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The need to nurture
Hall County mother looks back on her time caring for two families
Registered nurse June Fletcher has been with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center for 38 years currently working in the hospital's ER. Recently she was named the health system's 2011 employee of the year. She's also the mother of twin girls.

Nurses and mothers have a lot in common.

When someone around them feels under the weather, they do their best to make things right.

And when a brow is furrowed with worry, they both know just the right thing to say to ease doubt.

For June Fletcher, the lines between nurse and mother are often blurred.

For the last 38 years, she has been a nurse in the emergency room at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. For 25 of those years, she's been a mother to twin daughters, Katie Parker and Kalen Breedlove.

"It can be challenging," Fletcher said about juggling both responsibilities.

"But it can be done."

She has proven that it can not only be done, it can be done very well.

The administrators of the Northeast Georgia Health System recently selected her as the 2011 employee of the year.

"(Fletcher) possesses all the qualities you want in an ER nurse," said Carol Burrell, interim CEO and executive vice president and COO of the health system.

"She is dedicated, caring and — perhaps most valuable in the ER — calm in times of crisis. (Fletcher) is an excellent representative of our organization."

And the timing couldn't have been better. Friday marked the start of National Nurses Week, which is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, according to

Of course, it being Mother's Day just adds a touch of sugar to the sweet surprise.

And no one could have been more surprised than Fletcher. The registered nurse says the award caught her off guard.

"I didn't have any idea that this was going to occur," Fletcher said.

Just as she didn't expect to be selected as the employee of the year, she didn't expect her career with the medical center to be this long.

"I guess it is pretty unusual to stay in one place for this long," Fletcher said.

"I started out in the ER and this is where I've stayed (for 38 years). There are several of us who started off together, so it's like we're one, big family. They're like my second family. Just like her duties as a mother and nurse sometimes run together, so does the separation between her "first" and second families.

The Hall County native first met husband Darrell Fletcher in the medical center's ER. The medical center is also where the couple's family started.

"I had my girls right here. It was a great experience," Fletcher said.

"The hospital has always been a great facility that provides the best quality of care."

And while many working mothers feel a bit of separation anxiety when they head back to work and leave their children in the care of a sitter, Fletcher never had to go through that.

"I was very fortunate that the medical center had child care available right here, so it felt like I was bringing my girls to work with me," she said.

"My husband got up in the mornings and made sure they were ready, and then I got ready. It worked out great. They were here until they started kindergarten."

Although being a working mom is by no means easy, Fletcher says it can be done.

"I think when you actually become a mom, things just sort of fall into place, but it also depends on the type of support you have at home," Fletcher said.

"I did have family here, so if the girls got sick, they were able to help out. And I had a very supportive husband, that makes a big difference."