Strength, Courage and Faith
By John Gregory
Jennifer Parker is an experienced registered nurse, a trauma case manager, a prolific volunteer and a mother of four in Scripps Ranch. Her journey has not been easy.
Parker balances her homelife and an intense career. She has been a trauma case manager for 20 years and works at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. She is assigned cases in which patients have suffered severe injuries such as stabbings, gunshot wounds, neck and head trauma, or suffered injuries in car crashes, skateboard accidents or falls.
“To be a case manager you have to know how to take care of patients, what’s involved and all aspects of the care in a hospital setting,” she said.
“We coordinate the services that the patient is going to need after discharge. So, we start following the patient once they are admitted – get acquainted with the case, the injuries, the insurance, the family and then work with the team to pull all resources that we need for the patient when they’re leaving,” she explained.
First, Parker started as a medical-surgical nurse on a surgical floor. Then she worked in a head injury unit where she gained experience with trauma patients.
“I started with an associate’s degree as a single mom with my first son. I have since gotten my master’s degree in 2006,” she said.
Working on cases involving the severely injured is obviously a difficult task, but Parker has managed her career while raising four children.
“It can be stressful,” she said. “I feel inept many times like many moms do. We’re all just trying to do our best.”
Parker said exercise is important to her, and she tries to be involved with as much as possible as a volunteer at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church and St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, where two of her children attend.
“I enjoy it and I get a lot of satisfaction from that, being involved and knowing people, helping people,” she said.
She grew up as a nurturer and became a survivor. She was a single mother at age 19, dropped out of school, but returned to earn her first degree.
She later married and had her second son. But she became a widow when her first husband died in 2003. That’s when her perspective changed and she became more involved with her church. It took a while, but she survived with the help of friends, family and her faith, she said.
She remarried in 2006. Now, she has a family with a wide range of ages: Corey, 35; Tyler, 28; Luke, 11; Francesca, 7; and granddaughter Gianna, 2.
She credits her husband, Larry Parker, as a steady element in their family.
“He’s the calm, practical, level-headed person who just kind of helps balance my anxiety and my worries when I feel overwhelmed,” she said.
Jennifer Parker offered an insight to her philosophy for raising kids:
“I’m big on manners and doing what’s right. I’m big on helping others and kindness … A lot of love; have patience,” she said.
Here is her advice for women enduring the rigors of motherhood:
“It’s one day at a time. … Pool your resources. Talk to the people that love you and care about you and support you. … Get away from the negativity and be in the positives,” she said.