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Florence Murphy retires after 59 years in nursing.

Florence Murphy, Licensed Practical Nurse, recently retired from Nursing after 59 years of caring for others. Florence graduated from Cambridge High School in 1952. Two weeks after graduating she was in an automobile accident in which she was a passenger. The girl beside her died and Florence spent one month in the hospital with a severely injured left arm. After recovering, Florence went to work for Cambridge Maryland Hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She entered the LPN nursing program at Cambridge Maryland Hospital the latter part of 1953 and graduated with six classmates. She graduated from the nursing program in September 1954 and married her husband Bill. Florence and Bill were married for 52 years and had four sons, until Bill died in 2006.

Florence started her career at Cambridge Maryland Hospital working on the Medical/Surgical floor for several years then went to the Emergency Department and finally to OB/Pediatrics. She loved taking care of children.

On Florence's first day as a nurse she took care of eight patients. In the 1950's the nurse did all of the hands on care and all the charting for each patient. Eventually she had 30 patients with the help of 3-4 Nursing Assistants. The Head Nurse would help give medications but Florence would be the only nurse on the floor providing hands on care & charting for each patient.

In 1954 nurses did not start IV's or draw blood. Years later Dr. Robert McDonald, a physician in the ER made every nurse learn to start IV's and draw blood. Florence has been known for her proficiency in starting IV's even when other nurses have failed.

In the 1960's the ER was run by a staff physician and one nurse. It was also during the 50's & 60's that the hospital had only 5 physicians on staff. The nurse had to call the physician to come in whenever they got a patient. The ER had only five beds and the nurse had to set up all trays for suturing, etc. After a few years in the ER the hospital hired physicians from Baltimore who worked the ER from Friday 6pm to Monday 6am. If there was a bad accident the ER nurse would call the supervisor for help. Eventually the ER nurse was given a technician to assist with care.

During her early years of nursing the nurse had to sharpen needles on an Arkansas stone. To test the needle to make sure it was able to be used the nurse would rub the needle on a piece of gauze and if the needle did not grab the gauze then it was okay to use. Florence also remembers her first code where it was just her and the physician and the patient survived. For surgical patients and patients having pain Florence remembers the procedure was to get a basin of water, wash their back, rub their back and then give them pain medication. This had to occur every time the patient had pain.

Florence always worked full time during her 59 years of nursing service. She also worked part time jobs at William Hill Health Care in Cambridge, The Pines in Easton and William Hill in Easton. For her whole nursing career she worked locally in the towns of Cambridge and Easton on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Even when she would be on vacation from Cambridge, Maryland Hospital she would work part time for Dr. Hanks, a well known Cambridge physician.

Cambridge Maryland Hospital became Dorchester General Hospital in 1974. Once leaving Dorchester General Hospital Florence went to work full time at Mallard Bay Nursing Home and then to Chesapeake Woods Center. Florence retired from her full time position of LPN at Chesapeake Woods Center in Cambridge Maryland on August 29, 2013.

A well deserved retirement party attended by family, friends, staff & residents was given on September 15, 2013 at Genesis Health Care Chesapeake Woods with awards given for 59 years of service. Florence received a citation from Governor Martin O'Malley, an official citation from Delegate Addie Eckardt, a resolution from Senate Delegate Richard Colburn, a commendation from the Dorchester County Council and a plaque for years of service at Chesapeake Woods.
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Publication:Maryland Nurse
Geographic Code:1U5MD
Date:Nov 1, 2013
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