Michele Pepin, RN, a beloved, longtime staff nurse on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, died unexpectedly July 24 at the age of 54. She is remembered by colleagues for her expertise, energy and above all, her big heart. This was her 30th year at the MGH.
“Michele was so smart. She was quick-witted and able to lighten any situation, which was one of the things we loved about her. She was full of humor and, at the same time, had so much compassion,” says Erica Edwards, RN, who worked with Pepin for 25 years. “She laughed with her patients and their families, but she also cried with them.” Edwards says Pepin treated patients as if they were family and would go above and beyond to make them feel cared for, keeping in touch after they were discharged. “She was always thinking of others and often would do something special for patients and their families, like sending a card when a patient was married or knitting a baby blanket for one patient’s new grandchild.”
In addition to knitting gifts for her patients, Pepin made hats and scarves for soldiers serving overseas – like her son, Matthew. Outside of work, she loved spending time and traveling with her family and enjoyed bicycling and kayaking.
“I knew Michele for 30 years,” says Donna Sweeney, RN. “She was extremely energetic and always a team player who was willing to help everyone out. When my husband was dying four years ago, she came and sat with me at the hospital for four days straight. She was that kind of person. She had a big heart. Patients and their families just loved her. You couldn’t ask for a better nurse.”
Pepin, who was a resident of West Bridgewater, Mass., grew up in Stratford, Conn. She received her nursing degree from the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing and later attended Curry College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2000. Edwards says Pepin inspired her to go back to school as well.
Nursing was a family affair for Pepin; her husband of 28 years, Michael, is a retired nurse who worked for the VA Boston Healthcare System, and her daughter Jessica is a nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Pepin also is survived by her son Matthew and his wife Ashley, her daughter Jillian and many nieces and nephews.
Read more articles from the 8/10/12 Hotline issue.