by JULIE-ANN SPENCE,
A FORMER Lisburn woman, who now lives in the
United States, has been honoured in her adopted home, after
being named one of the ten best nurses in Arkansas.
Martine Camlin, daughter of June Camlin and
the late Edward Camlin, was a student at Laurelhill Community
College and Lisburn Institute, before going on to study nursing
at Queen Mary's in London.
Martine moved to Arkansas several years ago
and has been working in the bone marrow transplant unit at
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) since 1993.
Martine, known as Tina to her friends, was
nominated by her friend Sherri Clay. "It's her heart and
compassion that sets her apart," explained Sherri.
Martine goes out of her way to make each and
every patient feel special. However, there was one occasion,
which was particularly memorable for her.
After building up a close relationship with a
patient who had been in isolation for eight weeks, Martine
decided to hold a tea party to cheer her up.
"I told her I like to teach my American
friends how to have a real English tea party," explained
"The next day I went and gathered my bone
china, linens, napkins, strawberry preserves, scones, English
breakfast tea - everything for a proper English tea party. "I
had to arrange everything that morning to make sure work was
done so I could spend time with her."
Martine set four places and told the lady she
had a surprise for her. "When she saw the table she was so
overcome she cried," said Martine.
"Patients battling cancer need hugs,
especially when family can't be present. I'm a big believer in
the power of touch. "I try to get to know them as a person. I
try to find a connection, a common bond.
"When family is present, I try to address
their concerns and I act as a go between with the doctor and
patient. Advocating is extremely important."
It was during her time at Laurelhill
Community College, at the age of 14, Martine decided to become a
A nurse visited the school to give a careers
talk and it was then Martine decided to pursue a career in
nursing. "I felt like she was talking to me," said Martine.
While Martine is obviously delighted to have
been recognised as one of the top nurses in Arkansas, it is the
job itself and the difference she makes to people's lives that
is the greatest reward.
"If I can help someone fighting cancer, if
they can look back and say 'yes it was a difficult time, but the
nursing staff was sweet and kind to me and that really made all
the difference,' then that is the biggest reward of all.