Caring Runs in the Family

Published on April 29, 2022

mother daughter nurses

Caring Runs in the Family

For some people, caring for others seems second nature, like it’s in their genes. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, meet three mother-daughter nurse duos at Adventist HealthCare hospitals who are passing down a tradition of compassionate care.

Michele and Morgan Brashear

Morgan started her nursing career during one of the most challenging moments of the last century: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But she had a secret weapon for navigating the hospital: her mom, Michele.

Mother daughter nurses brashearMichele came to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in 1997 to work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she has cared for babies for 25 years. In 2020, Morgan graduated from nursing school and came to join her.

“It means everything to me that Morgan followed in my footsteps,” Michele said.

Morgan started as a medical/surgical nurse when she first arrived at Shady Grove, but when the opportunity came to transfer to the Labor & Delivery Unit, she took it.

“Growing up, I watched my mom and got to see the passion she had for her unit, the way she worked with the moms and babies. She was so dedicated to her patients, and it really inspired me,” Morgan said.

Now, the two work on the same floor at Shady Grove. They drive in together, take breaks together and have leaned on each other during the pandemic.

“It’s such a special time for us,” Michele said. “We understand what the other is going through, during this time especially. I’m so grateful for this time with Morgan.”

One of the reasons Michele has stayed at Shady Grove Medical Center for so long is because of the people she works with. And now, she shares that same camaraderie with her daughter.

“As a new nurse, the support I’ve received in the Labor & Delivery Unit has been amazing,” Morgan said. “Everyone is willing to help you and support you. You are never alone.”

Rebecca and Rachel Lall

As a fourth-generation nurse in her family, Rachel grew up around nursing before she became a registered nurse herself.

Her great-grandmother was a military nurse in India for 30 years. Her grandmother served for 45 years as a nurse in a general hospital in India. Her mother has been a nurse for 28 years and cares for medical-surgical patients at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center.

“When I was young, I watched my mom and grandma – amazing, independent women – care for others in need and I wanted to be as strong and independent as them one day,” Rachel said.Mother daughter nurses lall

In high school, Rachel had an interest in science and volunteered at a Florida hospital. When it was time for college, she recalls wanting to choose a path that would make a difference for people. In 2020, Rachel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and moved with her family to Maryland to start her career.

In January 2021, Rachel’s mom, Rebecca, began working at White Oak Medical Center. About the same time, Rachel had been hired as an Intensive Care Unit nurse at the same hospital and selected for the Adventist HealthCare Nurse Residency program.

The program offers six-month, on-the-job training to give new graduates supervision and support from an experienced registered nurse.

“The program helped me get to know my co-workers, build knowledge and experience in patient care, and understand more about the conditions in my specialty before I was on my own,” added Rachel.

Rebecca is beyond proud of Rachel.

“Nursing has offered a piece of satisfaction for my family for as long as I’ve known. That satisfaction is about bringing people comfort. We can sit, talk and work to understand from the patient what is happening and help with what they need,” Rebecca said.

On the tough days, the two seek each other’s support.

“I really like that my mom works in healthcare. She gets it and helps us to be able to not keep everything from our day with us,” said Rachel. “It’s important to separate work from home because there will always be more people who need us.”

Jenny and Anna Renzi

With one parent as a nurse and one a doctor, it seemed natural that Anna might follow their footsteps into medicine. In 2017, Anna chose to practice nursing in the Pediatric Emergency department at Shady Grove Medical Center – the same hospital where her mom has worked for more than 30 years.

“It was great when I first started. I already knew so many people because of my mom,” Anna said.

mother daughter nurses renziAnna’s mom, Jenny, has been working for Adventist HealthCare on and off since 1982. After taking some time off to care for her children, she returned to Shady Grove Medical Center’s Emergency department as a nurse in 2006.

“I’m really happy that Anna ended up here,” Jenny said.

“Everyone is so helpful and nice. It’s a big family, so it was a great place for her to start.”

While Jenny primarily works in the Emergency department, she sometimes floats to the Pediatric Emergency department, where she gets to work alongside her daughter on special cases.

“She has so much experience,” Anna said. “I love getting to learn from her.”

COVID-19 has made their roles extra challenging, but Anna and Jenny are able to rely on their teams and each other.

“You have to have thick skin in this profession,” Jenny said.

“You have to learn to bring home the good stuff and leave the hard stuff at work.”

For Anna, leaving behind the “hard stuff” isn’t an easy task.

“I’m an empathetic person,” she said, “and it’s hard for me not to get attached to my patients. We as nurses give so much, and sometimes we get that back from our patients. So as much as we try, sometimes you can’t help but take it home.”

Despite the difficulties, Anna and Jenny both love what they do.

“Give nursing a chance,” Jenny said. “Come in and get your experience. Stick it out. You’re never alone.”

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