughter. “My town is her hometown, too,” she smiles.

Whether you need her for market analysis or a personable connection to island life, Nicole is at RE/MAX Gateway, making her favorite Pacific Northwest place your place, too.

About RE/MAX Gateway

RE/MAX Gateway is named for its breathtaking Anacortes entrance to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest. Co-owned by Blake Boatman and Lori Reece with Laura Bird as branch manager, this full-service real estate brokerage is known for its 40+ Realtors® who specialize in residential and commercial real estate. To learn more, visit

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