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Director of Nursing at the Leonard Florence Center for Living

Experiencing a baseball injury at age 15 became the catalyst for Michael O’Brien’s nursing career. After being taken to the emergency room for a dislocated shoulder, Michael looked at the nursing profession in a new light. He was impressed by the skill, compassion, and dedication of the nurses. For Michael O’Brien, that day in the hospital sparked a life-long commitment to working in the healthcare field.

We spoke with Michael about his career path, his interests and why decided to join Chelsea Jewish Lifecare.

Q. Where are you from?

A. I grew up in Wrentham, MA, which is a small town that borders Rhode Island very close to the Foxboro area. My parents still live there –in the same house I grew up in. I have an older brother Sean who I am very close with as well. Currently, I reside in Quincy where I have spent the last six years close to the Wollaston Beach area.

Q. You are an avid sports player and fan. What sports are your favorite?

A. In my younger days, I played hockey and baseball at Philip Regional High School. One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to play pond hockey. Prior to the pandemic I was playing in pond hockey tournaments throughout the winter with friends I grew up, with along with my brother. Living in New England, I will always take advantage of the cold weather as an opportunity to ice skate and play hockey. I really enjoy watching sports like hockey, baseball, and football. I am, of course, a big fan of the local Boston sports teams.

Q. What inspired your career path?

A. In fact, the movie Patch Adams had a major impact upon me. Robin Williams, who was one of my favorite actors, portrayed the main character and focused on helping patients improve their quality of life as well as their underlying sickness. I then went to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, where I received my BSN, RN degree. I loved my time at Quinnipiac and made many lifelong friends while I was there. Plus, the nursing program was excellent! Upon graduation, I worked as a cook and landscaper while searching for a nursing position, ultimately ending up at a nursing home in Stoughton.

I quickly grew to love working with the geriatric patients and realized that I wanted to continue to work in nursing homes. It was an enlightening environment. I liked meeting the residents, developing relationships, and trying to provide them with a higher quality of life. Over the last several years I have worked in different roles such as SDC/ADON and the Infection Control Nurse at Elizabeth Seton in Wellesley. Earlier this year, I became Director of Nurses at the Leonard Florence Center. I have grown to love the Green House® model. The environment truly feels like a resident’s home.

Q. What excited you about joining the Chelsea Jewish Lifecare family?

A. It is an honor to work in an organization of this caliber. I admire the values of the staff and fully support how they put the residents’ needs at the forefront. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know both staff and residents alike. The Center creates a unique and inspiring environment. I am proud to work in such a revolutionary and compassionate setting.

Q. What do like to do in your spare time?

A. I like going to the gym and staying active. Additionally, I enjoy taking walks up and down Wollaston Beach with my girlfriend Leanne, whom I have been dating for a little over a year now. We actually met on Valentine’s Day!