Balancing act

Family / April 17, 2017

Nurse practitioner uses patience, motivation to balance work, home
As a woman, finding an equal balance between having a full-time career or going to school, being a wife, and raising a family can be tricky. How do you maintain good grades or your full-time job while also giving your spouse and children the quality time that they deserve?

This balancing act requires a great deal of patience, energy and motivation. You can’t be in more than one place at once and, with kids, your day-to-day life is quite unpredictable.

Brittany Lacy, 31, is a family nurse practitioner at West Gate Family Medicine in Hot Springs and successfully performs this balancing act every day. She may make it look easy, but her achievements didn’t come without its challenges.

Brittany said she always knew she wanted to get into the medical field because she loves to help people.

“I also like getting to follow patients over a period of time. A lot of my patients have been my patients for years. Also, kind of the problem-solving part of it. Somebody comes to you with an issue or a complaint and just trying to work with them to figure out what the problem is and then what’s going to be the best course of action to remedy it,” she added.

When she and her husband, Josh, got married she was working as an RN at Children’s Hospital in Little Rock before accepting a job in the emergency department at CHI St. Vincent (formerly St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital) in Hot Springs.

When Brittany and Josh began thinking about having children, Brittany decided to go back to school for another three and a half years to get her master’s degree and nurse practitioner’s license so that she could have a more “regular” work schedule in order to hopefully raise a family.

“She has persevered through all the stress and endless hours studying and is now enjoying the benefits,” Josh said. “She even inspired me to finish my degree as she finished hers. She would spend eight to 10 hours every day studying in the back bedroom when she was not in clinical rotation or at her nighttime job in the ER.”

“He had started his associate degree before we even got married and he was lacking just two semesters, maybe three semesters, so whenever I decided to go back to school I was like, ‘I’m going to be studying anyway, you might as well too,’ so he would study in the living room and I would study in the office,” Brittany said.

The couple pushed each other and cheered each other on as they worked to finishHER-FAMILY their master’s degrees.

During her last year in school, Brittany found out she was pregnant with their first child, Sawyer, who is now 3 and a half years old.

“It actually worked out well because I had passed my boards and I was kind of in between jobs right when I had him, so I could stay home and do kind of a maternity leave until I started my job as a nurse practitioner,” she said.

Eight months ago, Brittany gave birth to two twin boys, Hunter and Barrett.

“Now, with the kids, it was challenging because I was working, I had a full-time practice, and I had frequent OB appointments because you have to do the ultrasounds and measurements and all that kind of stuff,” she said.

As a mom of three boys, Brittany said she thinks a lot of moms, whether they stay at home with their children or have a career, always wonder whether they’re really doing the right thing for their families.

“But I do feel like I’m right where God has called me to be,” she added. “I love my job, I love being a mom, and fortunately the group that I work with, the physicians — I’ve never felt like I had to pick between being a mom versus my career. I’ve always been able to prioritize that so I’m really fortunate in that aspect.”

She added that while she loves her kids dearly, she doesn’t think she would ever be able to be a stay-at-home-mom.

“I almost think that you have to be a superhero mom to be a stay-at-home-mom because I think it’s so much harder. I miss my kids at work but I also get a break from it,” she said. “Moms who are in the trenches from the time their kids wake up to the time they go to bed, I admire moms that can do it. Because it really does take a lot of strength and patience that I don’t know that I would have.”

When asked what advice she has for other young women who are on the fence about pursuing their dream job, Brittany said, “I would say that you have to surround yourself with people who are going to support you. Every decision that I’ve made as far as education, career, my husband has always been — he’s never made me feel guilty or pressured me to make any other different choices. If I was passionate about something, he supported me. And I have friends and a church that just have my back 110 percent.

“My advice would be to just surround yourself with people like that, people that are going to push you. Because there were a lot of times in school that I just wanted to quit and my husband would just say, ‘No, you’re going to do this, you can do it, you’ll be great at it, just keep going.’”

Now, their marriage and family is fueled simply by patience, love and having each other to lean on.

When they aren’t working, Brittany and Josh and the kids enjoy just being outdoors and spending time together as a family. They’re looking forward to a family vacation to Florida in a couple of months, something that Brittany said might not be possible had she and Josh not pushed each other to return to school and better themselves for their family.

Lindsey Wells

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