CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019 - 19

19

G R A D U AT I O N

girls one-on-one every single day."
The girls who qualified for the
home often came directly from
the sex-trafficking world and were
highly traumatized and confused,
Harmon said.
"It just made me so aware of everything that was happening in our
backyard and in places that were
literally down the street from me,"
Harmon said. "It's just amazing now
that they opened the home how
much more awareness there is of
it and how many cases we have to
turn down because there is simply
not enough space," she said. "There
is a huge need."
Many of the girls were runaways
from the foster care system. "It
made me just heartbroken. I realized how much healing has to take
place with them," said Harmon,
who learned a lot about trauma-informed care during her time working with the home.

EXPERIENCES HELP SHAPE
COMMUNITY SERVICE PLAN
"It was so helpful having that mental
health side of it. Bringing that into
my nursing has been super helpful,"
said Harmon, who had to quit to
focus on her education but intends
to continue helping sex-trafficking
victims again someday.
For now, her sights are set on becoming a community nurse practitioner and eventually having an
even bigger impact on medically
needy populations. She and her
husband have talked seriously
about moving overseas somewhere
in critical need of medical care,
Harmon said. "We would want to
go where we could help even more
people."

Daughter's
Illness
Motivates
Mathis to
Become
a Nurse
By Katelyn Nolan

Kathryn Mathis discovered nursing when her daughter Lily contracted viral
meningitis, which then developed into a serious brain injury. "I wanted to give
back. The nurses inspired me... I don't think I would have ended up here if Lily and
I didn't have that experience."
With five children, Mathis learned during the BSN program to balance her family and her
education. "My husband is incredibly supportive and excited for me," said Mathis. Even
with support, the balance can be difficult to strike. "I had to change the way we live. Taking
off the little loads make a big difference - like dishes. There were some times when we
used paper plates because I didn't have the time to do the dishes." With advocates in her
home and at the College of Nursing encouraging her along the way, she was able to thrive
educationally. Mathis specifically singles out Assistant Professor Tammy Spencer. "She
is by far the best instructor I've ever met." Spencer reinforced Mathis' drive to complete
her education with reassuring words of encouragement throughout the program.
After graduation, Mathis will be continuing the long process to medical foster care. For
her family, it is important to support children like Lily - those who do not have homes but
need medical attention at home. Ultimately, Mathis would like to continue to serve the
pediatric population with terminal illnesses or severe physical disabilities.
Mathis' words of wisdom to anyone studying medical professions is to not get caught
up in the textbook. She emphasizes that many patients will not fit into boxes laid out
in scientific literature. Having empathy is key. "Presume competence in people with
disabilities. Expect the best out of people - they are intelligent."



CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019

Contents
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019 - Contents
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019 - 2
CU Nursing - Fall/Winter 2019 - 3
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