Alumni Spotlight: Christine, MSN, “One day you will grow up to help people”

Christine Smith-Murphy graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Public Health in October 2023.  Using inspiration from her mother and grandmother, Christine turned her caring and compassion into a fulfilling career in nursing.


Asking, “What is your educational journey”, at first, seems like a basic question but it is a bit like a long-buried fossil. The more an archaeologist brushes at the discovered object, the more the creature is revealed. I am that archaeologist brushing at that artifact we will, for now, call my educational journey.

It began in my home country of Jamaica when it was clear that I had an innate desire to help others. This aspect of my character is rooted in my Christian faith and my mother. My mother modeled the behavior that describes a person of faith. She was a community healthcare aide in the district of Wait-A-Bit, Trelawny and I often accompanied her on her rounds. I learned firsthand the importance of being caring, compassionate, and patient with those in need and I sought to emulate her. As I grew, my family members recognized that I held a lot of my mother’s qualities. My grandmother, another caring and loving person, told me, “One day you will grow up to help people.” I remember an injured bird floundering in our backyard and I nursed it back to health. Caring for those in need has been my destiny.

In Jamaica, I started as an Enrolled Assistant Nurse, the equivalent of an LPN; later I acquired a Registered Nursing diploma. I moved with my husband and sons to Canada in 2009 to take advantage of the better opportunities the country offered. Here, I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014. At my graduation ceremony, I felt great pride in what I had achieved, being the first to get a university degree in my family, but I felt incomplete. I looked at the nurses who had acquired their Master’s degrees and knew that was going to be my next step.

Aspen University has been invaluable in reaching my goals. Their online program made it possible for me to balance my career, my family obligations, and my role in church. From the beginning, I felt as if they wanted me to be successful. Their program encouraged me to push through the obstacles. The institution has equipped me with advanced knowledge and skills to make a valid contribution to modern-day health care. Aspen’s program was challenging and introduced me to facets of the healthcare industry I had not known. Modern-day healthcare is complex, but I feel equipped to handle providing the best care to those in desperate situations while being sensitive to the personal needs of patients. Aspen has furnished me with the confidence to continue in my goal to be a lifelong learner in healthcare.

There were times when I thought I would not be able to scale the latest obstacle. It was a challenging two years. I am not sure if I am qualified to offer advice to others, but this is what I would say: Illness, family crisis, and a host of unexpected setbacks will always rise up and try to crush your spirit. Persevere through your insecurities. Find something that keeps you going. For me personally, I used my faith; my mantra was “I can do things through Christ, who strengthens me.” No matter what the task, don’t lose focus. Use whatever it is that keeps you strong. Any goal that is worth achieving involves sacrifice. 

I am grateful for the support and endorsement that my instructors, tutors, academic team, healthcare professionals, and family have provided. They have all been part of my journey, and have provided me with the stability necessary to be the best person I can be. The saying states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I would change that and say that it takes a village to grow an individual.


Christine’s story demonstrates that motivation is key to persevering through a graduate program.  If you are ready to enroll in a graduate nursing program, visit the School of Nursing and Health Sciences webpage for more info!

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