View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hero Mamas

Tera and Lani
This is the first of two stories of two working moms who persevered against incredible odds to accomplish a dream and a goal of becoming a Doctor of Nurse Practitioner.  They did it while working, raising a family and burning an enormous amount of mid-night oil.  In the course of their studies they have become close friends.  They supported and encouraged each other when times were difficult.  They accomplished this despite the odds against success.  They proved that with perseverance and dedication, anything is possible.

I am going to start with Lani's story because  -- well, she's my daughter and since I'm writing this I can do what I want.  

Lani graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in education, but after her experience during student teaching of 5th year high school seniors she decided against teaching.  She and her husband Randall started a family that now consists of three very bright and funny kids.

Still feeling a desire to teach, she went to work for Legacy Hospital Systems teaching health education for 11 years. She and Randall began home schooling their children at an early age. Then in 2004 Lani entered Linfield University's accelerated nursing program and graduated in 2005.  She was then hired as a nurse for OHSU in their birthing center.  The defining point in Lani's career came early in 2009.  Her family joined Jeri and I on a medical mission trip to Ecuador.  She went to teach health education concerning nutrition and sanitation.  While there she began to feel a calling into family practice, especially where she could provide free medical care for the disadvantaged.  Lani then applied to OHSU for entry into their Master's program for Nurse Practitioner.

In the summer of 2009 Lani was accepted into the Master's program and started that fall. She cut her hours at work to 24 per week which maintained the family health insurance and started taking one to three extra classes a semester.  During this time she also became a crusader and started working with the state legislators on home birth issues.  She researched and wrote several papers on home births and infant mortality, which was also the topic for her PHD Clinical Inquiry Project.  

Lani graduated in 2011 and was immediately hired by Providence Portland Medical Center to start up and operate an in house Urgent Care facility offering free health care for Providence employees.  She was also accepted into OHSU's doctorate program and was awarded a Project Access Scholarship.  Without the scholarship she would have had to return to full time work, as Randall had been downsized in 2010 and was doing financial and actuary consulting for less money.

Lani and Providence worked out an arrangement that called for her working three days a week for wages and two days without pay but the hours would count toward her residency requirements. 

Apparently Lani felt she had some spare time somewhere between 7 at night and 6 in the morning when she wasn't working on her dissertation or sleeping, so she wrote an article on Nursing Leadership that was published by Clinical Scholars Review.  

But all the hard work and sacrifice has paid off because on June 4th she graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  She is on a parity with your family doctor and dentist, the only difference being her education focused on the treatment side of medicine rather than the research side.

Beth, Lani, Randall, Mitchell, Drew
Behind each success story are the support team that helps make this all happen, because without them it is either not going to happen or it is going to take a lot longer.  Randall, the husband, head home school educator, chief cook, food procurer and head task delegater for their three kids, was a huge asset.  He does all this while having his own physical problems dealing with MS.  He is also a hero and Super Dad and Jeri and I feel so blessed to have him as a son-in-law.

But without the grunt work that Mitchell, Beth and Drew accomplished, all of this would have been much more difficult.  They did most of the yard work, house cleaning, laundry, dishes and helping with meals.  Many times they would take charge of meals and do all the preparing and cooking.  Once Mitchell turned 16 he did a lot of the ferrying of Drew and Beth where ever they had to go.

Yes, it was a team effort with a tremendous amount of moral support and encouragement from Lani's brothers and sister, Chuck, Kris and Andy and sister-in-law Stacia.  That is how success is achieved, a team effort built around family and friends who pray and trust God for paving the way, opening doors of opportunity,  and providing the energy and knowledge along the way.  To Him be the glory given!


  1. Wow! What an amazing story and what a joy to see the pictures. Congrats to Lani and the Whole Team~ Blessings to you all. Love, Heather

  2. WOW! Lani and team! You all are so remarkable, may God continue to bless you in many ways and give you Courage and Strength daily. You all are incredible, but look who the parents and grandparents are, I wouldn't expect anything less. Love to you all Nikki and Larry Sharp