In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

June 6, 2017

Mother’s Career Move Inspires Daughter to Pursue Nursing

By In the Loop

After watching her mother go through nursing school and eventually become a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse after raising five kids, Taylar Olson decided that she wanted nothing more than to follow in her mother’s nursing footsteps.

As a young girl, Taylar Olson watched her mother go through nursing school while raising five kids. Taylar soon found herself following in her mother’s footsteps. 

It's not unusual for parents to dole out advice to their children, and often that advice is universal. Don't sweat the small stuff. Be yourself. Never give up. One piece of advice Patricia (Tish) Olson gave her oldest daughter, Taylar, however, was quite specific. "I told her never to go to nursing school with five children," Tish tells us.

And Tish would know. She'd had her sights set on nursing school when she became pregnant with triplets. "I had to take a step back because that wasn't something I thought I was going to be able to do … raise three babies and go to nursing school all at the same time," she says.

After the triplets celebrated their second birthdays, Tish and her husband "got another little surprise" when they found out she was pregnant with child number five. At that point, nursing school went from being on the "back burner" to being taken off of the stove completely. "But once the kids were all in school, I decided I was going to go back," Tish says.

Through all of the late nights and long hours that would follow, Tish noticed that one of her children was paying particularly close attention to everything she was doing for herself and her family. "Taylar was always very inquisitive about my classes, my clinicals, and everything else about nursing school," Tish tells us. "She actually graduated from high school the same year that I graduated from nursing school. She just saw me going through all of that at a time when she was trying to decide on a career path of her own, and so I think that's when her interest in nursing began."

Taylar tells us it actually dates back earlier than that. "When the triplets were born, they spent time in neonatal intensive care unit, and I was able to see and experience a lot of that with them," she says. "That's really when my interest in becoming a nurse started. Then when my mom went back to school, I watched her do all of her schooling," Taylar tells us. "After I graduated from high school, I decided I wanted to do the same thing."

And though Taylar was able to do just that without the added weight of raising a family, the struggle was still very real, she tells WXOW TV in La Crosse, Wisconsin. "When I started nursing school, everyone says it's so hard," she tells the station. But then she adds, "I thought about my mom doing it with five kids, and I was just baffled at the fact that I was complaining."

But both mother and daughter made it through. And today, you can find Tish and Taylar working as nurses for Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. Although technically in different units — Tish in the clinic's Family Birthplace and Taylar in the neonatal intensive care unit — their paths often cross as they each work to welcome new babies into the world.

"At first it was kind of awkward," Taylar says of the "couple of times a month" that she and Tish work directly together. "But it's been fun. Whenever we do work together, I just see her as my co-worker. Though after I witnessed my first delivery, I did go and apologize to her for being born because it's a very, very painful experience."

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Tags: Employee Stories, Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Nursing, Patricia Olson, Taylar Olson

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