Motherly Love at UF Health Jacksonville

Recognizing the power of mom extends well beyond Mother’s Day. Moms get us through the tough times and cheer us on to succeed. Some of us are even lucky enough to work with mom every day. This is a reality for several employees at UF Health Jacksonville.

We sat down with a few of our moms and their children employed in various departments. They shared their stories of growing in their careers and lives together.

Lynda and Leslie

As a former cross-country truck driver, Lynda Dugan, executive secretary, was referred to UF Health by her daughter, Leslie Coover, an administrative assistant. Leslie was instrumental in cheering on her mom during her change of career and even now as Lynda purses higher education.

“One of my fondest memories with her was seeing her win the admin of the year award. It was such an encouragement to her to receive the reward when she was so new, and gave her the confidence to successfully tackle her most challenging assignments,” said Leslie.

Lynda says of her daughter, “She was consistent with her encouraging words and believed in my abilities more than I did myself.”

Martha and Amanda

Martha Mears started her journey as a volunteer at UF Health North after her daughter, Amanda Robertson, radiology supervisor, suggested the role to help her get out of the house and meet new people in Jacksonville. “I enjoy seeing Amanda at work and it’s comforting to know she is there,” says Martha.

Amanda has always had a love for math and science. Pursuing radiology has been challenging and rewarding for her. She especially enjoys the days at work when she knows her mother will be at the front desk. “It’s great to hear how my mom has touched the lives of others and how she gives the best hugs,” exclaims Amanda.

Krissy and Meghan

As a young lady, Kris-Tina Smith, BSN, women’s services project coordinator, would play nurse and care for her grandmother. In return, her grandmother encouraged her to pursue nursing as a career. After experiencing firsthand the dedication and skill demonstrated by the nurses in the UF Health Jacksonville neonatal intensive care unit, Krissy strived to work for the organization too.

When it came time for her daughter Meghan, BSN, a women’s specialists nurse, to graduate, Krissy referred her and the rest is history. She was inspired by her mom to consider nursing in the first place, stating “When I was growing up everyone used to call her for her opinion on what they should do about a scratched knee or if they should take their loved one to the ER for a certain injury. I remember thinking how I wanted to be the person everyone called when they needed something.” Meghan also speaks highly of the “epic” car pool rides to work she has with her mom each day.

Angelique and Sean

Angelique Brown, BSN, neurology unit nurse manager, started at UF Health more than a decade ago and when it came time for her son to seek a role in the medical field, she referred him to apply as well. Angelique was inspired to become a nurse when she experienced what she felt to be inadequate care at a hospital when her youngest child was born. She set her sights on improving the field and has continued to move up the nursing ladder.

Angelique admires the drive and determination she sees in her son, Sean Brown, an emergency room technician. She states, “He’s made up his mind about what and who he wants to be and has not taken his eyes off of it.” Sean appreciates the perspective his mom provides him about the health care system and patient care. The two appreciate having conversations about their day and decompressing together.

Fanya, Brandon and Brandy

Fanya DeJesus, PhD, division director of acute care and nursing operations, and her two children all work for the organization. Fanya considers nursing to be her calling. “It fits with my character and desire to serve others while doing God’s work of ministering to the needs of the sick,” says Fanya.

It’s been a great joy for Fanya to see her kids grow in the nursing and pharmacy fields. Her daughter, Brandy Florvil, BSN, a medical intensive care unit nurse, and her son, Brandon DeJesus, RPT, collectively see the mission of the hospital as a driving force behind the work they put in each day. Brandon is also working toward becoming a pharmacist through the UF College of Pharmacy – Jacksonville.

Tracy and Jessica

As a young lady, Jessica Kennedy, a surgical intensive care unit clerical associate, wasn’t always interested in the medical field, even with a nurse for a mother. Tracy Williamson, RN, a progressive care unit nurse, continued to encourage her daughter to look at roles at UF Health. “Caring for others has always been a strength of mine,” says Tracy. “I take great pride in my career choice and find happiness in helping others.”

With five years under her belt, Jessica loves the work she does for her unit and is considering continuing her education. Tracy says of Jessica, “The thing I admire most about my daughter is her resilience; she makes me proud every day.”

Jackie and Brieanna

Jackie Stratton, BSN, nurse manager in the medical intensive care unit, feels she was born to be a part of the medical field. “My grandmother was an obstetrician in the Philippines and I have a long line of family who are nurses,” says Jackie. She was overjoyed when her daughter, Brieanna Rasch showed interest in carrying on the family tradition.

Unsure of which route in the medical field she should pursue, Brie turned to her mother for advice. Brie dipped her toes and started as a sitter, then became a patient care associate and she will graduate in August 2019 from nursing school. “It’s always nice to have my mom to lean on and talk to after a hard day or a great day,” says Brie. “She’s always been one of my biggest supporters when it comes to my journey with nursing school.”

Judith and Alyssa

Judith Villamor, BSN, a nurse in the transitional care unit, considers it a great privilege to work at the same hospital as her daughter. Despite the challenges at times, she loves being a nurse. “Learning is a process and we both can learn from each other through similar clinical experiences,” said Judith.

Alyssa Villamor, BSN, a nurse in the medical intensive care unit, started as a UF Health volunteer in high school. She followed in the footsteps of Judith and completed nursing school herself. “My mom was my first nurse preceptor during clinical rotations and there are not many people who get to say that,” said Alyssa.

Edna, Deanne and Marion

In addition to being avid Jacksonville Jaguars fans, Edna Villanueva, RN, a nurse in the medical intensive care unit, and her daughters also have a career path in common. Edna encouraged her daughters early on to volunteer at the hospital to ensure health care was a good fit. Marion, RN, is a nurse in the cardiovascular intensive care unit, and Deanne is a patient care associate in the orthopaedic unit who just graduated with her BSN. “Having a sister and mom who work in the same profession is great,” says Deanne. “We’re able to talk about the struggles of work and we’re able to give each other advice.”

“Seeing my mom’s passion for caring for patients and hearing her stories about work has given me great interest in the medical field,” says Marion.

Pamela and Marquita

Both Pamela and Marquita Adams have been employed as patient care associates for more than ten years. Pamela encouraged Marquita to join the UF Health family and the two enjoy their co-workers and the work they put in each day. “Although it’s a demanding role, I feel a great satisfaction in helping others feel better,” says Pamela.

Marquita admires her mother’s strength and her ability to put family first. The two are a hardworking employees and are respected by fellow staff members. “My mother is well known throughout the hospital and when I come in contact with her co-workers, they always welcome me as part of the team and make me feel like family too,” says Marquita.

UF Health Jacksonville is supportive of all employees. The positive work culture makes it easy to want to refer friends and family to work here too. From all of our staff and faculty, UF Health wishes everyone a happy mother’s day!

About the Author


Natalie Spindle

Natalie Spindle is a marketing specialist in the Communications and Marketing department at UF Health Jacksonville. She is responsible for coordinating marketing efforts for nursing…

Read all articles by Natalie Spindle