Vickie Puopolo Chipman RN started with OHC last November and quickly became an integral part of the team. She has been working at Moderna, Insulet, and Pfizer. Her daughter, Ari, an EMT, joined us a few months later.
Here is Vickie’s story:
I’m not one to write about myself but here is my journey to nursing. I never wanted to be a nurse, secretary, or teacher, the jobs that were specific for women; I wanted to be an artist. Back in the day parents had a lot of influence as to what field you chose and a “starving artist” was not what my parents had in mind. I finished high school and attended a community college to improve my GPA and to take the liberal arts classes that I avoided in high school.
During this time, my mother was also attending college for accounting when she happened upon a class in Dental Laboratory Technology. She thought it was a productive form of art because sculpting, metal work and creativity was involved. And as the all abiding daughter I went to school for Dental Technology. I worked for a few years in a laboratory, one of the most boring experiences ever. I did learn about facial prosthetics while working in the lab and went to Indiana University for an internship in Facial Prosthetics.
During this time, I also was married, when I returned it was difficult finding a job as many still didn’t want to hire women in the field, so I worked for 7 years with an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon as the radiologist, laboratory technician and surgical assistant. I was a great experience and was able to travel with a medical volunteer group to Ecuador on multiple occasions where I was able to utilize my skills a Facial Prosthetist. I spent a few weeks in Sweden with the surgeon who developed dental implants and worked with his nurse and facial prosthesis. When I returned home I started a new job at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Plastic Surgery Department where I would be the Facial Prosthetist and surgical assistant in an FDA study. I worked with seven Plastic Surgeons as well as two Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Residents in the department. My job expanded to Medical Assistant, Surgical Assistant/Private Scrub and whatever else needed to be done in the office.
I worked here for eight years and gained an incredible amount of knowledge, so I enrolled at Northeastern University in a pre-med program. Things were great and looking up, I was going to be a doctor some day. Well as life takes many turns, as well as ups and downs, my mother was diagnosed with Melanoma and I became pregnant with my first child; school just had to be put on hold. I had my daughter and three months later buried my mother all the while working in the Plastic Surgery Department. I then became pregnant with twins and life took another turn and I resigned from BWH. Of course I immersed myself in mother hood and preschool activities. Two more children came along; PTO, various sports, Scouts, etc took up my time.
I returned to Northeastern in 2009 and finished my undergrad in Health Sciences. I then decided I may as well try and become a nurse practitioner so I applied to Simmons College and was accepted. I received my RN, BSN in 2015 and continued in the NP program but some unexpected life changes happened and I put the NP on hold. I started as a vaccinator and moved into Homecare and did a short stint in Long-term care as well. I am still trying to decide which avenue I would like to head but am enjoying the diversity of the nursing positions I have held over the past 6 years and look forward to my next adventure.