The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Meet Kim Fallon: MS-Clinical Nurse Leader '19, Current DNP Student

Date: 
Sep 16, 2020

Kim Fallon completed her Master of Science - Clinical Nurse Leader at the UMass Amherst College of Nursing in 2019. She is now a UMass Amherst DNP student and a school nurse in the Bridgewater-Raynham, MA school district.

Read Kim’s story below:

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Honestly, I fell into Nursing. Originally, I wanted to become a Physician’s Assistant in the Military. However, due to some medical issues, I am permanently disqualified. Therefore, I had to change my course of action and reassess. So, technically, Nursing found me.

What type of work are you doing now?

I am a School Nurse in the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District. This is my second year as a School Nurse. I was a Substitute School Nurse starting in 2016, when my youngest child entered Kindergarten and I pursued my MS. I was hired for a full-time position as the Float/Resource Nurse in 2019, so this is my second year being a full-time School Nurse, but now I will be in the Elementary School that houses Kindergarten and First graders.

What are some highlights of your career and/or education?

The highlights of my career have been making connections with patients/students and their families. My prior work experience was working as an inpatient medical/surgical floor nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital for 13 years. The skills taken with me from that position have given me the confidence to pursue any position in the field of Nursing. I have worked with some very interesting people who have challenged me and have helped me evolve into the nurse I am today. Those experiences will never be replicated and will always be cherished. 

Educationally, the universe has always rewarded me for taking the leap of faith. I started my first professional position the day after I graduated with a BA in Mathematics. After I received my BSN, it took only about 2 months for me to start my nursing career. The day after having received my MS, I was offered the full-time position in the School District. I am very eager to see the potential positions that may arrive at my door after I complete my DNP. 

Would you like to share any reflections or experiences about how your work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Covid-19 challenged me emotionally. I felt, as a nurse, I should be on the frontlines with my comrades performing nursing duties, as I had signed up to do. However, I was able to have the luxury of staying safely at home because the school district had shut down. I wanted to help in some way and I found a way to do just that! A woman in my town created a Facebook page, “Sewing to Save” that recruited seamstresses to make cloth masks for frontline workers, such as the police and fire departments, nursing home workers, grocery store employees and adolescent psychiatry inpatient units, to name a few. Personally, I have sewn about 500 masks, which also extended into sewing scrub caps as well. Even though I wasn’t able to help on the frontlines, I contributed from the sidelines. 

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I don’t know what to expect for the future and I’m okay with that. That may sound crazy because I definitely am a planner, but there is a sense of calm in not knowing. Currently, I am in an excellent position professionally. I am on track to pursue the ultimate goal in my academic nursing career. Personally, I have a wonderfully supportive husband and two amazing children. I just want to be an example to my children that you are never too old to learn and there is always something new to learn. 

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

I would have to say as physically and mentally grueling as the whole process is, there is no reward that beats the feeling that you contributed to improving the quality of life for your patient. A textbook can’t teach you how to emotionally connect to your patient; you have to have “it”. If you are a multi-tasker who is organized, self-driven and hardworking, then this is the profession for you. You need to be able to leave work behind and take care of yourself on your days off. The schedules can be a bit rough as a new nurse but you will find your passion within nursing one day and you will own it. Hard work will pay off, I promise you that.