- At the ripe age of 72 she got her PhD in nursing and is loving being called doctor
- She based her research on how diverse affects nurses
- Dephyne will now be working at the University to help supervise masters students
At the age of 72, Dephyne Murray has joined the thousands of students graduating this year in South Africa. What an achievement for this mother and grandmother who is now a doctor of philosophy.
Dephyne is a lecturer at the Fort Hare University, and says it is a great blessing to have obtained her PhD in nursing.
"I enjoy being called 'doctor' at 72," she told HuffPost on Monday — a neat irony, since she originally qualified as a nurse.
Working at the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital (CMH) in East London as the deputy director is where Dephyne retired. After her retirement, the institution appointed her as a student record manager, but she had bigger plans.
Her desire to lecture on management would mean that she would have to study for her Masters, which she did and achieved in two years. But this bookworm was still not satisfied.
“I was a nurse for over 40 years, and I saw some of staff members divorcing. My worry was always: how do sick people take care of sick people?”
Taking a chance in 2013, Dephyne applied for her PhD. She had nothing to lose as she had so much time on her hands.
"I am a mother and I have grandchildren, but they are either overseas, in Johannesburg, or PE (Port Elizabeth). My husband is 10 years older than me; he would sleep early."
Dephyne’s application for her PhD was approved. The research for her PhD is an extension of the work she had done for her Masters. Her research was studying the effects of divorce on nurses and creating a support model for them.
"I was a nurse for over 40 years, and I saw some of staff members divorcing. My worry was always: how do sick people take care of sick people?" Murray said.
About 25 years ago, Dephyne herself went through a divorce while working as a ward manager. She is well aware of the toll it takes one’s wellbeing.
"I used to go to the toilet and cry," she admitted.
From her research, Dephyne believes that the support model she has developed should be used by the department of health. It will be of great assistance to those nurses, especially those in management, to aid them should they go through a separation or divorce.
There is no stopping her. Dephyne will carry on working at the university supervising the Masters students.
"My brain is so sharp; I love teaching," she says with a chuckle.
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