Nurse Spotlight: Meet Dee

Photo of Jodi Murphy and Dee Murphy
Photo of Jodi Murphy and Dee Murphy

Meet Dee. Not only is Dee Murphy the mother of our Director of People Operations, Jodi Murphy, but she is also a nurse with many accomplishments.

Jodi has this to say about her mother, “Though she is petite and short in stature, my mother is one of the strongest women I know. She’s utterly enduring and her nursing career is a direct reflection of that. She has always loved her career and perpetually saw it more than a job.”

Tell us about yourself.

I am 67 years old and have been an RN for the last 47 years, graduating from a three-year diploma program in 1975. I went on to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree four years later at Villanova, but had to discontinue the process secondary to a career relocation for my husband’s job. I finally completed my degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006, at the age of 51. For the last 23 years, I have worked as an RN in the Radiation Oncology Department for Sentara HealthCare. Oncology has always held a special place in my heart. Beginning in 1992, I was offered a job share position with my best friend working in Medical Oncology administering Chemotherapy. It was the best decision of my career, having worked prior in Infusion Therapy, Home Care, the Operating Room, and beginning my career in the Emergency Room. Looking back, I can’t imagine myself having done anything else. It has been the most rewarding experience — memories of patients and their family members that I will cherish forever.

How did you get into the nursing profession?

In 1972 there were not as many career opportunities for women as there are today. I initially thought I would become an art teacher, but then my best friend became a Candy Striper for our local hospital. I thought it sounded like it would be fun, so I signed on to volunteer in the Emergency Room (quite the experience for a fifteen year old). I was hooked!

Any advice for current nursing students or those who are considering going into the field?

Enter nursing for the right reasons, not for the fact that you can work three 12 hour shifts a week and receive benefits. Nursing is taxing both mentally and physically, so be prepared for stressful, but amazingly gratifying days.

What is one of the best parts about being a nurse?

Interaction with patients and their families, educating them, listening to them, supporting them. They, and their family members, are often in for the fight of their lives. What a gift it is to be able to support them in this journey.

What is something you’re proud of?

I am proud of the fact that I received my Oncology Certification many years ago, completed my Bachelor’s Degree, and recently was awarded the ACE Award for Always Committed to Excellence by Sentara Healthcare.

What is something that has shaped your career?

People have shaped my career: the wonderful professionals that I have been privileged to work with from day one.

Looking forward to 2022, what is something you’re looking forward to or hope to accomplish?

There will be some major changes in my department in the next year: computer systems, new drug administrations, a new linear accelerator, all of which will be exciting, but also challenging. Healthcare is forever changing, and in such a good way. Cancer is not the same disease it was 47 years ago. We have made great strides.

Who in your life has inspired you lately?

I am inspired every day by the Mom with three small children who has just heard the news she has breast cancer. The man who just retired only to find out he has lung cancer. The 80 year old lady who plays bridge and now has colon cancer. The 30 year old single guy who just found out he has Hodgkin’s Disease. All of the patients inspire me every day I walk through that door.

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