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Nursing Marshalls ready to enjoy retirement

March 04, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

The first married couple to be employed as nurses at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown are spending their retirement in much the same way as they spent their careers: Pursuing individual interests while supporting each other.

Janet and Terry Marshall of Beaver Creek spent nearly 30 of their 41 married years specializing in different health areas at the hospital.

She retired in December 2000 after leaving work to care for her ailing father. Her husband retired in December 2001 after deciding 65 was his retirement age, no matter how much he loved his job.

"I guess it's worked so well because we're not at all competitive with each other," Terry Marshall said. "The strength of our careers - and marriage - is to be secure and trusting enough to permit those separate activities but wise enough to recognize when it is appropriate to do things together."

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"We're very compatible even though we're completely different," said his wife, who is 60.

She likes dolls. He likes trains. She likes to travel. He likes to work around the house. She attends services at one church. He goes to another.

The couple's nursing styles and areas of interest were just as varied as their hobbies.

Janet Marshall's training at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore prepared her to be more of a "hands-on" nurse, comfortable taking charge in the patient arena, she said.

Her husband - a former undertaker who was one of the first men to graduate from the nursing program at Hagerstown Junior College in 1973 - excelled in health education. Terry Marshall spent the last 17 years of his career as coordinator of community health education for the hospital.

The couple's nursing duties rarely overlapped, they said.

Though they both worked as part-time home health nurses for the Washington County Health Department, Terry Marshall cared only for male patients.

At the beginning of his career at the hospital, he occasionally worked for his wife in the hospital's recovery unit. And he bounced ideas off Janet, who had more experience in the clinical setting, Marshall said.

But their nursing paths continued to diverge as the years wore on.

Terry Marshall found his niche first supervising male orderlies and then training new nurses and nursing assistants. His experience with staff education was a springboard for Marshall's move in 1984 to the hospital's new community health unit.

He organized health screenings for area businesses, smoking cessation sessions and such community training seminars as CPR, first aid and stress management. He gave a live local radio address about current health issues twice a month for more than 13 years.

Janet Marshall served as head nurse in the hospital's recovery unit, helped open the same-day surgery unit at the hospital and planned home health care for discharged patients.

She spent the last 18 years of her career - and ushered in the age of complex insurance issues - as the hospital's utilization review coordinator, reviewing new patients' medical documents to decide whether hospital admission was necessary, and helping to monitor the hospital's quality of care, she said.

Janet Marshall said she enjoyed working amidst the hospital's hierarchy. Her husband relished his independence.

The Marshalls saw each other most at work, they said, during their frequent lunches together.

And they have found ways to meld their differing interests during retirement.

When her husband gets the itch to visit a new train station, Janet Marshall said, she often tags along. It's a good opportunity to read a book.

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