american nurses project

Photo: Carolyn Jones, courtesy of The American Nurse Project

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They've Figured Out How to Prioritize
Judy Harrison, RN, MSN, CPNP, APRN
Hometown Pediatrics, Lexington, Kentucky
In addition to working as a pediatric nurse practitioner (and raising two biological children), Judy Harrison provided home foster care for more than 100 children, many of them with serious medical conditions. She also developed a regional training program for foster parents of medically fragile children.

"We don't do medical first; we do life first. That might mean doing dialysis in Hilton Head at six o'clock in the morning, so that we can all go to the beach. So be it. Living comes before medical... I understand that you need to love people with an open hand. People are not ours to hold on to; that's not the way that works, especially with children... Justin [who died at sixteen], like my other children, planned his own funeral. He invited every female in his high school to come, and they did; there were probably two hundred girls at the funeral. I had asked him how he invited them, and he told me, 'Well, Mom, you just walk up to them and say, "Hey, you wanna come to my funeral?"'...I don’t think we've ever had a sad funeral for any of my children. We know we did everything humanly possible to make their life wonderful."