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Spreading the love: Middlesex Hospital nurse also excels as a teacher

Dr. Phil Martinez also teaches nursing at Quinnipiac University.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — According to his students, Dr. Phil Martinez doesn’t like to be called a doctor, despite having earned a Doctor of Education degree.  It fits with his personal philosophy.

“I was trained to, to think it's not about me, it's about everyone else,” Martinez said.

He indeed spends plenty of time thinking of others, even when he’s not busy as an acute care nurse practitioner in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Middlesex Hospital. That’s because he also teaches nursing at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.

“Everybody loves Phil, like, he's great,” said student Miche Bellmore, who nominated Martinez to be honored as part of FOX61’s celebration of Nurse’s Week.

Martinez is as good at teaching nursing as he is at nursing, and he’s really good at nursing.

“He does it in a way that people want to follow him. People are drawn to what he provides at the bedside,” said Kelly Haeckel, the vice president of patient care at Middlesex Health. “There is a sense of calm through all the chaos.”

“It's inherent in our DNA as nurses, I think you have to have feelings and care,” Martinez said.

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Both Bellmore and Haeckel said Martinez excels at explaining and simplifying complex topics. He also excels at teaching the non-clinical aspects of nursing - how to care and connect. Martinez said it’s an art as well as a science.

“It's the ability to sit on a bed with a patient and just hold their hand or put a knee on the floor so that now they're looking down on you and give them the power to talk to you as a person as a human,” Martinez said, “It's so powerful, and that's the art of it.”

Bellmore recounted a time when Martinez taught his students how to approach giving a patient a medication designed to momentarily disrupt the patient’s heart rhythms, which can, understandably, be a frightening experience.

“Every time I give this drug, I sit on the edge of the bed, I hold their hand and I explain it before it's given,” Martinez said.

But to just take that moment and sit there and hold their hand and say, ‘No, I'm here for you.'”

"That was so important to me," Bellmore said.

Bellmore said she still doesn’t know how he manages to find the energy and passion to both nurse and teach nursing.

“How do you work twelve hours and then come and be engaging to, what, 80 of us in a room? But he does,” Bellmore said.

“Oh my gosh, where was he when I was in nursing school?” Hackel joked, “He would have been really helpful.”

Tim Lammers is an anchor at FOX61 News. He can be reached at Tlammers@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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