10 Questions with Judy Quinn
On the verge of retirement, the VP of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer prepares to embark on a new adventure
Looking back on her 46-year career at Cape Cod Hospital, Judy Quinn says she feels like a walking encyclopedia, a rare commodity in today’s workplace. “It’s like anything when you’ve worked somewhere for so long—you know people’s kids, the highs and lows over the years; it’s 7 degrees of separation,” says Quinn, MSN, RN-BC, Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer at Cape Cod Hospital. “But those types of people don’t exist now because everyone is more mobile and they don’t stay in one place for long, but that’s OK.”
Over more than four decades, the accomplished leader has worked in many different roles at Cape Cod Hospital, including her first job as a staff nurse on a med-surg floor, a float pool nurse, lead nurse manager, in-patient director and EC director. At one point, Quinn also worked in the IT department for several years. Some of her most memorable moments include being part of the facility upgrades to critical care, the electronic medical records projects, the addition of Mugar Tower and the COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Quinn also serves on the Board at Cape Cod Community College, a five year, governor-appointed role. Through it all, Quinn says she will miss the people the most. “I’ve been lucky in that I have had so many different jobs in the same place and know so many people,” says Quinn. Although she has big shoes to fill, Quinn says she works here just like everybody else. “One of the things I am good at, though, is I can talk to anybody.”
Quinn is retiring July 1. If you see her around Cape Cod Hospital, be sure to wish her the best and offer congratulations. We managed to catch up with Quinn before she sets sail, literally, into retirement!
Enjoy clicking through the slideshow of photos, which include a 1975 nursing school graduation photo of Judy Quinn and fun captures from her retirement party in the Lorusso Board Room.
What was your very first job? What was your big takeaway? When I graduated from Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing in June 1975, I tried to get a job at Cape Cod Hospital and there were no nursing jobs. In the interim, I did what is now known as hospice. I cared for dying people in their homes on the night shift. Then Ms. Scudder, the director of nurses back in the day, called me and said, “I see you have an application here. We have a job for you.” I started on 4/5/76. I didn’t really like working in hospice because I can’t sit still for a long time. Sitting patiently in a chair while someone is sleeping in their bed didn’t really work for me. So I was very happy to come here.
Looking back on your career, what are some of your proudest moments at CCHC? Organizing and managing the COVID-19 vaccine clinics in the Melody Tent parking lot. We had a trailer and all of the nurses and others were outside with tables and the cars would drive through. Those days were a blast. We also ran clinics inside Cape Cod Healthcare locations and Cape Cod Community College. You felt like you were giving back. The nurses and pharmacy staff who worked these clinics really enjoyed the experience.
What is your passion in life? Boating and race management. I’ve been into sailing and racing for 30-plus years. I used to race competitively with friends, including the Figawi, which we won many times. But as we got older and started having kids, we got into the race management side of it. Now my colleagues and I run the Figawi Race Committee. I belong to the Southern Mass Sailing Association, where I am on the Board of Trustees as Treasurer. I am also on the Board at the Wianno Yacht Club. My colleagues and I are involved in youth race management across Cape Cod. I own a 20-foot Brig and a J/22 with my son. I enjoy sailing at Hyannis Yacht Club and traveling to wherever regattas are taking place, especially in the Newport area. My son is a very competitive sailor, from the age of 8 to the present. He still races competitively. He’s 27 and very much involved with boating. I have traveled all over the place with him, including California and Italy.
What are you most looking forward to in retirement? Spending time with my granddaughters, two-year-old twins Emma and Grace. They live in Scituate and I will see them a lot this summer. I am told that I’m the only person in my entire graduating nursing class who is still working. Many of my friends don’t work at this point. I can’t just go do what they are doing or take a class without planning ahead. So I’m looking forward to having more free time.
If you could have another career, what would it be? Probably a veterinarian or something to do with animals—that is what I always wanted to be growing up, but I had such bad allergies. Now I might be able to do that because there is medicine for it, and as you get older, you outgrow some allergies. People will recall my betta fish, Big Blue and then Pink, who resided in a big bowl on my office desk for many years.
Do you have any four-legged friends at home? I have a rescue cat named Dory, a Maine Coon type of cat. I used to have two dogs, but they each died at age 14, which is a long life for English Setters. Dory was found in the parking lot of the Christmas Tree Shops at the bridge. It’s hard to believe she wasn’t anyone’s pet because she was so beautiful. She was young and skinny—didn’t even weigh 6 pounds—and looked like she hadn’t eaten in a long while. I had never had a cat like this before, but in the beginning we had to hide everything because she would open bags and eat bread, things that cats typically don’t do. She also opened cabinets and climbed inside to find food.
What is one thing someone might not know about you? In 2019, I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru with my son and some friends. We saw the antiquities, spent time on the Amazon on a river boat and hiked up Machu Picchu. It was amazing.
What do you keep an emergency supply of? Band-Aids and a pen.
If not on the Cape, where would you live? Maine. We used to own a house in Phillips, Maine, the western mountains, halfway between Sugarloaf and Rangeley. I used to ski all the time. But I gave it up because I’m older and I don’t want to break anything. It’s not that I don’t have confidence in my skills. It’s the fear of people crashing into you. If not Maine, I would live on a boat in the BVIs.
Have you thought about staying four more years at CCH and making it an even 50 years? Someone did ask me, ‘Can’t you just stay?’ If it wasn’t for COVID and all it was, I probably could have. I plan to take time off to enjoy a Cape Cod summer, which I haven’t done since 1975. Then I will do something, I’m just not sure what yet. I can’t imagine not working in some capacity. I plan to continue to volunteer my time on Boards and some new projects I’m not aware of today. I’m trying to make myself not make a plan, which is hard.