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Like mother, like daughter: Raymond and Creedon share passion for nursing

Advanced practice nurses receiving PhD, MS degrees at Commencement 2016

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

June 01, 2016
  Kathryn Raymond, MSN, (left) will receive her PhD and daughter Victoria Creedon, RN, her MSN from the Graduate School of Nursing at Commencement 2016.

Kathryn Raymond, MSN, (left) will receive her PhD and daughter Victoria Creedon, RN, will receive her MSN from the Graduate School of Nursing at Commencement 2016.

It's not surprising that a woman passionate about nursing might raise her daughter to follow her footsteps into the field. But what Kathryn Raymond, MS, and her daughter, Victoria Creedon, BS, RN, couldn’t anticipate was graduating from the same advanced practice nursing school together.

The mother-daughter pair graduates Sunday, June 5, from the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical School. Raymond will be hooded as a PhD. Creedon will receive her Master of Science degree.

“I am looking forward to a whole new career,” said Raymond, who advanced from her job as a personal care assistant at Worcester State Hospital (now the Worcester Recovery Center) to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a job she loved for many years before enrolling in the PhD program. “I will always be focused on where my heart lies, caring for patients with serious mental illness, but with the doctorate, I can now go in so many directions including research and policy as well as clinical care.”

Raymond is exploring various opportunities, notably a postdoctoral fellowship with her dissertation advisor at the University of North Carolina, whose Family Management Style Framework Raymond used as the basis of her doctoral research into parents caring for adult children with serious mental illness. With a continued focus on geriatric psychiatry, she hopes to influence mental health care at the policy level, in addition to providing psychiatric consultations for nursing home residents.

“We need to talk about mental illness like we talk about a physical illness like diabetes,” Raymond said. “We need to normalize mental illness as a brain disease.”

Creedon’s choice of the adult/acute care nurse practitioner track for her master’s degree was informed by her work experiences following college. After graduating from UMass Amherst in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, she conducted clinical research at UMass Medical School and worked as an emergency medical technician for Worcester Emergency Medical Services for a year before enrolling in the Graduate Entry Pathway. The GEP program is an accelerated curriculum that prepares students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees to first become registered nurses, then complete the master’s degrees that qualifies them for licensing as nurse practitioners.

“The program was a whirlwind three-year experience,” said Creedon, who received the Clinical Excellence Award at her GEP Pinning ceremony in 2014. “It’s gone by quickly but I have been so well prepared, first for the transition to registered nurse, and now the transition from RN to nurse practitioner.”

Creedon may continue in her mother’s footsteps, as she envisions teaching and research as part of her future, and will likely pursue a doctoral nursing degree. “I have learned from my mother and teachers and classmates at the GSN how a passion for patients drives research, and how research drives good patient care,” she said.

But for now, Creedon is delighted to have a job lined up as a surgical intensive care nurse practitioner at UMass Memorial Medical Center. There she’ll work alongside mentors Dawn Carpenter, DNP, assistant professor of nursing at the GSN, and Johnny Isenberger, MSN, instructor in nursing. Both are GSN alumni and, like Raymond, have been role models for Creedon.

Raymond and Creedon will celebrate their graduations with a two-week trip to Ireland before taking on new professional challenges. Agreeing that each helped the other reach this point, they exclaimed in unison, “I am so proud of her!”

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Nursing is ‘in the blood’ for three GSN students
Tenth pinning ceremony marks entry of 29 new nurses to profession