Meet Mary Harrison: Nurse and Superhero

by ih-chi admin

Meet Mary Harrison.

She is an integral member of the Child Neurology Consultants of Austin pediatric neurology and rheumatology team, helping young patients with their infusion treatments.

Mary is also pretty much ah-mazing.

She works as an infusion nurse alongside board-certified pediatric rheumatologist Dr. Ruy Carrasco and board-certified pediatric neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Kane. She is loved by everyone in our office, and more importantly, adored by the patients she cares for and their families.

Mary was recently nominated the Employee of the Month by Altus Infusion (our partner group that assists with infusion treatments).

Infusion treatments can be very scary, tiresome, and sometimes painful for our patients. They are bound to our clinic for large chunks of time--hours even--sometimes every few weeks to receive the medications necessary to combat their diseases.

Mary goes above and beyond— and then some — to ensure that each child is comfortable, entertained, and well taken care of while they are with us.

We are thrilled to shine a spotlight on her and this richly-deserved honor.

Here’s more about Mary:

How long have you been doing this type of work with infusions?

I have worked as an infusion nurse for about three and a half years now.

What is your background in nursing?

I have my BSN, or bachelor of science in nursing, and I am currently working towards my Master's degree to be an FNP, family nurse practitioner.

Prior to caring for infusion patients, I worked as an ER nurse for four years.

What do you love most about working with kids?

I love forming relationships with the kiddos and their families. Sometimes they will text or email me in between treatments to let me know what they’ve been up to--like if they have won a big game or did something special at school. I am always thinking about them, so it is very touching to be included in their everyday happenings even when they are not here in the clinic.

How do you make infusion treatments easier for them?

I try to always show them everything I am doing and explain things every step during the procedure. I like to let them touch and feel the equipment I use and even be an active part during the treatment if they are up for it. For instance, I will let them pull back on the syringe to draw their blood.  I truly believe that empowering and encouraging  them to take an active role in their care makes things easier. It gives them back some control.

I also like to provide favorite snacks, drinks, movies or video games for patients when they are here to make the time pass better. Additionally, we have fun, furry, stuffed animal backpacks that we let the younger kids use during treatments if they are hooked up to their IVs for a long while--they love those. The kids are able to freely walk around the suite and play while still infusing. It makes it less "medical" and more fun!

My favorite saying to share with the kids is “no stinking thinking” while they’re here, meaning that if we have good, positive thoughts during treatment, it will all go a lot smoother. Some kids like to use Buzzy the Bee...a device that goes above the IV site and  "buzzes." It "mixes up" the pain signals and makes the IV start less painful. Others like using "freezy" spray which numbs the area prior to IV insertion.

What do you love about working with our physicians at Child Neurology Consultants?

Dr. Carrasco and Dr. Kane are both so dedicated to the patients and have such an excellent bedside manner with the kids. They are focused and serious when they need to be yet also silly and funny at the same time with them to lighten the mood. I appreciate how the doctors listen to me when I have suggestions, answer my questions, and include me in the overall care of each patient.

In her spare time when not working with her patient ‘kids,’ Mary enjoys spending time with her own three very accomplished grown children and her husband. They love to travel, hike, spend time with family and participate in any number of thrill-seeking activities, like skydiving and white water rafting.

To learn more about our pediatric rheumatology care or to schedule an appointment with one of our child and teenage neurology specialists, please contact us here.