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CU Nursing alumna Lindsey Harms, CPNP-AC ’22, MSN, CCRN

Harms’ Way: CU Alumna Takes Leap to Next Phase of Career

Recent graduate lands advanced-provider role after completing AC PNP curriculum

Written by Bob Mook on February 23, 2023

Lindsey Harms’ nursing career was essentially born after she observed the miracle of birth in 2002.

“When I was young, I thought I wanted to be a doctor,” says Harms, CPNP-AC ’22, MSN, CCRN. “Then, in my early 20s, a family member let me watch while they delivered a baby. I was just blown away by the role of nursing. So, I went home and applied to a nursing school through a hospital-based program in Cincinnati.”

After dabbling with various aspects of healthcare, including pharmacy, ER, critical care, and an outpatient surgery center, Harms found her career passion in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado. That’s when she decided to enroll in the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (AC PNP) specialty at the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

The specialty is designed to prepare graduates to care for children with complex acute, critical, and chronic illnesses across the entire pediatric age spectrum in myriad healthcare settings.

Even before she graduated from the program in August, 2022, Harms landed a job as an advanced provider in the pediatric ICU at Children’s Hospital, where she worked over the last five years. After waiting for her board certification to clear, she started the new role earlier this month.

In late January, we talked to Harms about her life, education, and career.

Q&A Header

Where are you from? What was your childhood like?

I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I would describe my childhood as “free.” There was a creek behind our house, and the neighborhood kids would go out and play all of the time until the streetlights came on.

How did you end up in Colorado?

My husband did computer work for the government and there were a lot more opportunities in Denver than in Cincinnati, so we moved here in 2018.

What influenced your decision to become an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner?

Ultimately, it’s what I am meant to do. I have always loved critical care medicine and being a part of a team that provides life-saving intervention. Also, in acute care, you’re likely going to work in a hospital in a larger city because there aren’t many pediatric ICUs outside of that. With my husband’s job, we’ll always be in or near a big city, so I don’t have to worry about limitations on job options by choosing such a specialized practice.

Why did you choose CU Nursing?

I was really blown away by the fact that CU Nursing was the home of the first nurse-practitioner program. That to me was incredible and something I wanted to be part of. I earned my undergraduate degree and my bachelor’s degree through the University of Cincinnati, which is set up similar to (Anschutz Medical Campus), where there’s a children’s hospital close by. So, I knew that I was going to get that same kind of relationship between CU Nursing and Children’s Hospital Colorado where I work.

How was the faculty?

They were great and very approachable. I was always welcome to text them – even in the evening – when there was something I needed. Or we could meet with them in person.

What about your cohort?

They were a very well-rounded group. In the beginning, every single nurse practitioner in the cohort was there – so you are in class with hundreds of students. As you progress, you kind of break off into your own specialty. So, there were about 12 of us in my cohort in the end. We still have a group thread. If any of us need anything, we’ve always been there for each other.

What was it like going through the program during a pandemic?

I trusted the program and the faculty to keep us working and keep us progressing despite everything. Some of our clinicals were out of order, but (faculty) worked hard to make sure we got what we needed. I never worried that things were going to fall through.

Your clinicals must have gone great since it looks like you are going to be gainfully employed soon.

I feel blessed. We got a majority of our hours through the emergency department, hospital medicine, and then the pediatric ICU, where I already worked as a staff nurse. (Faculty) did an amazing job adding additional clinical experiences with endocrinology, neurology, and infectious disease. It was incredible to have all those additional experiences.

What do you like about acute care?

I enjoy being able to be a difference-maker when it matters the most. At the ICU, everybody is having seemingly the worst day of their life: Their child has been admitted into the pediatric intensive care or the emergency unit for some unexpected illness or injury. Just being able to play a role in people’s lives really fills my cup. One thing I’ve gained through working in the ICU is the ability to build a rapport with those families and provide care to them for a few days. Whereas in the emergency room, you might see them for four to six hours.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have all kinds of spare time since I took the month of January off to bookend my nursing career. I’m sort of taking a break before I become an advanced provider. But I enjoy spending time with my family and cooking. I love to read and being outside, so we go hiking and skiing and doing things like that.

Topics: Alumni