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Like mother, like daughter: GSN student Emily Davenport grew up with ‘extra caring touch’

Aspiring nurse practitioner follows mother’s path in nursing; joined care teams aiding COVID-19 patients

Emily Davenport always knew she was destined to be a nurse. The Graduate Entry Pathway Doctor of Nursing Practice student is on the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track. She was inspired by her mother, Danuta “Beth” Beata Davenport, a nurse at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, who has 30 years in the field and moved to the United States from Poland in her 20s.

“Having a mom as a nurse, she always had that extra caring touch and knew exactly what to do,” said Davenport. “I think growing up in that atmosphere, I just knew nursing was something I wanted to get into from a young age.”

The Agawam native graduated from Holy Cross in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, where she seized opportunities to learn more about nursing. After graduating, Davenport served as a clinical administrative support specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, aiding providers such as RNs and doctors in the melanoma department. During that time, she said she began to think seriously about the NP experience. 

“I really started to explore NP degrees and work when I was at Holy Cross. Once I started at UMass Medical School, the first year of becoming a nurse was challenging in and of itself, but the faculty really support every single student. Having not had a nursing background, it was remarkable to jump right into the GEP program and meet all of my classmates who come from different backgrounds and walks of life. Now, we are all here together, striving for the same goals, which is so inspiring,” she said.

For the 2019 to 2020 academic year, Davenport served as co-president for the Graduate Student Nursing Organization, during which she helped lead events for students as well as network with leaders in the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

“It’s a great way to meet other students as well as have a voice in campus-related decisions,” said Davenport. “We help share and spread information about the programs offered and what is occurring within the school. Our group helps fundraise for local charities, organizes teams for the annual cancer walk and so much more.”

When COVID-19 required providers and responders to jump into action, Davenport was a newly registered nurse, and began work almost instantly on the eighth floor of UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial campus, in the hematology and oncology unit. During the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she floated to the ICU floors to assist in caring for intubated patients.

“It was scary coming off of orientation, just to be a new nurse. I was nervous about treating patients and having coronavirus looming over everything. It was challenging, but luckily I work on a floor that is very supportive,” she said. “It’s been an extremely eye-opening experience working with patients in a clinical setting, especially in a time that presents so much uncertainty. It is empowering to know that we are still providing the best care possible for our community.”

The Student Spotlight series features students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School of Nursing and School of Medicine. For more information on UMass Medical School and how to apply, please visit the Prospective Students page.