Sisters by Confusion Nurses by Choice
Jennifer Stritar, R.N., a clinical supervisor in the Emergency Center, and her daughter, Caitlin Harris, both are nurses at Johns Hopkins All Children’s.
Ever since she was a child, Jennifer Stritar, R.N., a clinical supervisor in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Emergency Center, knew she wanted to be a nurse. “I started out as an LPN for 23 years and went back to school to become an R.N., which I completed in 2009. I’ve been at this hospital ever since.”
She was overjoyed when her daughter Caitlin Harris also chose nursing as a profession. Although she was not at all surprised.
“I’ve watched my mom being a nurse my entire life,” Caitlin says. “I spent lots of time with her in doctors’ offices where she worked. I’ve also seen her care for people throughout the community.”
So, just like her mom, Caitlin got her LPN certification 10 years ago, and joined the hospital as a patient care tech in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). After two years, she realized that nursing was her career of choice. She returned to school to get an R.N. degree and was accepted into the hospital’s Pediatric RN Residency Program in 2014.
The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Pediatric RN Residency provides a 12-month program for the graduate or otherwise eligible nurse to provide the support and knowledge to grow into a competent pediatric professional practitioner.
“I’m very proud of her,” Jennifer says. “She’s a great daughter and mom to her two children, ages 6 and 4, which are also my grandchildren! She loves her profession as much as I do.”
It’s not hard for them to stay in touch during the week even though their nursing jobs are in two different parts of the hospital. “When we work the same day, we talk on the phone on the way to work and usually time it so we can walk into the hospital together. Sometimes we run into each other during the day in a meeting or passing through the hospital,” Jennifer says.
Hospital staff have been quick to notice the remarkable family resemblance between this nursing duo. “People confuse us a lot,” Caitlin says. “When we walk through the hospital together, some people do a double take. They have even asked if we are sisters,” she says, rolling her eyes.
Jennifer, on the other hand, thinks that comparison is great! She’s happy people make the family connection, even if it’s not the right connection.
They both agree that nursing has had its challenges recently. “COVID has been very scary for us,” says Caitlin, who worked in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit. “Between my job and mom working in the Emergency Center, we had to be very careful around each other and our family, before the vaccine was available.”
At home, Jennifer and Caitlin agree that having two nurses in the family is beneficial. “Whenever a medical issue arises at home, we are the go-to family members,” says Caitlin. “But, when it’s something with my kids, even though I’m a nurse, I always call mom first.”