Leaving a legacy of The Sharp Experience

By The Health News Team | November 21, 2022
Colleen Murphy of Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Colleen Murphy, MSN, RN, is retiring from Sharp HealthCare after nearly 43 years with the health care system.

She’s been the face of The Sharp Experience for more than 20 years. And, come Nov. 23, Colleen Murphy, MSN, RN, manager of Administrative Support Services at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, will be hanging up her white coat, headed for a new experience — retirement.

“I’m just thrilled at this new opportunity,” says Murphy. “It will be hard to leave. But I’m just so grateful for these people who believed in me.”

If you’ve ever seen one of Sharp HealthCare’s commercials, you’ve probably seen Murphy. The blonde, bobbed-haired nurse-turned-administrator can be found running around the campus of Sharp Grossmont Hospital from sunup to sundown, impressively knowing the first names of practically every caregiver or employee she comes across.

“Since coming to Sharp Grossmont Hospital more than 27 years ago, Colleen has been brightening our halls and patient care units with her smile, quick wit and endless dedication,” said Murphy’s supervisor, Deene’ Mollon, Sharp Grossmont’s director of Progressive Care. “Representing Sharp and The Sharp Experience has been her passion, always exemplifying her compassion and dedication to our patients and the community of San Diego.”

Dreams — though revised — really do come true
Relocating to San Diego was not too far of a leap for Murphy, as she was raised by her mother, a teacher, and father, a police officer, just up the freeway in Anaheim. And, no — as anyone who grew up in that city is oft asked — she didn’t get to go to Disneyland every day. But she fondly remembers when she and her siblings would ride around the park on their bicycles.

Murphy says she never had dreams of becoming a nurse. In fact, she says her mind was set on becoming the next world-renowned primatologist and anthropologist, à la Dr. Jane Goodall. But blame the lack of availability in a college anthropology course on our good fortune. She crashed a college nursing class to fill her schedule and ended up falling in love with the class lessons. Murphy says the curriculum spoke to her like nothing had before.

She started at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital in the late 70s as a nursing assistant and transitioned to an RN role upon graduation from nursing school. A few years later, Murphy accepted a job as an administrative liaison and house supervisor at all Sharp hospitals, dashing between campuses. She then landed a full-time position at Grossmont Hospital — and never left.

Colleen Murphy of Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Colleen Murphy began her career at Cabrillo Medical Center in 1979.

Early in her career, she reported to Laurie Ecoff, vice president of the Caster Nursing Institute, who at that time was the director of Ambulatory Services at Sharp Grossmont. Ecoff says Murphy is the consummate administrative liaison and leader because of her problem solving, genuine caring, sense of humor and calming presence in stressful times.

Murphy’s knack for developing relationships and enthusiasm for The Sharp Experience made her the ideal spokesperson for Sharp, Ecoff says. “I sure will miss hearing her voice on the radio or seeing her smiling face on TV.”

Louise White, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Sharp Grossmont, agrees. “Colleen has been an intricate part of Grossmont nursing leadership and her actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,” she says. “She will be so missed.”

Ready for time at home — and abroad
Murphy knows she’ll miss the energy she feels when she walks in the door at Sharp Grossmont and the interactions with those she considers family. “This place has been so wonderful to me,” she says, wiping away tears. “I’m going to miss it. And yet, I’m so grateful to be able to leave when I’m healthy and happy.”

However, she’s got big plans on the horizon to spend more time with her three adult children and four grandchildren, attending school functions, and being more present. She also hopes to volunteer more with disaster management agencies, the federal Disaster Medical Response Team and the California Medical Response Team. And next June, she’s scheduled to work at the Maasai Clinic & School in Tanzania, with her children by her side, working as a team.

“Whether through her leadership, her tireless dedication to the organ donation cause, or being the voice and face of Sharp, Colleen has long been a beloved and respected icon of Sharp,” says Scott Evans, senior vice president and market CEO of Sharp HealthCare Regional Hospitals. “The genuine admiration our entire team has for her will be tough to match. But we all wish her the best in her well-deserved retired life.”

When asked to share advice to new nursing graduates embarking on a career with Sharp, Murphy says her “magic potion” was to say yes whenever asked if she wanted to try something new.

“Whether it is to try a new position or to float somewhere for a shift or two, try a new piece of equipment, learn a new computer program — whatever the ask is, just try it,” she says. “It doesn't mean that you have to continue in that position, or that you'll necessarily like it, but it opens doors and opportunity. Every little thing you do stacks up to be this big, tall, elegant tower of expertise and experience, and you'll be surprised all the places those little ‘yeses’ take you.”

Sharp is certainly grateful Colleen said yes to joining the team and for her dedication to always providing her Sharp family — and the San Diego community — The Sharp Experience.

Learn more about the people of Sharp; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News.

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Colleen Murphy

Contributor

Colleen Murphy is the manager of administrative support services at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

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Deene’ Mollon

Contributor

Deene’ Mollon is the director of progressive care at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

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Laurie Ecoff

Contributor

Laurie Ecoff is the director of education, research and professional practice at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

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Louise White

Contributor

Louise White is the vice president of patient care at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.


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