Congratulations to Mary Harrison, one of our Infusion Nurses, as Altus Biologics’ Employee of the Month! It takes a special person to be a great infusion nurse with attention to detail, nerves of steel, and a caring, warm heart. Mary is an incredible asset to our company. As appreciation for her pursuit of excellence, she is our latest recipient to join the elite club of Altus Biologics’ Employee of the Month. Today, get to know Mary Harrison, the person behind her stellar performance.
Get to Know the Girl from a Small Town in Texas
Mary grew up in Sealy, Texas, a small town just West of Houston. As a child, she first wanted to be a mother, then either a nurse or a teacher. Today, she lives in Dripping Springs, Texas with her husband and eighteen-year-old daughter.
Last month, we enjoyed a chat with her as she opened up about herself. The following are some of the questions and answers from our interview.
Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?
A. If I knew then what I know now, I would tell myself to not wait so long to go after my dreams and to have the confidence that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.
Q. How do you juggle your work with home life?
A. I get really involved with my patients. I have infused some of these kiddos for years (before I was with Altus). The families become like family to me. I have attended graduations, birthdays and extracurricular activities with my patients. I love the relationships I have formed with the families.
Q. What do you do when you are not working?
A. My husband and I love to travel. We have backpacked through Asia for 5 weeks and spent time in an elephant sanctuary, hiked up 9 hours to a Mong village and lived with the villagers and then whitewater kayaked down the mountain. I love to snow ski, mountain bike, hike and whitewater raft. Anything that is thrill seeking I am up to try!
Q. What’s a fun fact about you many people may not know?
A. I love to skydive but I am deathly afraid of balloons. I also married a boy 6 years ago that I have known since I was 10…. we grew up together in the same small town. I was also on a TV show when I was 16 called Puttin on the Hits!!!
Q. A good quote to describe you personally or one that you really relate to.
A. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, and “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart” — Helen Keller.
Q. Your studies and any specialties.
A. I have my bachelor of science in Psychology. I decided to go back to nursing school later in life. I have my BSN from the University of Texas and I am currently in my Masters program for my FNP.
Q. Why did you decide to go into your career?
A. My sister is a nurse and I was always interested in everything she was learning about so I decided I would try it out too.
Q. What or who has been your biggest influence or your mentor?
A. I would have to say my husband has been my biggest influence. We were dating when I mentioned I wanted to go back to school, but was terrified and kept talking myself out of going. He pushed me and pushed me and made me believe that I could actually do it. I did not make great grades in college so I had many doubts that I would be successful. I threw myself into nursing school and graduated with a 3.9 and I currently have a 4.0 in my Masters.
Q. What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?
A. My 3 kids are my biggest achievement. My son graduated from Texas State and has a job in computer programming. My daughter graduated from Texas A&M and is in her Masters at Mizzou, and my youngest just graduated from DSHS. They are all beautiful and kind and amazing, compassionate humans. Raising them to embrace life, to be kind to others, and to make a difference makes me the most proud of anything I have ever done!
What is Mary Like at Work?
Q. What is success to you?
A. Success to me is being happy, doing good things in this crazy life, and to try and make the world a better place while we are here.
Q. What is your motto or personal mantra?
A. BE KIND.
Q. What three words would you use to describe your role?
A. Trust, safety, fun.
Q. When did you start at Altus Biologics?
A. November 2018.
Q. What is a typical day like?
A. Being a pediatric clinic, our days probably look a bit different than the other clinics. I have decorated our clinic with fun art, we have animal backpacks the kids wear that carry the pump and meds, and lots of toys. I usually have a joke of the day the kids look forward to. Starting IV’s and accessing ports on kids takes a different approach. I explain everything to the kids before I ever touch them. I let them touch the supplies and talk them through every step. Letting them be a part of the infusion helps to make it not such a scary situation. I use “buzzy the bee” (a device that is attached above the IV start and “buzzes”) and helps mix up the pain signals and helps kids get thru the IV start. I also use “freezy spray” to numb the area and a special foam to take off the tegaderm with minimal pain. During the IV start, I get filled in on their school and sport activities. Having them tell me about a game they were in or what they are learning in school is another great distraction technique.
Q. What is the most common question you get from patients or their parents?
A. How do you work with kids???????? I get that all the time and my response is, “how do you work with BIG people???”
Q. How would you describe the company culture here?
A. Altus truly does strive to treat patients like family. I feel like when I call and need a miracle to get an infusion approved for a patient, that the team really understands how important it is for the kids to get their medications in a timely manner.
Q. What do you love most about working with Altus Biologics?
A. I love the support I get at any given moment when I need help with something. Everyone is very supportive and willing to help with whatever I need.
Q. Name one favorite memory from working at Altus Biologics.
A. I think my favorite memories would be when patients ask me to do “TikTok” dances with them…. Or when I have a new patient that is terrified of IV’s and I talk them off the ledge and walk them through the process and afterwards they are so proud of themselves!
Q. What advice would you give to recent new entrants?
A. It is not an easy job. You juggle with not only the business of the day, but with insurance companies, medication orders, supply orders etc. There is a lot that goes on during the day, but once you get your routine down it becomes a lot more manageable. Know your meds!!! Know the side effects, mechanism of action, correct dosages etc. We literally have patients’ lives in our hands and it is imperative that we take care of them safely and efficiently. Get to know your patients. People (especially kids) are amazing and it is so rewarding to develop friendships with the families. That is definitely the best part of my job!!!
Thank you, Mary Harrison, for taking the time to help us get to know more about you. We appreciate all that you do to help your patients as well as the physicians caring for them. It’s no surprise that you are this month’s recipient of the Employee of the Month award. We are honored that you are a part of our Altus Biologics team!