Newport Daily News - June 3, 2017
NEWPORT — On Friday afternoon at 3:30, Frank and June Martin walked out
of Newport Hospital for the last time as employees.
After 42 years working together at the hospital, the Middletown couple
made the decision to retire together. Their decades of dedication to the
patients and the hospital community were recognized by staff and colleagues,
who gathered Friday to honor them.
Frank worked as a transition coordinator, helping patients as they
prepared to leave the hospital. June was an acclaimed nurse, winning the
national Press Ganey Nurse of the Year award in 2016.
To honor June, her fellow nurses on the second floor wore traditional
white uniforms — as she did every day on the job — something that brought a
tear to her eye walking into work for the last time at 6:45 a.m.
“I saw one of them in the parking lot and then another and realized what
was going on,” said June, 64, talking about her last day. “I couldn’t
“I knew,” Frank, 65, said in response.
“You kept that from me?” June asked. “I had no idea.”
“It’s what we have to do here, with patient confidentiality,” Frank said.
“I could be in the CIA with some of the secrets we have to keep.”
A native of Bristol, June started her career at Newport Hospital in 1974
after completing the hospital’s nursing school. Frank, who was born and
raised in Newport, began a year later after earning a degree in sociology
from the University of Rhode Island.
Looking back on the start of their careers, both said their jobs seemed
rudimentary compared to the technology and sophistication of today’s medical
world. June said she remembers monitoring patient drips from glass bottles
by pressing a rubber button while looking at her wristwatch, work that’s
handled by machines today.
“If you think about it back then, I don’t know how we did it,” June said.
“The amount of equipment that’s here today, it’s much, much safer,
especially with how we disperse medicine. Now, you scan the patient’s
bracelet, (a bar code for) the medicine itself and it better be right
because if it’s not, you can’t do anything, and that’s the way it should
“One of the best innovations has been the electronic record keeping,”
Frank said. “There’s no confusion about what a doctor wrote, whether that’s
an ‘E’ or an ‘I,’ or what an order says. It’s all there and it follows the
patient from the moment they get here to the day they leave.”
The couple met while working on the fourth floor of the hospital and got
married in 1980. They have three children, Alison, Sean and Elizabeth.
Despite being married, the Martins said they always tried to keep things
professional when on the job.
“We had jobs to do here and we always wanted to keep it professional,”
Frank said. “Our roles were our roles here and I always laughed when someone
said, ‘I can’t believe you kept it a secret.’ It wasn’t a secret, it just
wasn’t part of our jobs here.”
“I remember one time when a doctor walked by my locker and saw a picture
of Frank inside and was like, ‘You’re married to Frank?’ And I said, ‘We’ve
been married for 30 years. Where have you been?” June said. “That still
makes me laugh.”
Working weekends, nights and other nontraditional times, June said the
bond among nurses is very tight.
“When you work here, it’s not a 9-to-5 job,” she said. “There are a lot
of nights, weekends, holidays, and you bond as friends and become a family.
That’s probably one of the biggest things I’m going to miss.”
“I was talking to someone the other day about leaving and it really hit
me,” Frank said. “I’ve been here since I was 23. A lot has changed over that
time, but I always liked what I was doing and saw no reason to leave. It was
a good career.”
As much personal enjoyment as the Martins got out of their jobs, staff
members said the hospital benefited from their presence, too.
“Anyone who knows Frank and June are quite aware of the passion they
bring to their jobs and the love they have for taking care of patients,”
said Orla Brandos, Newport Hospital’s vice president of patient care
services and the chief nursing officer. “Their Newport Hospital colleagues
have benefited from their wealth of experience, kindness and willingness to
teach best practices. It’s been a pleasure to see their unwavering
commitment to ensuring that the patient and family are at the center of
everything we do as healthcare professionals.”
Asked about what they plan to do in retirement, both said their priority
is to spend more time with family and friends, particularly their
June also talked about having more time for crafts and gardening, while
Frank said he looks forward to studying history and visiting some National
Parks with his wife.
All that free time seemed a little bit hard to believe Friday for the
Martins, who have been coming to the same place almost every week for more
than four decades.
“I want to say that the staff here has been wonderful and made the years
just fly by,” June said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“I second that,” Frank said. “I think it’s important to give a shout out
to the employees here. There are a lot of people who do their jobs and do it
very well, under the radar, and not to get any attention, but to silently
hold this place together and make it what it is.”