Florida native Murphy plants roots in Washington, opens clinic

GTNS photo by David Hotle

Nurse practitioner Brian Murphy recently opened a clinic in Washington to begin seeing patients.
GTNS photo by David Hotle Nurse practitioner Brian Murphy recently opened a clinic in Washington to begin seeing patients.

Brian Murphy expected to only stay in the Washington County area for a few years after following his new wife to live in the area. That was about 21 years ago.

Growing up in Florida, Murphy said he met his wife Sonya Keeler while they were taking EMT classes in the Army. After marrying, they lived in Florida for about five years before moving to Washington so they could attend the University of Iowa. With a strong love of the beach, Murphy had always intended to move back to Florida, but the friendliness of the people convinced him to stay.

An advanced registered nurse practitioner, Murphy opened Iowa Family Practice in Washington in the fall of 2018 to begin seeing patients. He also covers the emergency room at the Washington County Hospital and Clinics. He is employed through Mercy Hospital and covers the clinic in his off hours. In the past Murphy has opened clinics in Wellman and Sigourney to see patients who would otherwise have had to travel to see a medical professional.

Why did you decide to open the clinic?

I miss family practice. I really enjoy the getting to know and take care of patients. I moved from Sigourney to the ER here, and you don’t get that follow-through feel for patients, so I do this part time.

What is the difference between what you do and what a doctor does?

There is no diffeence. There is a different philosophy. I went through the nursing track rather than a medical school. There are certain things I’m not allowed to do. I can’t order diabetic shoes. It’s a bureaucracy issue. I can’t order home health. I see patients. I treat small fractures and lacerations. There is a lot of parallel. Nurses are trained from a holistic standpoint where medicine focuses on the medical issues.

How did you decide to go into nursing?

I always wanted to. As a kid I knew I wanted to be a vet or a doctor. In the army I was sewayed toward nursing. It’s easier to go through nursing school and have a family than it is medical school. Medical school has residencies, where nurses have clinical hours during training. We build on experience as nurses. It was easier to facilitate a family.

Since you’ve been in Washington, what do you think?

Washington is a great community. For years I had not been able to work in my hometown and I love my hometown. I ride my bike everywhere. I hardly drive my car anymore now that I am in town.

What’s your favorite thing about Washington?

It’s home. This is where my family lives. the community is very receptive. We are a small town, but big enough that we have community events and a strong community feel. It’s small enough that we get that small-town feel you don’t have in places like Cedar Rapids. I like that a lot. I grew up in a big town and you didn’t interact with people the way you do here.

If you could change one thing about Washington, what would it be?

More parks. We have a wonderful Kewash system and I love that, but I would like to see a larger venue for outdoor activity.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love running. I love riding my bike. I like working with wood. I love spending time with my family.

What are your plans for the future?

Stay here. I want to keep working. I don’t foresee retirement. I think if I can keep working here on a part-time basis, I will. I look forward to having grandchildren too.