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Spotlight: Serving Her Community as Nurse and Councilor

Martha Marx (right) is a registered nurse (RN) who has cared for patients for 30 years, the last 10 with the Waterford-based Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut (VNASC). Marx is part of a team of over 130 RNs and health aides who provide home-based treatment for clients across the region facing a variety of medical challenges.
At any given time Marx has a caseload of approximately 100 and daily sees eight to nine patients. Their conditions and needs range from wound care to liver or kidney transplant recovery to cardiac or respiratory problems. As Marx puts it, her primary responsibilities are “to be a good assessor and teacher” in order to provide her patients with effective medication reconciliation and prevent hospital readmissions.
“Every day, we’re visiting patients in their home to make sure they’re safe and well,” said Marx, the president of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated Federation of Nurses and Home Health Aides.
Marx describes the non-profit VNASC, an affiliate of Lawrence + Memorial (L+M) Health, as an integral part of the region’s healthcare system. The organization not only provides vital care for the uninsured and wellness services for the elderly, but also oversees in-school health services for students in five local area districts.
Click here for press reporting on how union members at the VNASC overcome challenging weather to care for their patients.
In six years of service as local union president, Marx has maintained a generally positive working relationship with the VNASC’s founder and president — a woman leading a major healthcare organization. That experience has informed Marx’ view that more women are needed to take on such roles.
“Women understand the whole scope of life because we’ve had to play all the different roles,” she said. “With so many women in the healthcare field, we need more women leaders who can better understand us,” Marx added.
Her views on the importance of women in leadership extends beyond the workplace and into the civic and political lives of our communities. Marx currently serves on the New London City Council, a position for which she was first elected to serve in 2015.
“You don’t have to grow up in a family where dad was a politician and taught you how to do it,” said Marx on running for public office.
Click here for press reporting at the time on Marx’ “newcomer” candidacy.
Marx explained that her decision two years ago to run was driven in part by the lack of women in local politics. She hopes that more will be motivated to serve by a climate increasingly hostile to women and working families both in Washington, DC and in Hartford.
“This is the year, if ever there was a single year, where we need more women to say, ‘I can do it,'” Marx added.
Click here to watch Marx share more about her own experience and her inspiration to lead.
This year’s theme for National Women’s History Month, “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business,” was chosen to honor extraordinary union, workplace and community leaders. Each March since 1987, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) has recognized and celebrated a diverse group of honorees and this year’s roster is no exception. It includes former federal commerce and labor department chiefs, famed equal pay and civil rights activists, numerous labor organizers, and several business and community leaders. 
Click here for a list of the NWHP’s 2017 honorees.

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