'I have the best of both worlds': TGH trauma nurse combines passion for teaching with love of medicine

LeeAnn Murray has seen a lot as an orthopedic trauma nurse manager at Tampa General Hospital. 

"Those patients that come in that are acutely ill from car accidents, ATVs, all kinds of outside activities where people have injuries, so we basically rebuild them," Murray shared.

She’s been at the hospital for 35 years.  

"I don't know what I would do other than nursing. It's so multifaceted, so I'm given the ability to do so many things in nursing," Murray stated. "So, it's actually the best job in the world. You learn so many things."  

Murray’s aunt helped her get a job at the hospital in 1986. 

"She took me down in the operating room and I started scrubbing instruments and cleaning and meeting the nurses and I fell in love with the medical side of it," she said. 

The Boston native came to Florida and got a nursing degree. She worked for a plastic surgeon for two years before going to TGH. 

"I heard the good news that the hospital was paying $11 an hour," Murray explained.  "I said, ‘Oh, I'm going to go to the hospital. I'll be making so much more money.’" 

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Murray said she doesn't make career decisions solely based on money and when she was younger she wanted to be a school teacher. 

"I fell in love with the medical side of it, but I teach every day. I'm not in a classroom, so to speak, but I guess the whole hospital is your classroom. You're teaching all the time, so I have the best of both worlds," Murray said.

Murray’s co-worker Wendi Goodson Celerin says Murray, sets an example for other nurses on how to treat their patients. 

"She's gone above and beyond, and she inspires her team around her to do the same, which ultimately provides the most world-class care to our patients and families," Goodson Celerin said.

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Murray says COVID-19 didn't change the quality of care that patients received but it did impact who could visit them in the hospital. 

"We spent more time on the phones and FaceTime with families and their loved ones. We essentially became the sisters, the brothers, the moms and the dads, the grandparents of our patients. It was very stressful for the families," she shared.

Murray is proud of the caring service that she gives to the patients to help make their hospital stay more comfortable.

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