For the Lage family, nursing seems to run in the family.
Martha Lage, BSN, RN, CNOR, has worked as a nurse in the Operating Room at Rush Copley Medical Center for 42 years. Both of her children have followed in her footsteps. Her son, Scott, is a psychiatric nurse. Her daughter, Stephanie, BSN, RN, works at Rush Copley as a floor nurse in a medical-surgical unit. Within their extended family, they count 12 family members who work as doctors or nurses.
“We all seem to have that caring nature,” Martha says.
Born and raised in Aurora, Martha started her career at Rush Copley in 1980. She says the staff has been a second family to her.
“It’s a caring, giving atmosphere – a family feeling,” she says.
‘I wanted to help people’
Stephanie is also proud to call herself a homegrown nurse from Aurora. She literally got her start at Rush Copley — she was born at the hospital. Although Stephanie aspired to be a meteorologist as a child, her dreams changed as she watched her mom.
“She had the flexibility to always be a present mother, and I saw how she enjoyed going to work,” Stephanie recalls. “I saw how rewarding it was, and then there was nothing else I wanted to be. I wanted to help people and give back to my community.”
However, when looking for her first job, Stephanie planned to work elsewhere.
“Rush Copley was my mom’s ground,” she says. “Everybody knows her here. I wanted to make my name elsewhere.”
But the more she thought about it, the more she liked the idea of working at Rush Copley. She liked the hospital’s reputation and she liked that she would still be local and able to see her mom. Although they work different schedules — Martha works Monday through Friday and Stephanie works three 12-hour days — they occasionally meet for lunch or early in the morning to walk.
“I love my daughter being here,” Martha says.
Passionate about their work
Martha is proud to be a RUSH nurse because of the teamwork, the doctors, her colleagues and the management. “Our No. 1 priority is the patient,” she says.
In her 42 years here, she has seen this small community hospital grow to where specialists from across Rush University System for Health now see patients at Rush Copley. She remains passionate about her work and now has the passion to teach and nurture young nurses. “I love educating them,” she says.
Stephanie is proud to refer people to doctors or specialists here and of the way her unit came together as a team during the pandemic as her unit transitioned to care for COVID-19 patients.
Both mother and daughter say the gratitude of patients and their families makes them want to stay.
“Our work is recognized,” Stephanie says. Patients and their families express their gratitude and show their appreciation with notes, treats and sometimes lunch. She hopes to have a career as long as that of her mother.
“I hope to last 40 years like my mom,” she says, “and I hope to be like her and never lose the compassion.”