Here’s a great Father’s Day story: All four of the Spotsylvania County family work in some aspect of health care—three in the same hospital—and the two daughters were so inspired by the example set by their father, they followed in his footsteps.
The problem is, that’s not entirely true — at least not in the joke-filled initial version of the story shared by the father and daughter who both work at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center. Jerry Martin, 58, is the director of pharmacy services, and Hannah Martin, 23, a secretary in the intensive care unit.
Laurie Martin, Jerry’s wife and Hannah’s mother, said that while they both work in serious places, they also share a dry sense of humor that can be unfiltered and even pungent.
“We have a lot of fun, we laugh a lot, and I shake my head a lot,” Laurie said in response to some of her husband’s comments that might surprise those who don’t know very well. “People will say, ‘You are Jerry’s wife? And I say, Yes, but don’t hold it against me.
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Laurie works as a staff member in the hospital’s physical therapy department. She and Jerry have an older daughter, Taylor, a medical writer who chose the family business, but not the same working title.
This is an example of wordplay among the Martins family. Hana looked for a job last spring after earning a degree from Liberty University in business administration with a focus in health care. She eventually applied at Spotsylvania Hospital, joking that she had one goal in mind.
“My plan at the beginning was, I was going to take over and be Jerry’s boss and he would be the first to fire,” the daughter said.
On a more serious note, Hannah said she was really excited, during the interview process, to think that she might be able to work with her father. Then, her comedic side took over and she said, “I thought, I’m making fun of him all the time and picking him.”
Meanwhile, Dad had his say on how her decision would affect his life.
“The guy feels his work zone is his, so you have your family at home and you have your business at work, so any family member comes into your environment, you’re like, OK, how would that be?” He said. “Am I going to have to do better at work than I do at home or at home than I do at work?”
But then he got more serious and said that while it is true he couldn’t escape his wife or daughter, “It was…well. It was.”
As is often the case, the mother was the wonderful equalizer. She noted that all three Martins have their own workspaces and are pleased with the way their families have been accepted by the staff at Spotsylvania Regional.
Hospital CEO Ryan D. Weisz echoed her sentiments.
“Having three members of the same family in one organization is very special and it doesn’t happen in many places,” he said. “It shows that we really care like family in more ways than one.”
Laurie and Hannah Martin joined the hospital last fall while the father was a pharmacist for 34 years. He has spent more than two decades with HCA Virginia hospitals, including Spotsylvania Regional.
“Everyone has been great,” Laurie said. “I really enjoy going to work every day, and a lot of people can’t say that.”
Her husband and daughter could—and aside from the comedic routines—apparently took a similar roundabout to end up in a hospital.
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Jerry grew up on a tomato farm in Hanover and spent many summers in the sweltering heat, doing the hard work of picking 40,000 plants. He knew, as did his father, that he would not be the son who took control of the farm.
“I tried to do something similar and go to PHARM-acy,” he said, harvesting a typical joke from my dad.
He loved math and science in high school and initially planned to be an accountant. Then he did some work at a grocery store drugstore and liked what he saw from the other side of the counter. He changed his major, then struggled with chemistry and returned to accounting. He had gotten straight as in his classes, but he wasn’t happy.
He said, “My heart was not there.”
He tried chemistry again, with another professor, raising his degree and earning his degree as a registered pharmacist from what was then called Virginia Medical School in Richmond.
Hannah faced a similar barrier as her father in Liberty, where she initially studied nursing. She dreamed of becoming a nurse after suffering from stomach issues as a child, and it had a profound effect on her two hospitalizations.
“I had this nurse that I just fell in love with. She took care of me, she was so cute and I was like, I want to be like her when I grow up,” she said. “I want to be like Heather from Saint Mary [Hospital in Richmond]. “
“Do you remember her name?” asked her father. “Oh my God.”
“I have a strange specific memory, like details,” she said.
While she was breathing in other classes, anatomy was her opponent. She had trouble memorizing, then second-guessed herself in multiple-choice exams and took the class three times before switching to healthcare management.
Hannah said that by the time she got her degree, her parents had moved from Richmond to Spotsylvania and were “very generous to let me come and live with them.”
“We had no choice,” her father said. “We didn’t want her to live on the street.”
She said she would be there so she could save money and go out on her own.
“She was the only one in the family who saved any money,” her father said sarcastically.
“It’s because I spend all their money,” the daughter added.
As the ICU secretary, Hannah answers phones, makes schedules, and offers another set of hands as much as her training will allow. Because she expressed an interest in what was going on around her, she said the nurses let her monitor their work — and this activity rekindled her interest in being a nurse.
“The nurses are already taking her under her wing and showing her her things and talking about going back to nursing school and it makes me happy,” her mother said.
Hannah has not decided which path to take, but like her father, she wants something practical rather than purely administrative. Her parents credited divine guidance for leading them to different choices in their lives and believed it would be the same for Hana.
Her father said, “God has a plan for why he’s putting you in your place.” “Laurie and I say she would have missed her call if she hadn’t come back to work as a nurse.”
When he thought of a parent’s influence on a child, his mother came to his mind. She was the eldest of six children on a farm, and she was the one who took care of the others – younger siblings, members of the church or anyone in the community in need. Cash on the farm was limited, but she always found a way to prepare meals for others or help in crises.
“She had a knack for taking care of people,” he said. “It had a huge impact on me wanting to do something related to care and maybe…
“… it came down to me,” said his daughter, after he had finished his sentence.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425