Issue 4 Stories
Philanthrophy

The Marshall Award: Making a Difference for Caregivers

For Lindsay Marshall, a recent serious bout of pneumonia gave her the inspiration she needed to start a program to recognize Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital’s nurses and respiratory therapists.

An avid exerciser and walker and overall healthy person, Lindsay was shocked by her diagnosis of inflammatory pneumonia, which put her in and out of the hospital three times for a total of 34 days in late 2016 and early 2017, causing complications with her heart and lungs. “I went from wearing a Fitbit and walking five miles a day to being almost dead,” she says.

During her hospital stays, the staff at Sentara Martha Jefferson made an impact on her, despite how sick she was. “I watched them all working as a cohesive team, and I thought they were very professional and very committed,” she recalls. “I’d never seen that many people work together as well as they did.”

Among her many caregivers, it was the nurses and respiratory therapists who cared for her night and day who caught her attention and made a substantial difference in her recovery, and she hopes to return the favor with the creation of the Marshall Make a Difference Award at Sentara Martha Jefferson. The award will go to a respiratory therapist or nurse for outstanding patient care, family support and demonstration of Sentara Martha Jefferson’s Caring Tradition. Recipients will receive $1,000 for education, training or professional development.

Funds for the award come from donations to the Marshall Make a Difference Fund, established when Lindsay’s husband, Fray F. Marshall, MD, a urologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University and Emory University, died of cancer in 2011. Grateful patients and family members have made donations to the fund, according to Lindsay, who adds that proceeds from the publication of Fray’s book, “The Handbook: A Physician’s Insights into Life and Medicine. Core Lesson: Make a Difference,” also have gone toward the fund.

For years, Lindsay, who splits her time between her house near Keswick and a home in Atlanta, wasn’t sure how best to use the funds to help others—until she was in the hospital herself. Because she couldn’t do a lot of talking during her stays, she spent much of her time listening to the nurses and respiratory therapists. Many told her how, in addition to their normal work hours, they attended school to further their professional development. The experience reminded Lindsay of her own career as a physical therapist. When she first started out working at Massachusetts General Hospital, she attended a continuing education course and then passed on what she had learned to her co-workers. The Marshall Award will operate in much the same way for Sentara Martha Jefferson staff, with recipients required to share their new insights with their teammates, Lindsay notes.

“I was lying there, and it just came to me one day while watching the respiratory therapists,” she says. “They could take extra classes and share their knowledge with the team—because they certainly work as a team at Sentara Martha Jefferson. They have a responsibility to come back and share with their colleagues, just like I did. I waited five years for the right thing to hit me over the head. I wanted it to be something that would’ve been meaningful to my husband—and it needed to be meaningful to my family.”

Now out of the hospital and on the mend, Lindsay hopes others will give to the fund because of the importance of medical education. “I’m dedicated to education for these caregivers, who may not otherwise have the opportunity or resources for continuing medical education.”

The Marshall Make A Difference Award

Lindsay Marshall is passionate about wanting to recognize and express her gratitude for the care she received to the physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses and staff of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Citing innumerable individuals who delivered outstanding care, Marshall credits the Sentara Martha Jefferson team with saving her life. Even with a lengthy recovery ahead, she has a renewed appreciation for the preciousness of life, for her family and friends, and for caregivers at the hospital.

As an expression of gratitude, Marshall has established the Marshall Make A Difference Fund at Sentara Martha Jefferson. The fund will distribute an annual Marshall Make A Difference Award to recognize a respiratory therapist or nurse from either of Sentara Martha Jefferson’s two general medical/surgical nursing units for outstanding patient care, family support and demonstration of the hospital’s Caring Tradition. Nominations may be submitted by unit or hospital peers, supervisors, patients, or families.

Recipients of the Marshall Make A Difference Award will receive $1,000 for education, training and/or professional development expenses. In 2017 only, two awards will be distributed—one to a respiratory therapist, and one to a nurse from either of the two general medical/surgical units (Cornell 2 and 3).

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