Graduate Nursing Student Follows a Healing Path

Elizabeth Terhune has worn many hats throughout her life but her focus on healing others has always remained. Terhune, who graduated this month with a Master in Science of Nursing degree from UMass Medical School, was chosen as the class speaker for the 2015 graduating class.

Terhune was a daughter and granddaughter of doctors, so growing-up, she naturally thought she too would become a physician. Instead she received her degree in history and took a technology job at Oracle. She credits the critical thinking skills she learned as part of the liberal arts degree as being a key reason for being hired.

During her years at Oracle as a product specialist she found her love of teaching when she began leading workshops. She climbed the ranks and became successful within the company. Soon though, she decided she wanted to do something that was oriented towards the community.

She went to school and trained as a massage therapist with a specialty in oncology massage, stating that she wanted to “work with people on medically complicated journeys.” She also received training for prenatal and postpartum massage.

Terhune established the Abbot Road Project in 2010 which provides palliative oncology massage for cancer patients in Massachusetts who are unable to pay for such services. The project brings massage therapists trained in oncology massage together to provide free massages for cancer patients.

During her work as a massage therapist Terhune decided she wanted to work more with the elderly which led her to her most recent studies to become a gerontologic primary care nurse practitioner. She will be practicing palliative and end-of-life care in her new career.

In addition to her many accomplishments Terhune received the Graduate School of Nursing Community Engagement Award in 2013, the Suzanne T. Sullivan Scholarship for Patient Advocacy in 2014 and was named a Fairlawn Nursing Scholar in 2015.