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Caring For Patients Has Been a Blessing

March 5, 2021
Sister Katherine Murphy

Providing quality, compassionate care has long been the hallmark of Catholic Health. For the past 45 years, Sister Katherine A. Murphy has been at the forefront of serving patients and living the integrated health system’s mission.

Currently at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® where she is a clinical nurse educator and interim director of nursing education, Sister Katherine entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1966 prior to beginning her nursing career.

“Nursing is a profession that seeks to meet the needs of patients and provide them with a comforting and healing presence,” Sister Katherine said. “Caring for patients and interacting with their families and loved ones over the years has been a blessing for me.”

Sister Katherine joined Mercy Hospital’s nursing staff in 1976, after which she served as an adjunct professor at Molloy College. She joined St. Francis’s nursing staff in 1998. In celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week, Sister Katherine shared her thoughts on her career and the changes she has witnessed.

Q: What comes to mind as you reflect on your career?

A: I think about all of the nurses and health care workers I have worked with over the years and the many patients I have cared for and ministered to. These wonderful people have inspired me and have truly revealed the healing presence of God in our lives.

Q: How different is nursing today compared to when you entered the profession?

A: The technology we have today has definitely expanded and flourished over the years, allowing us to continue enhancing the clinical care we offer. But what hasn’t changed and remains vitally important is a nurse’s ability to connect with his or her patients when providing care. This is something that we continue to share and model with our nurses and health care workers.

Q: What impact did COVID-19 have on nurses at Catholic Health?

A: The COVID pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our nurses and health care staff as they cared for these critically ill patients. When the virus and its effects began in March 2020, it was challenging for our nurses and staff to meet the complications that these patients were experiencing. In addition, because visitation was limited the staff was also trying to communicate, support and provide updates on the condition of patients to families and loved ones.

Q: It has long been said that nursing is a “calling.” Do you agree?

A: I do think nursing is a calling. For some, there is an innate desire to want to work in a profession that is focused on caring for others. When speaking to nurses and hearing what motivated them to join the nursing profession I was very moved by their stories. Many said they were motivated by seeing a loved one receive compassionate care from a nurse. It was not just a job but a desire to be there for people who needed care, comfort and support.

Q. What do you feel differs Catholic Health from other health care providers?

A. Catholic Health offers many resources to patients and their families. Among the many are acute inpatient services, outpatient ambulatory services, home care, mental healthcare, pastoral care, palliative care and hospice care. Catholic Health humbly joins together to bring Christ’s healing mission and the mission of mercy of the Catholic Church to our communities.

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