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QCC Alumna Takes Care of Our Most Vulnerable

May, 2020
  • QCC Nursing Alumna Nicole Murphy
    QCC Nursing Alumna Nicole Murphy

Quinsigamond Community College alumna Nicole Murphy knows what it means to help others. For 20 years she has worked caring for people who call a nursing home their place of residence. In 2018 she graduated from QCC’s Nurse Education Associate Degree in Nursing Bridge program after being a licensed practical nurse since 2005.

“When I attended school (QCC) and graduated, I was the assistant director of nursing. I was promoted to Director of Nursing in November 2019,” she said.

Ms. Murphy is an alumna with deep QCC roots: Her mother-in-law is an accounting professor at the College and her son is in his second year at QCC (read next month’s issue of the Wyvern Guardian to learn more). Today, she is part of a vast healthcare network that is caring for the population during the pandemic. Ms. Murphy cares for the most vulnerable of populations, as the director of nursing at Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, in Westborough. Like so many other QCC alumni, she exemplifies what it means to be a QCC Wyvern.

Can you describe your job and how it has changed since the pandemic?

As Director, I am in charge of the day-to-day operations in the nursing department for a 152-bed skilled nursing facility. We have a Sub-Acute Rehab, Dementia Specialty Care Unit and Traditional Long Term Care Neighborhood. There is a lot to this role, but the most important and the overall theme to the role is to ensure the quality of care to each resident provided is unique to them and dignified. 

The pandemic has changed this role tremendously. We are no longer allowed to have visitors in the building. This has impacted the residents greatly and our job is to try to provide the comfort they need during this time. We also have many different processes that are constantly changing in the building. Infection control and resident care guidelines are changing, even before we can finish education on the last change. We are also working with a virus that was unfamiliar to us and affects this most vulnerable population. We have also relied on technology for communication. We are used to face-to-face communication with families and that has been a new, but good, learning experience for us. 

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for people during these unprecedented times?

Words of encouragement are to take one day at a time. I had to realize this is new to all of us and we are all learning together. Whether we are new or experienced nurses, most of us have not had any experience in something like this. We all have something to add to our communities. I have seen the best out of my staff and I have been extremely proud to work beside them in this time. While these times have been extremely physically and emotionally tough for us, we are starting to see an improvement and have recovered many of our residents!

What inspires you to do what you do?

What inspires me to do what I do is the residents we care for. When I am having a tough day or time, it never fails, a resident will come see me and brighten my day. Our elderly have contributed to society to make us what we are today. It is my honor to pay back my respect and provide them with the care and dignity they deserve. 

Why did you go into nursing and why did you choose QCC?

I have been in a role of hiring, training, and working with new nurses for over 10 years. You can tell a QCC nurse from many others. I appreciated how prepared they came out of their programs. I had experience as an LPN, but I had to obtain my RN to further my career at Beaumont. I knew if I went to QCC I would come out a better nurse. As much clinical as I learned, I learned a lot from my instructors on how to teach and become a mentor. 

What would you tell someone who was considering QCC? 

I always tell everyone I know to attend QCC. It is a great community college and a perfect place to get your degree. My son just finished his freshman year; he is working to attend an Engineering degree. The campus, instructors, and peers are a comforting community.