Morgan Albritton-Tolman knew she wanted to be a nurse at the age of 13 when her sister went through surgery, and Morgan got to witness her dressings being changed. Other teenagers might be squeamish, but that event sparked a fascination with medicine that continues today for Morgan.
As Clinical Nurse Liaison at Port Healthcare Center, Morgan communicates with the case managers at local hospitals to organize patients’ admission for short and long-term rehabilitation. Referrals come in regularly from facilities all around North Shore to Boston, thanks to Whittier’s reputation. Morgan is happy to personally reassure folks of the high level of care, compassion, and service that Whittier’s skilled nursing facilities offer to the senior community. She would know; she’s worked in three of them during her career, after all!
Morgan started with Whittier Health Network’s Nemasket Healthcare Center as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), graduating from her vocational high school’s co-op program. She earned her certification as a Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN) and made her way to Masconomet Healthcare Center when she moved to the North Shore. At Masco, Morgan became the charge nurse on the sub-acute unit, and in 2016, she was named Staff Development Coordinator Infection Control Nurse. When her two administrators left Masconomet for the new Port Healthcare Center that opened in Newburyport in 2017, Morgan chose to follow: “I enjoyed working with Kim and Elaine too much!” she laughs.
Indeed, it’s not just words when people like Morgan refer to Whittier as a “family.” During our interview, she shared that she had already spoken with folks at two other Whittier facilities that day to check-in. “We’re all in communication with each other,” she explains. “Sometimes for the little things we need help with; for example, a co-worker had the State [of Massachusetts] come to his TCU (Transitional Care Unit), and he couldn’t find a particular piece of paper he needed, so he called me for help!”
In May 2019, the position of Clinical Nurse Liaison at Port opened up officially. Morgan was already the back-up to read all the referrals coming in from hospitals to ensure that patients were clinically able to receive medical or therapeutic services, so it was a natural transition to take on the role officially. But that’s not the only work that Morgan does. During the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan has taken it upon herself to step up and assist with swabbing and infection control, helping to ensure that Port is following CDC guidelines. Even today, she is still swabbing residents every 3-5 days to test! “I still try and work the floor,” she explains. “I’ll pick up a nursing shift just to remember how to do it.”
Morgan is proud to be a part of the Whittier Network, and she’s been involved with Whittier for longer than she has known. “I know a lot of people, family members, and loved ones, who have moved into Whittier care facilities,” Morgan says. “Even my Nana was down at Sippican [Healthcare Center]. It was funny because when she passed away in 2009, it was right around the same time that I started working at Nemasket!” She also credits her father for helping her to realize her love for the geriatric population. Morgan’s father suffered from congestive heart failure, so she took a year off school to help. During that time, she realized how the elderly “have so many stories and such great advice.” She knew what she wanted to do in her life.
Overall, Morgan is looking forward to her future with Whittier but is determined to continue remembering her nursing roots: “I like to get my hands dirty,” she says. “Hopefully, I’ll still have a hands-on aspect in some way moving forward!”