Sister Kathy Murphy (pictured here third from right during Nurses Week 2020 with other nurses at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn) is one of our Sisters who has been on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sister Kathy has been in nursing for 47 years, 22 of them at St. Francis where she works today, and she says she had never been as challenged professionally and personally as she was during the height of this crisis. “This virus did not discriminate, and it challenged the healthcare system like nothing I’ve seen before,” she says. Sister Kathy, a clinical nurse educator, described the fear and anxiety that existed among the dedicated and compassionate nurses even as they rallied and went above and beyond to meet the tremendous needs of patients. “We had daily huddles on each unit to support each other,” she says. Sister Kathy says that with visitation being restricted, the nurses had to care for patients “emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically, not just physically, because they were all alone while fighting the virus.” There were many nurses who came from other areas of the hospital that were closed, like operating rooms, who needed refresher courses to help treat COVID patients. “It was all hands on deck no matter what your typical position was at the hospital,” she says.
Sister Kathy, who says she always knew she wanted to be a nurse, has been in the Congregation for 53 years and started nursing school shortly after entering. She says she felt the support from the Congregation as she worked through this crisis. “The community was with me as I did this work,” she says. Sister Kathy says the public support of nurses – including people sending food, gifts, and cards of encouragement to the hospital – got the nurses through the long, hard days. Sister Kathy is a board member at Maria Regina, so she has also been actively involved in navigating the pandemic there as well.