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Dean's Council Profile: Mary Hudson, MS'07, RN

Deep ties to UMass and a commitment to public education inspire a nurse to give back

Mary HudsonWhen Mary Hudson was young, she saw few options for women interested in pursuing a career. Being a nurse or teacher were her choices, she said. But in the practical yet forward-thinking fashion that has defined her work, Hudson chose both, and the UMass system has always been part of the journey.

The Massachusetts native describes herself as a big believer in the power of public education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UMass Lowell and her master’s degree in nursing education from UMass Chan Medical School. She later joined the faculty at UMass Chan as an instructor for the Graduate Entry Pathway program at the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, which is designed for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.

Those years of connection to UMass, the quality of her experience, and the bonds she built there solidified Hudson’s decision to consistently give back to the school.

“At 43, I was older when I went back to school,” Hudson said, adding that she put off the decision so she could balance caring for her two daughters and working as a Lahey Clinic nurse. “When I decided to get my master’s and wanted to do it in nursing education, UMass Chan was a perfect fit. I met women I’m still friends with today, and it was a great opportunity to do my practicum there and then stay on to teach.”

“The coursework was well thought out, and we had excellent instructors and an overall great experience,” she continued. “With the research classes, collaboration was key, so we came to school early and met as a group. The program kept classes bundled all in one day, so it was very in tune with the working nurse.”

During her time at UMass Chan, Hudson saw firsthand how the school worked to serve its Worcester neighbors and attract a diverse student population. One of the community initiatives that stand out in her mind is visiting local middle schools to introduce students to nursing as a career, which had the dual effect of showing children a potential career path she loved and sparking her interest in teaching.

“I became well aware of the desire and ability of UMass to fill the needs of the underserved,” Hudson said. “I love all that UMass does in the community.”

During her time as a Tan Graduate School of Nursing instructor, Hudson worked as the simulation lab director. She coached first-year graduate entry students through “the blitz,” an intensive set of 40-hour weeks to get them up to speed and ready to start clinical practice. Hudson also taught clinical sessions and medical-surgical nursing classes.

After stepping back from teaching to complete a second master’s degree in nursing informatics from Duke University, Hudson worked on integrating data and electronic best practices into nursing at Mass General Brigham. Her work was part of a major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services effort to move medical documentation from handwritten notes to electronic records.

“We did it for all kinds of reasons, but it really came down to patient safety,” Hudson said. “We wanted to make sure no one was trying to interpret another person’s chicken scratch when it came to prescriptions and medication ordering.” Hudson’s initial focus was on the provider side, with improving medication safety and billing methods. Over the course of 15 years, her efforts moved toward documentation and record-keeping.

Since retiring in 2021, Hudson has been caring for elderly family members, traveling, birding and exploring genealogy. She envisions adding mentoring to the mix. “I’d like to become more involved in efforts to encourage young people to explore careers in health care,” said Hudson.

“When I was a freshman at UMass Lowell, my part-time job was working as a nursing assistant at nursing homes. That’s when I decided I really wanted to be a nurse.”

Hudson’s dedication to UMass and the medical field also runs in the family. Her husband Edward is a UMass Amherst graduate, her older daughter works at Athenahealth, and her younger daughter switched from studying engineering to pursuing a nursing career. Hudson’s daughter also graduated from UMass Chan as a family nurse practitioner, which forged an even stronger connection between Hudson and the school.

“Between Lowell, Amherst, and Worcester, we’ve covered a lot of UMass ground,” Hudson said. “We just feel very strongly in supporting our state universities. I’ve always felt they provide a quality education.”




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