Nicole - Neuroscience Acute Care

Elizabeth, RN with Nicole, RN

I would like to nominate Nicole Muoio, RN on 6N.  Nicole is our interim nurse educator and is also a charge nurse.  I would like to nominate her for being our ultimate "flex man."  Nicole has been a staff nurse, charge nurse, educator, and inspiration to all of us on 6N.  Nicole has been my mentor and has pushed me, and other staff, to become more involved in our unit.  I am now the unit board chairman and staff council representative for our unit and I do not believe I would have known to reach so far unless I had her guidance and support.  Nicole is the ultimate "go-to" woman on our floor and I would like to see her recognized as well as share the gratitude for everyone on 6N.  Thank you.  

Elizabeth G, RN
Neuroscience Acute Care

Nicole's Story 

I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember.  My mother is a nurse.  She raised me as a single mother and worked the 3-11pm shift when I was little.  I remember her stripping her clothes and shoes off at the front door when she got home and said to me, "Don't you dare touch those.  They are full of germs!"   My mother never glamorized the profession, but I knew that what she did made a difference and she loved it.  My Nana would sometimes take me to the hospital to visit my mom while she was working and I remember walking in the doors and feeling at home.  I would inhale and close my eyes.  I loved the way the hospital smelled.  I would walk up and down the unit she worked on and peek at the patients in their rooms and see the way they looked at the nurses as they cared for them and think to myself that I wanted to touch people's lives that way.  There was never a time in my life when I ever wanted to do anything different. 

The one obstacle I faced pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse was the early delivery of my twins.  I was in a bachelor's program in the 4th of 5th semesters of nursing, when I delivered my twins much earlier than expected -- at 26 weeks of gestation.  My daughter, Julianne, was 1 lb 15oz. and my son, Nicholas, was 1 lb. 14 oz.  They had to overcome so many obstacles just to stay alive!  I had already completed my OB/Peds rotation and had too much knowledge for my own good.  I anticipated every potential problem or bit of progress they were supposed to make.  Needless to say, I withdrew from the nursing program and, being a single mom myself, spent every moment at the NICU until they were able to come home with me at 35 weeks gestation.  They were both 4 lbs and my son was on oxygen, so I did not return to work or school until they were 2 years old. 

I also faced an obstacle in returning to school as I had relocated to Nashville from Memphis because my family lived here and were a tremendous support in helping me raise my children.  Because I could not return to the original nursing program I started in, finding a school that was willing to except all my credit hours was a challenge.  But as usual, the Lord took care of me and I happened upon a wonderful Dean of Nursing at Columbia State Community College that made the transition effortless for me.  To her, I will always be grateful.

I work on 6N, the Neuroscience Acute Care Unit at VUMC.  I applied to the unit as a new grad 7 years ago when we were a smaller unit combined with the Neuro ICU on 11S.  I was a bedside nurse for 3 years.  At that time, James B. was our unit Educator.  He opened doors to the world of nursing I didn't know existed.  He taught me that the impact of nursing reaches beyond the bedside and affects the organization as a whole, with patient outcomes being our highest priority.  Upon his leaving our unit for another position, he recommended me for Interim Educator of our unit.  We, as a unit, have had a tumultuous 3 years as we have transitioned to a separate entity from the Neuro ICU.  During this process, our manager and assistant manager also transferred to other departments.  Over time, we have built a phenomenal leadership team.  Kaye S. has also been an incredible mentor to me.  I have served as Interim Educator, Interim Assistant Manager, and was also hired into the role of designated Charge RN.  There was a period of time that our staff named me "Slash" because I was Educator/(slash) Charge RN/ (slash)…  I love our unit and I will always serve it in any capacity that is needed.

Being a nurse is my mission.  It's what God has called me to do, and I can't imagine practicing anywhere but here at Vanderbilt.  God motivates me, 6N patients and staff motivate me, and this institution motivates me to keep coming back everyday.

I am married to a loving and supportive husband.  My twins are now 10 years old and I also have another little boy that is 3 years old.  My family and I enjoy spending time together doing outside activities such as bike riding or working in the garden.  I am contemplating beginning a new journey to return to school to get my master's degree as a clinical nurse leader.

I would like to share that my daughter, Julianne, has made news at Vanderbilt in the past.  She is the little girl on the cover of the cookbook, "Entertaining with Friends," which is a cookbook that was created for  Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.  Proceeds from cookbook purchases are donated to the facility.

Nicole, RN
Neuroscience Acute Care