Eileen Morrissey Baughan, of Wyndmoor, Pa., always had her sights set on becoming a nurse, but instead she pursued a business career, following in her brother’s footsteps. She earned her MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and worked for several years on the equity trading desk for Lehman Brothers on Wall Street.
Her path in the business world appeared to be set, that is until her twin son and daughter were born prematurely at 26 weeks gestation, weighing just over a pound each. Their births and subsequent months-long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) inspired Baughan to revisit her dream of becoming a nurse.
While standing over her twins’ incubators during a long day in the NICU, Baughan made the promise that “when the twins start kindergarten, I am going back to school to become a nurse.” Nearly 15 years after beginning a career on Wall Street, Baughan finally realized her life-long dream of becoming a nurse when she graduated from La Salle University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing last month.
Baughan, and her husband Nick, who were living in San Francisco with their older son George at the time of the twins’ births, were so grateful for the care the twins received in the NICU. “Abby was in the hospital for two and a half months, and Teddy was in for three months. As a result, I spent a great deal of time in the NICU and witnessed first-hand the miraculous impact the nurses had on my twins,” she said.
“I wasn’t even able to hold them when they were born, I could only put my hands in their incubators and rub their backs,” said Baughan. “They were both on ventilators, and Teddy was on a high speed ventilator. They could not tolerate feedings for three weeks or so.”
Baughan made good on her promise, and when the twins started kindergarten, she enrolled in La Salle’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences, located on Wister Street in Philadelphia. I was so inspired by the skillful and loving care the nurses gave Abby and Teddy,” said Baughan. “In a way, becoming a nurse is a way for me to give back.”
She admits juggling classes, clinical placements, and three young children—which became four when son Charlie was born two years ago—was not easy. Yet, Baughan maintained a 4.0 GPA, was named to the Dean’s List every semester, and was named the top graduating student in La Salle’s undergraduate nursing program. After graduation, she hopes to work as a pediatric nurse, possibly in a NICU.
Abby and Teddy are now happy, healthy, and thriving third graders and were at Commencement with their father to proudly cheer for their mom.