News and Information

CaroMont Recognizes Susan Murphy, RN, Nightingale Award Recipient

05-12-2016

From Nurse to Patient and Back Again
One Nurse's Passion Leads to "Mended Hearts" for Many

With a warm smile, kind eyes and a soft voice, Susan Murphy, RN, calmly makes her way through the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation center at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, greeting patients as they prepare for their next class. The group that gathers, surrounded by treadmills and elliptical machines, is there because each of them has experienced and survived a cardiopulmonary event. They are there to try to build their strength and stamina as they work to recover from a life-altering health crisis. And the woman before them, who looks as though she would fit just as well in front of a television camera, is exactly who you would want to lead you on a tough journey, because she has been on quite the journey of her own.

Over the course of her 30 years of nursing experience, 29 of which have been at CaroMont Health, Murphy has had the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings. Murphy graduated from Central Piedmont Community College and started her nursing career at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in 1988 caring for patients in Outpatient Surgery before moving to Endoscopy and other units in the hospital.

Murphy’s nursing career has offered many opportunities for professional growth and educational advancement. Realizing her long-time dream to go back to school, Murphy received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in February 2016 from Western Governors University. She has participated in career ladder, a program that promotes education and personal development for nurses, for several years, which also has provided her opportunities to grow and expand nursing proficiencies across the continuum of care and help shape her philosophy of care.

Murphy’s passion for working with patients in the rehabilitation environment led her to the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department. It is in this current role that she is able to work with patients recovering from heart attacks and heart surgeries through their progression through the program. Patients complete several months of treatment plans tailored to each individual’s medical needs to assist in recovery. Murphy is with her patients every step of the way—from when they are at their weakest to the day they “graduate.” It is truly a transformative process that creates strong bonds with patients and has offered her many inspiring stories along the way.

Building on her work with cardiac patients, Murphy was influential in starting the Mended Hearts Chapter in Gastonia. Chapter 379 began in the fall of 2011 after CaroMont recognized a need for additional support for heart patients. The Chapter quickly grew and became a chartered chapter in 2012 with 30 members and today, it has more than 100 members and 60 accredited visitors who are former heart patients themselves. CaroMont Regional celebrated being named the 2015 Mended Hearts Hospital of the Year. Murphy, along with the Mended Hearts president, attended the National Mended Hearts Conference in Orlando that year to receive the celebrated award on behalf of the hospital and chapter.

“My nursing philosophy is that individuals should enter the profession with an attitude of compassion and love for others,” said Murphy. “We are here to make a difference in people’s lives not only through our clinical expertise, but more importantly, with a compassionate heart. Like other professions, nursing may challenge you at times and requires a lot of patience, but, success is attainable if you are first dedicated and you love what you do.”

Murphy also is an inspiration to others. In May 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her experience—dealing with the diagnosis, treatments and surgeries—she says has provided her with a new outlook on caring for others from the patient’s perspective.

“Through my cancer journey, I understand even more the importance of showing compassion to others who are dealing with a sickness or diagnosis,” said Murphy. “I believe I can better identify with others as a result of my experience, which continues to inspire me to be a better person and nurse for my patients.”

And a great nurse she is because just a few months ago, Murphy was recently presented CaroMont Health’s most prestigious nursing honor, the Nightingale Award. Representing superior contributions to the CaroMont nursing program, the Nightingale Award is presented annually to one nurse who has distinguished themselves through their professionalism, community service and commitment to continuing education.

“I am proud to work at CaroMont Health, and consider it a great privilege to work with some of the greatest people I know,” said Murphy. “Receiving the Nightingale award came as a surprise. To be recognized in such a way was truly an honor, especially knowing I was nominated by my peers.”

Each year, CaroMont Health bestows a number of nursing awards to exceptional caregivers and has awarded 23 individuals with the Nightingale Award since 1993. With 1,082 registered nurses, CaroMont is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence.

Categories: Recent News