The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Meet Our Alumni: Emily Amico '00

May 21, 2020

Emily (Davis) Amico RN, MSN received a BS in Nursing at UMass Amherst in 2000. As part of our 2020 Nurses Month and International Year of the Nurse coverage, Emily agreed to share her inspiring nursing story with us. She says, "Although I have been to many places and done so many different things, my roots are at UMass."

What nursing degree(s) did you earn at UMass Amherst/other schools? 

I received a BSN from UMass in the undergraduate program. Inspired by the faculty and staff at UMass, I did pursue my graduate degree while in California and graduated from UCLA with a MSN in Pediatric Nursing in 2005. It is my intention to go further in my education, once my kids are a little bit older, and have casually explored different options for PhD, DNP and post masters certificate programs.

What inspired you to become a nurse? 

When I was in 6th grade and again in 7th grade I was hospitalized, at Boston Children’s Hospital, for two acute infections. The commitment and compassion of the nurses that cared for me and the other patients (I happened to be on the oncology unit) inspired me to want to be a nurse. I became a pediatric oncology nurse in 2000, and later was a manager on the Leukemia & Lymphoma unit, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. 

What kind of work are you doing now? 

I most recently have been working in public health and also as a part time school nurse in the district my 3 kids go to school in. While also being active in our community in varying volunteer leadership roles. This year I was hired as the Public Health Nurse for the Town of Southborough and have been on the forefront of the Disease Investigation and Contact tracing in our communities. Along with advising on various committees within the town on Emergency Preparedness, immunization Clinic preparation and establishing phased reopening guidelines at the local level. 

Please share any reflections or experiences about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your work. 

As the Public Health Nurse doing Disease Investigation and Contact tracing I am interviewing COVID positive individuals and their close contacts. I educate and manage Isolation and Quarantine of these cases. Daily I am on numerous calls to educate myself on the latest advances and guidelines in regards to caring for those effected by this novel disease. Community health, as in most nursing positions, is about establishing relationships and educating those within our communities to provide the best health outcomes for all.

What are your hopes and plans for the future? 

I hope that I can continue to make a difference on the ground at the local level through educating and supporting individuals and families as they navigate the unknowns of COVID 19. I also hope to continue to advocate for the role of the nurse and the importance of the nurse in this fight. Just today I submitted my interest statement to be a part of the Public Health Nurse Advisory Committee  to the CTC. CTC is the Contact Tracing Collaborative Governor Baker initiated along with Partners in Health and has been in action since late April. (It is astonishing to me to learn that nurses have not been at the table on this so I hope I didn’t scare the recipient of my interest statement message. Contract tracing is what is being done and has been done by the Public Health Nurses in Massachusetts for as long as we’ve been around).

Would you like to offer any comments or advice for people who are considering a career in nursing? 

A career in Nursing is like no other career in the most amazing ways. The role of the nurse is varied which makes it great for so many different people. As a nurse you can really make a difference in improving the lives of others whether in direct patient interactions, the outcomes of population you work with, or the team you work on. I am so lucky/blessed to have found work I am passionate about and can grow with. My experience at UMass gave me the knowledge, confidence and experience I needed to launch a meaningful career and life.