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Mary Turns IV Stress Into Success

With three out of four of her siblings in the medical field, it’s no surprise that Mary went into nursing – a career she has thrived in for close to 30 years. And thanks to her other role as a mother to four children, Mary is able to relate to her patients by putting herself in the parents’ shoes.

“I can consider how to best take care of the patient and families I work with by being empathetic and asking ‘how would I feel if it were me and my child?’,” commented Mary.

Meant to be in IV

The PHS infusion team sporting their best Rapunzel costumes last Halloween.

The PHS infusion team sporting their best Rapunzel costumes last Halloween.

Before coming to PHS in 2008, Mary worked as a floor nurse in an oncology unit at a children’s hospital and then at an oncology clinic where there were a number of infusion therapies like antibiotics, TPN, and blood products were intertwined in a patient’s care. Without even realizing there was such a role, Mary was working as an infusion nurse of sorts as she regularly dealt with lines and labs.

“I was an infusion nurse before I knew I was an infusion nurse,” laughed Mary.

Learning about PHS

Mary landed upon her job here after seeing a post for an infusion nurse position in the paper. She thought it sounded right up her alley, put in her application, and the rest is history.

Mary with PHS co-worker, Tamara at a gala in 2014.

Mary with PHS co-worker, Tamara

“When I first started at PHS, I remember thinking how nice everybody was – they knew who I was, and I thought, this is unbelievable,” remembers Mary. “It’s extremely patient and family-oriented here, so you can do your job and feel like you really helped a family.”

Soon, Mary realized she was doing a lot of the tasks at home that she had already been doing for years in the clinics and hospitals – but in the home setting.

Care in a calm setting

Like the rest of our staff, Mary believes the most comfortable care happens at home.


Mary provides infusion care, with help from a home care nurse, for PHS patient Joe’Von.

“Anxiety level for the family is way down,” Mary has learned. “When a child is in their home setting, they can play with their toys and be near their family. Siblings are able to be involved in their brother’s or sister’s care, rather than wondering what is happening or feeling left out.”

PHS infusion nurses are able to really know the family and the patient they see for each infusion thanks to a primary nurse model, which helps create a trusting and calming environment during therapy. And because infusions can happen on the family’s schedule, they are able to continue living their life with school, family time, and everyday activities while getting the care their child needs.

Turning fear into comfort

_T6K9122Mary focuses on one simple (or sometimes not so simple) mission with the families she cares for – turn issues into non-issues. By being an advocate for parents and helping solve problems they may encounter, she is able to ease fears related to what might otherwise be a stressful situation.

“I remember one patient who was so fearful of having the tape taken off a dressing – it was such a stressful moment for him, and now we’ve progressed to the point where he is able to sit and play his games and we’re done in 10 minutes,” said Mary. “To see that progress and see they feel comfortable and know it’s okay – that’s awesome.

Three jobs in one

IMG_5443When Mary was younger, she either wanted to be a teacher, hairdresser, or a nurse. As it turns out, Mary’s role often involves doing all three – and sometimes more – of these roles at once.

You’re helping the child, doing the infusion, sometimes they want you to brush your hair while they’re doing the infusion,” laughed Mary. “And there is consistently a lot of teaching. For the patients, parents, other nurses in the home. This career is really a number of jobs wrapped into one.”

Thanks to Mary’s excellence in all of the roles she encounters as an infusion nurse, PHS and families alike benefit from the care she provides and expertise she brings to this field.

Originally published: May 4, 2015