Dr. Holly Martin, a doctor of nursing practice and family nurse practitioner, recently retired from a 22-year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Daily Nurse salutes her accomplishments as a changemaker, advocacy for equitable compensation for nurses, and devotion to serving Veterans by naming Dr. Martin our Nurse of the Week.
Dr. Martin’s journey as a healthcare professional took several turns before she found a home at VA.
“I had dropped out of high school and was floating around the university and not really doing much with my life, and I eventually applied for nursing school at age 26,” she says. “I ended up graduating at the top of my class all through the bachelor’s and master’s degrees and getting a doctorate in nursing.”
Dr. Martin stumbled upon VA through a nursing convention in the fall of 2000, where she met enthusiastic VA nurses eager to find peers skilled with computer charting. She began working with VA and realized she had a strong connection to the organization and to the people she served.
Family in Every American War
“It didn’t dawn on me how much VA meant to me until I’d been here a while because my whole family was in the military,” she says. “My father was killed in Vietnam, my grandfather was in the Army Air Forces, and we’ve had a soldier fight in every American war since coming to this continent.”
As both a nurse practitioner and an educator, Dr. Martin sought opportunities to foster growth in the workforce and the services VA provided. She wrote a grant to open a telemedicine clinic in Elko, Nevada. After winning the grant, she went on to teach students who would become future VA leaders while at the same time developing telemedicine as a tool to deliver primary care.
She earned her doctoral degree as a member of the first cohort to graduate from the University of Utah’s Doctor of Nursing program. She then promoted further growth for VA telehealth care by working with Clinical Resource Hubs as a telehealth provider.
Challenged Standards for Nurse Practitioner Pay
“People didn’t understand nurse practitioners very well, and that understanding has grown significantly over the years,” she adds. Dr. Martin challenged standards for locality pay and helped to demonstrate the value of nurse practitioners and their licensures as independent practitioners to increase compensation to more equitable standards.
As she ended her career with VA after 22 incredible years, Dr. Martin says she gained many opportunities by simply saying “Yes.”
“Any time somebody asked me to do something, I said ‘Yes.’ Any time I can help other nurses get more time or more space for more students, I do it. It’s only a minute in your life to be nice and help other people out. If you can help another nurse, you should get your feet wet and help them out!” she says.
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