Educated Woman of the Week- Heather Buzbee

Heather Buzbee
Pediatric Nurse, Grad Student

Where did you go to school and what did you study?
BYU, University of Colorado-Anschutz
Nursing, Pediatric Nursing Practice

Tell us about your school/work life:
I am studying to be a pediatric nurse practitioner. Besides the fact that working with kids can be great fun, I believe that if you want to have healthy populations you need to start with supporting the health of children. I am attending school in Colorado because my specialty is not offered in Utah. We tried making Colorado work for a year, but to make a long story short, it didn’t. We came back to Utah because it was the best choice for my family. I attend classes online and fly to Denver once a semester. When I am finished with school I would like to find a job in pediatric public health. I currently work full time as a home health nurse. Before graduate school I worked in the hospital setting, mostly in Pediatrics.

Tell us about your life outside of school/work:
I am married to a hilarious and supportive husband. We have three adorable and sassy kids that we currently home-school together in beautiful southern Utah. Sometimes life throws you curve balls and no matter what you had planned, as a parent you have to make adjustments for the well-being of your kids. For us right now, that means home-school (which actually is great fun, if somewhat exhausting). I volunteer a few hours a month at the Doctors Volunteer Clinic in St. George because I feel it is important to support organizations in your community that are trying to improve public health.

How do you de-stress?
Running, yoga, dark chocolate and audiobooks (particularly about feminist issues and healthcare)
Also I pay a maid to clean my house once a week, I consider it part of the cost of graduate school and necessary for my sanity.

What was the greatest barrier on your path to awesomeness, and what did you do about it?
HEALTH INSURANCE. When I started graduate school, I really thought that we could get by on just my husband’s income and I would not have to work. However, it is a requirement that graduate students in healthcare fields have health insurance. This would not be such a big problem except that about the time I started graduate school, the price of monthly insurance premiums for our family roughly quadrupled. It’s more than our mortgage. So I went back to work to have access to affordable insurance. I love my co-workers and my patients, but life would be less stressful without working during graduate school.

Who do you go to for support when you feel really vulnerable?
#1- My husband, marrying that man was hands down the best decision I ever made.
#2- My kids. I don’t unload the hard stuff in my life on them, but when I deal with hard pediatric health care issues it makes me grateful for the generally healthy kids that I have. Besides hugs and games with my kids help to remind me about why I am doing all of this.
#3- I have some great friends near and far who I always know I can count on.
#4- My feminist book club. The obstacles women face in getting an education is a topic that we have discussed multiple times.

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