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Mother/Daughter Team Shares Their Love for Nursing – and Each Other

Meet Pattie and Jessica


A family tree showing how 7 Children's Mercy nurses are related
A family tree illustrating the deep roots this family has in nursing at Children's Mercy.

For Pattie and her daughter Jessica, nursing is not just a job – it's a family tradition. They are 2 of 7 women in their family who have been or currently are nurses at Children’s Mercy, and they love the daily joys and challenges of caring for patients.

Both Pattie and Jessica work in our Hematology/Oncology (Hem/Onc) clinic. Pattie is a staff nurse with 38 years of experience, 14 of which have been at Children’s Mercy. She provides chemotherapy and assists with procedures for children who are fighting cancer. Jessica is an education coordinator. Her role involves educating families, nursing students and current staff members on a variety of topics and overseeing large projects for the Hematology/Oncology clinic.

Caring careers inspired by mothers

Pattie was drawn to the profession because of her own mother, who was bed-bound from multiple sclerosis for most of Pattie’s childhood. “We had live-in nurses in the house, so seeing that side of the world just drew me into a caring role,” Pattie recalled. “Then Hem/Onc became my passion. It’s a family atmosphere and you get to know your patients so well – it drew me in and I’ve stuck with it the rest of my career,” she shared.

As for Jessica, “I became a nurse because of her,” she said, pointing to her mom. “We are a family of nurses. Seven women in the family are nurses, so I feel like I was just destined for it. Nursing’s in my blood!” she declared. Jessica recalls candid (and sometimes too vivid!) conversations about medical conditions at family dinners, as well as pictures in their family photo albums of her mother in her nursing uniform and cap, complete with a 1980s-style feathered haircut.

A woman in a graduation gown in surrounded by female family members
A legacy of Children’s Mercy Nurses at Jessica’s Nursing School Graduation in 2012. Top row (left to right): Pattie, Cheryl; bottom row (left to right): Janet, Jessica, Karyn.


Caring: the heart of the matter

While the hairstyles and uniforms have changed quite a bit over the years, the heart for nursing in their family remains constant. “What stands out to me about both of us is that we care. I think that shows in everything we do, like the way we interact with each other and with our patients, because we had such rich caregiver role models,” Jessica shared. “The women in our family are such strong caregivers – we take care of business!” she laughed.

Even with the history of nursing in their family, Pattie never pressured Jessica to follow in her footsteps. “I always wanted my kids to do whatever made them happy. I never had to dread getting out of bed and going to work in the morning because it’s something I love to do, and I wanted the same for them,” Pattie said. But for Jessica, the path was clear: “From the time I was old enough to be asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was always that I was going to be a nurse, and my answer never changed!” she said.

Adventures in pediatrics


A three women pose together outdoors, the middle woman holding a vase of flowers
Jessica surrounded with love by aunt Cheryl and mom Pattie after the Clinical Excellence Awards in May 2023.

Now 17 years into her nursing career, Jessica has experienced several different types of nursing roles, from her first job at Children’s Mercy as a Care Assistant to a stint on the Transport Team and now a return to Hem/Onc. Pattie worked with adult Hem/Onc patients for her first 25 years as a nurse, but she enjoys the different elements that come with pediatric care. “Adults deal with different problems along with their cancer than kids do,” Pattie shared. “Kids just want to be kids! They don’t want to be bothered with the things we have to do to treat their cancer, but they put up with us and we try to make it as easy on them and as not scary as we possibly can,” she said.

A great place to work

Pattie and Jessica are not the only Hem/Onc team members with a long history at Children’s Mercy. “We have some serious longevity in our clinic,” Jessica said, estimating that altogether, the staff brings more than 500 years of combined experience in cancer care. “I think that says a lot about Children’s Mercy and how amazing our team is,” Jessica added. Pattie agrees: “People stick around here for nearly their entire career in some cases – it's such a compliment to the hospital.”

Leaning on each other

While some people would find it difficult to work with a family member, Jessica and Pattie love sharing that part of their lives. “I know that I’ll be able to look back on this time and cherish it,” Jessica said. “We’re able to lean on each other and there’s always someone else who understands what you’re going through when you have a tough day.”

Pattie said she gets almost daily compliments from coworkers on what an asset Jessica is. “Of course I’m proud of her – I don’t say it often enough, but to be able to share our days together, I’m absolutely incredibly proud,” she said.

Time will tell whether any more members of their family choose a medical career, but for this mom and daughter, it’s a decision they’re thankful for every day.