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Nurse Inkpen 

Dedicated, Caring, Professional

Martha Inkpen will long be remembered for her twenty-three years of service to the Town of Fortune. She was born Martha Helena Mortensen, on June 22, 1924, at Famien, Suduroy, the most southerly of the Faroe Islands. She grew up there, received her education, and in 1945 completed her training as a nurse at the Municipal Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark.

In 1953 Martha followed her brother, Ove, to Newfoundland where she found employment at the Gander Hospital. Moving to the Burin Cottage Hospital the following year, she later married Curtis Inkpen of Ship Cove, Burin, in 1955. In December of that year she came to Fortune, took a three-year leave of absence from her profession , and began to raise her family; fraternal twins Ingrid and Vivian, born February 20, 1956, and son Wane, born May 30 1957.

Mrs. Inkpen returned to her profession as Public Health Nurse in the Town of Fortune. Her service and dedication were outstanding. She was always available for medical advice, whether at the clinic, at home, or even on the street, and was never too busy to help. Her professional knowledge was combined with compassion. She knew most people on a first name basis and was always cheerful when she visited those recently released from the hospital. Newborn babies were given prompt medical check-ups upon their return home from hospital and there was always a few words of advice and encouragement for new mothers.

Nurse Inkpen inspired respect from the people she served yet preferred to be informal. She disliked bureaucracy intensely and loved children. She remembered practically everything about the families she served, often enquiring about the children, in an effort to stay connected. She remembered their names and their health history long after her professional interactions with them had waned.

On December 2, 1981 Nurse Inkpen retired from her profession plagued by circulation problems. The Department of Health honoured her with a plaque for twenty years of service but her biggest tribute came from the people she served. Described as a 'lovely and concerned individual', some said that. 'Having Martha here was as good as having a doctor in town.'

Nurse Inkpen was well suited to her profession and found it richly rewarding. People were more than 'patients' to her; they were human beings, and that was how she treated them. Her medical advice was valued and trusted and, even after her retirement, people would seek her opinion.

Written by Wane Inkpen, 2003

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