Brothers By Chance, Nurses By Choice

Colin and Liam Morrissey standing in stairwell.

Colin and Liam Morrissey

Published July 1, 2019

“It’s interesting to see the different perspectives from each individual [nurse] based on what they do. That’s why I like nursing, though; there are so many different backgrounds and experiences.”
Liam Morrissey, BS '19

Brothers Liam and Colin Morrissey are nurses, but that was never their plan. 

“Our parents still say, ‘We can’t believe you guys are nurses.’ Just never in a million years did we think we’d be nurses,” says Liam. 

Colin's Story

When Colin first began his college search, he applied to several schools outside of Buffalo, but nothing quite clicked.

“I thought that I had to get out of Buffalo because all of my friends were going to schools in other cities, and Buffalo wasn’t booming like it is now,” explains Colin.

His father, UB alumnus Thomas Morrissey, BS ’71, MLS ’80, suggested he go to UB. Colin wasn’t thrilled by the idea but enrolled anyway. He’s glad he did.

“I’m very happy my dad was wise enough to see what I couldn’t,” says Colin.

Colin was sure about being a Bull but was still unsure about a major as an underclassman. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in college. I initially thought psychology, but I knew that I would hate it,” Colin says.

As an underclassman, Colin took a job as a transporter at Sisters of Charity Hospital and befriended the nurses there. He hadn’t considered nursing before but was impressed by the various career paths nursing has to offer.

“You can go into management, school nursing, work the floor or ICU. It’s a respectable job. A knowledgeable job. I thought this sounds great for me. I like helping people, and for the most part, it is very rewarding,” says Colin.

Colin, Liam and Thomas Morrissey standing in front of bronze bull.

Colin and Liam with their father, Thomas Morrissey, at the 2019 School of Nursing commencement ceremony.

Colin even kept a motivational card for nurse anesthesia students that a CRNA gave to him when he was a transporter.

“I’m friends with the guy who gave it to me. I recently texted him and he said, ‘I can’t believe you’re finally doing it; you’re almost done.’”

Colin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2011 and from UB SON’s DNP nurse anesthesia program this year.

Liam's Story

Liam’s story is similar to his younger brother’s.

Liam has worked at ECMC for 10 years, starting at the lobby newsstand before transitioning to the sterile processing department, where he took an interest in surgery and developed close relationships with the OR nurses.

“I was complaining to the nurses about my plateau after earning my general studies associate’s degree, and they said I should go back to school,” explains Liam.

Liam agreed and started the nursing program at ECC at the same time Colin was graduating from the undergraduate nursing program at UB, but he was in for a big surprise.

“I just went through the motions for my first degree, and it wasn’t hard. I remember Colin was very stressed, and I never understood why, but I definitely do now,” says Liam.

Liam is a perioperative nurse at ECMC but wanted more for the future, so he started UB’s online RN to BS program in 2018. “I went back because I didn’t want to regret missing out on opportunities.”

During the program, Liam was introduced to a variety of nurses outside of the OR. “It’s interesting to see the different perspectives from each individual based on what they do. That’s why I like nursing, though; there are so many different backgrounds and experiences.”

Liam graduated with his bachelor’s degree in nursing this year and continues to look to the future. Liam would like to travel and work with surgical teams in underdeveloped countries.

If you asked Colin and Liam 10 years ago where they thought they’d be today, nursing would never have crossed their minds. Now, if you ask them where they see themselves in 10 years, without a doubt they will say as a nurse.