Familiar Faces: Quadruplet Sisters Poised to Chart Own Courses for Success

By Tom McLaughlin

At first glance, the similarities are unmistakable. Growing up three-fourths of a set of quadruplets, Casey, Kelly, and Rachel Murphy say they have gotten used to people recognizing them around their hometown of Swedesboro.

“Ever since we were young, even if people didn’t know us, they knew of us,” explains Rachel, who graduated from Kingsway High School with her quadruplet sisters in 2017.

But just as quickly, it’s easy to see what sets the sisters apart, and it’s their ability to work together as a team that has enabled each one to shine in their own unique way.

Beginning this fall, the sisters – and longtime study buddies – are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in nursing together at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden. The other quadruplet, Erin, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in animal science at Oklahoma State University and is hoping to complete graduate school there to become a veterinarian.

The trio has also begun developing their skills to serve as guiding influences in their field via the Leadership Institute at Rutgers–Camden.

“As we’ve gotten older, it’s become more and more important to establish who we are and who we want to become as individuals,” says Kelly. “College is going to be so important to continue doing that.”

Pictured (left to right) are Casey, Kelly, Rachel, and Erin

True to form, while the sisters are entering nursing for their common desire to help others, they all have different ideas of what exactly that means.

According to Rachel, she had an “eye-opening” experience shadowing doctors who deliver postoperative care in an emergency setting. She knew “right away” that is what she wanted to do, she says, and now plans to be a flight trauma nurse.

“I am drawn to the intensity of it; always having to be on your toes,” she says. “If there is a bad car accident, I want to be there on the scene.”

Meanwhile, Kelly plans to work in the field of pediatric oncology, with notions of pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing practice.

“I love kids and I’m fascinated with oncology, so why not do both?” asks Kelly.

Casey, who shadowed a physician during her senior year, plans to enter the field of cardiology or to pursue a career in pediatric oncology like Kelly.

“The human anatomy is awesome to me,” says Casey. “I think it’s going to be so amazing studying everything.”

Casey adds that they are all excited to be following in the footsteps of their late mother, Toni, who passed away when they were two years old. Toni worked in several areas of nursing, including serving on the nursing staff at a prison, as an elementary school nurse, and in an obstetrician/gynecologist office prior to them being born. Their older sister, Lyn Murphy, was the first to enter the medical field; she now works as an X-ray technician at MedExpress and Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

“We are all going into the medical field, but there are so many different directions that you can go,” says Casey. “We look forward to pursuing our own passions.”

In doing so, the girls credit their father, Michael, who served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, for instilling the work ethic, responsibility, and organizational skills needed to take on any challenge that comes their way.

The quadruplets (left to right) Erin, Rachel, Kelly, and Casey with their older sister Lyn

As Michael recalls, the thought of raising his daughters on his own was admittedly daunting at first, but he made up his mind right away that he wasn’t going to let anyone down. With the task “too much for any one person,” the family settled in Swedesboro, where he enlisted the support of his mother and in-laws nearby.

From an early age, he says, the girls learned to do their part and to work together as a team.

“I had to teach them to be more responsible and to contribute to the everyday needs of maintaining a house at a very young age,” says Michael, who worked on nuclear power plants on submarines before retiring from the Navy as a machinist mate chief petty officer in 2005.

The sisters were also expected to keep up with their schoolwork and, once they got older, to work part-time jobs in order to pay for any extraneous expenses. These days, customers are likely to do double-takes – and perhaps triple-takes – at Latteria, a popular ice cream shop in Swedesboro where they work.

The girls have naturally grown close over the years and have come to routinely lean on one another, whether it’s at home, at work, or in the classroom.

“It’s awesome always having someone there; we don’t know anything else,” says Casey, who notes that they keep up with their sister, Erin, via Snapchat.

They now look forward to pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in nursing together at Rutgers–Camden. They even have the same class schedules, they explain, which will enable them to commute together and will ensure that that there is always a familiar face in class.

“And we’ll always have a study group,” says Casey.

But make no mistake, says Kelly, the experience will be just as much about branching out and charting their own courses for success.

“We can’t forever be known as the quadruplets,” says Kelly. “We have to establish ourselves and be independent. Each one of us intends to do that in our own unique way.”

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