Jessica Harris is a nurse practitioner at Smithland Medical Clinic. This early-riser is surrounded by her “boys” but loves her new “baby girl”. She is counting down the minutes before she can start decorating for Christmas. iMeet this former clarinet player turned health professional!
Welcome to iMeet, Jessica. Tell us a little about yourself...
I grew up near Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and attended Rome Grade School from K - 8th grade. We moved to Kentucky just before my freshman year and I attended Ballard Memorial High School. For most of my childhood we lived just a few minutes from my grandparents and every chance I had I was with them. I traveled all around the United States with them camping and visiting different places. I am and always have been a grandpa’s girl.
Once we moved and high school began, my time was filled with basketball, softball, hunting, and friends. My husband and I moved to Livingston County almost 15 years ago. We love our community and plan to stay right where we are.
We hear you’re surrounded by men and males…what gives?
I am married to my wonderful husband, Robert Harris, and we have four amazing sons (Jarrett, Jesse, Jaycen, and Jack). Our family has lots of boys as we also have two male German short haired pointers (Camo and Copper), four male cats (Casper, Milo, Garfield, and Oreo), and a male goat (Boots). We finally added a baby girl to our family this year: Sugar, our six month old dachshund!
And, you’re a Nurse Practitioner at Smithland Medical Clinic…
Yes, I care for patients of all ages as a family nurse practitioner at Smithland Clinic. We are a rural health clinic and provide acute and chronic care for the community.
The biggest difference between an Nurse Practitioner (NP) and an Registered Nurse (RN) is the level of autonomy. Nurse practitioners can care for patients on their own. They can diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses, order tests, and prescribe medications.
What does a typical day look like for you…
It begins early with coffee - I wake up and usually start laundry while the boys get dressed for school. (There is a lot of laundry in my life!) I only have to wake up the teenager, my little boys are up and going on their own well before 6 am, especially Jesse. I am blessed to be able to drop all of the boys off at school and still get to the office early each day.
At Smithland Clinic we see walk-ins from 8 -10 am and then appointments until 5 pm. A typical work day for me is always changing depending on what the patients’ needs are that day. We have a small office and it is like having another family.
After work routine depends on the day of the week or what the boys have going on. We may be at church, a cross country meet, basketball game, or archery event. Life is busy and we love it!
What's the best part of your job? What is the hardest?
Caring for others is both the best and hardest part of my job. My passion is caring for others and in a small community you become very connected with your patients and their families. When you care deeply for others their sorrows become your sorrows and sometimes that gets hard. I love my job because I get to make a difference in people’s lives.
My life is larger than myself because I care for others. I have met some of the most amazing people because of my job. Caring for others makes me feel intimately connected, and sometimes I get to hear or see how I have touched someone’s life and that is truly an inspiration.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love spending time with my family so we spend most of our free time together. Our favorite activities are anything outdoors, but if it’s raining or cold we love to watch movies and play board games.
Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?
Before I had children I would have always chosen to read the book, but since becoming a mother, I would definitely pick the movie because we can enjoy it together. We love to go to the drive-in for a movie and popcorn!
Tell me three unique things that people may not know about you…
I have a crazy weakness for chocolate.
I played clarinet in the marching band.
I love to play Lego Marvel Super Heroes on Xbox with my boys.
Halloween is right around the corner. How do you celebrate?
We celebrate Halloween by decorating, carving pumpkins, and dressing up for trick or treating. I enjoy Halloween just as much as the kids and always go in costume with them.
Once Halloween has passed, then holiday season is in full swing. Are you ready? Have you done any early Christmas shopping?
I am always ready for the holiday season! Fall décor is up and Christmas décor with a tree in every room will be in full swing just after Thanksgiving. I have usually already done some Christmas shopping, but this year we are working on a special surprise with no shopping involved.