Graduate School of Nursing student Nicholas Merry among ‘29 Who Shine’ in Mass.

Soon-to-be nurse practitioner honored for service, commitment to commonwealth

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

May 04, 2017
  Nicholas Merry, RN

Nicholas Merry, RN

Graduate School of Nursing student Nicholas Merry, RN, has been named one of the “29 Who Shine” in the commonwealth’s public higher education system. Each Massachusetts community college, state university and UMass campus picks one student annually to receive the award, based on his or her outstanding civic contribution. Gov. Charlie Baker and Massachusetts higher education officials will honor Merry and his peers at a State House ceremony on Friday, May 5.

“I was shocked and honored when I found out that I was going to receive the 29 Who Shine award, as over the past two years I have been surrounded by many classmates who share my passion for caring for individuals in need,” said Merry.

Merry began his career as a Duxbury firefighter before becoming a registered nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he has worked as a respiratory nurse in the medical intensive care unit and the post-anesthesia care unit. After he graduates in June with his Master of Nursing degree in the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner track from UMass Medical School, Merry aspires to a leadership role in intensive care—much like his mentor Dawn Carpenter, DNP, assistant professor of nursing at UMMS and acute care nurse practitioner for surgical intensive care at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

“Dawn has a passion for critical care and has given me a solid foundation of knowledge to be successful as an acute care nurse practitioner,” Merry said. “She has developed a curriculum to teach new and experienced nurses current concepts in critical care.”

Merry will also continue to serve as a Duxbury firefighter and as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ International Medical Surgical Response team, a National Disaster Medical System team of medical specialists who provide surgical and critical care during a disaster or public health emergency. In this role, he has been provided disaster relief following Hurricane Sandy, the Haiti earthquake, and the tsunami in Indonesia. He was presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the White House for his humanitarian work in Indonesia in 2004, and in 2010 was promoted to deputy team commander.

“The GSN instills in their students a desire to address health disparities that exist in their communities,” said Merry. “These lessons encourage me to continue practicing nursing in global communities most in need.”

He has additionally been honored with a Partner in Excellence Award from MGH for his project to develop recommendations to enhance communication with families of ICU patients who have died.

“The 29 Who Shine remind us that our public college and university graduates represent the future of the commonwealth,” said Carlos E. Santiago, PhD, Massachusetts commissioner of higher education. “They are here to learn, here to stay, and it is incredibly inspiring to see how each honoree is contributing to our common good.” 

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