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MARSHALL – Marcia French doesn’t hesitate when asked what inspired her to pursue a medical career.
“My mother is a registered nurse who got her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University,” she says. “That’s the track I took, too. She worked part-time when I was growing up and she loved her career. That drove me to want to follow in her footsteps.”
Taking that example to heart, French launched her own career as a nurse several years ago. She recently earned her degree as a family nurse practitioner and, in that capacity, now is working alongside other Oaklawn Medical Group staff at Marshall Primary Care in Suite 1E of the Wright Medical Building, 215 E. Mansion St. Appointments may be made by calling (269) 781-3938.
As a girl growing up in Charlotte, the former Marcia Matwiejczyk could witness firsthand how much her mother enjoyed her work as a nurse at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, based in Charlotte.
“My brother and I would go in multiple times to see my mom, and we saw the positive work environment,” she said, adding that she can’t recall a time in her life when she didn’t believe she would pursue a similar career in promoting good health.
“From middle school on, health and wellness have been important to me – exercise, eating healthy and so on,” she said, crediting her mother for encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
“She lived that lifestyle herself and that’s always been my mentality,” French said. “So, to work in a field where I could encourage other people in the lifestyle also was a drawing factor.”
Her high school studies – particularly a course in anatomy and pathophysiology – allowed her to prove to herself that she found the biological sciences enjoyable and that she had an aptitude for pursuing them.
After graduation from Charlotte High School, French followed her mother’s path and enrolled at Michigan State University, from which she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 2007.
“As I grew older, I realized that was attractive to me about nursing was that there are so many specialties and so many different places to work,” she said. “I liked the variety that it could offer.”
French’s professional career provided her with nursing experience at Carson City (Michigan) Hospital, Charlotte-based Barry-Eaton District Health Department and McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.
Then, in 2017, the tragic loss of her husband of 12 years in an accident created a sudden new situation.
“There was a huge change in my life, along with the grief,” she said, “and it’s what brought me to nurse-practitioner school when it wasn’t something that I’d actually been planning.”
French joined Oaklawn as a registered nurse earlier this year while completing those studies at from Spring Arbor University, and recently earned her master of science in nursing degree as a family nurse practitioner. She is licensed in Michigan as a family nurse practitioner, is certified in basic life support and is a member of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners
Now married to Marty French, the couple live near Charlotte with a combined family of six children. They include Ethan, 13, Lola, 11, Weston, 9, and Mason, 7, who are her children from her first marriage, and Marty’s children Jacob, 18, and McKenzie, 14.
When she’s not at her medical work, Marcia French now finds herself involved in plenty of enjoyable activity with her family.
“I love to run and do cross-fit every day.” she said. “We have a cottage in Lake City, where we do boating and water sports. In winter, it’s snowmobiling.”
French added that she’s looking forward to her new work at Oaklawn.
“I was fortunate enough to get a clinical rotation there while in nurse-practitioner school,” she said. “I saw the teamwork and how well people work together. That team aspect really drew me to want to find out more – and it all fell into place.
“I know a lot of people who have had babies here, and they all had a good experience,” she added. “The patient population that Oaklawn Medical Group serves is another drawing factor. Plus, I like being with a small local hospital.”