There are many things that define CCRI Class of 2017 graduate Victoria Morrone.
She is a Westerly native, a mother of three and soon will be a graduate of CCRI’s competitive Nursing program. She will enroll in Southern New Hampshire University’s RN to BSN program and plans to be a pediatric nurse.
What does not define Morrone is the loss of her right leg in 2013.
“I still get to be a mom, I still have a loving husband, I can still complete the program,” she said. “I am not trying to inspire anyone but my children. I am literally just trying to live my life, live what I’ve been given.”
Morrone reluctantly accepts the idea she is an inspiration, but she embraces her compassionate and nurturing side that sparked an interest in nursing. She received great care from nurses when her son was born in 2008, but she wanted time to adjust to being a mother. After her daughter was born in 2010 she decided she wanted to begin her nursing education.
“I wanted my daughter to have a role model. I wanted her to know that she could do whatever she wanted to do,” she said.
She enrolled at CCRI in 2011 and began her prerequisites. In 2013, she was accepted into the Nursing program. She gave birth to her second son during the fall semester, but during the winter break she fell ill. She was placed in an induced coma and, with no signs of progress, transported to a more intensive trauma care center. Doctors said her leg would need to be amputated in a last-ditch effort to save her.
The amputation was a success and led her to shift her professional and educational path. The care she received at Rhode Island Hospital inspired her to provide the same kind of compassion to her future patients.
As she healed mentally, emotionally and physically, Morrone returned to CCRI’s Nursing program.
She had always wanted to pursue maternity care but after the amputation, she focused on pediatric nursing.
“What I went through completely changed my outlook on who I wanted to take care of,” she said. “No obstacle is too much for a child. They have a different outlook than adults. They look at it like, ‘This is what’s going on and tomorrow’s another day.’ That’s kind of what it is for me.”
She battled through the program, facing the same challenges of other students while raising a family and adjusting to life with a prosthetic.
Morrone credits clinical instructors Elaine Amato-Vealey, Jeanne McColl and the many others who expected excellence from her.
“I am beyond grateful for them. I was so lucky with who I received as clinical instructors. None of them held me to a different standard, and I thank them so much for that,” she said.
She excelled in the clinical area, drawing on her own experiences to bring a unique perspective to her work. Her coursework at CCRI included rotations that confirmed nursing was her calling. During a medical-surgical rotation she related her own experiences to a patient, who responded with smiles and nods. During a pediatric rotation she talked with the mother of a new amputee who found hope in Morrone’s story.
These interactions helped her understand her purpose, and showed her she has an opportunity to relate with patients and connect with them on a different level.
Morrone recognizes the obstacles that she overcame to graduate from CCRI.
“Everyone has tragedy in their lives, everyone has challenges they must face,” she said. “It’s how you handle those obstacles, whether or not you overcome them, that help shape the person you become.”