Name: Erica Uzpen

Occupation: Director of Nursing at the Larimer County Jail

Duty Description: The director of nursing assists with day to day operations of the jail medical department. The Larimer County Jail holds 500-600 inmates and we provide 24 hour, around the clock nursing care. I supervise approximately 24 medical staff members. I am also the CPR trainer for the medical department, having recently obtained my CPR instructor certification thru the American Red Cross.

How long have you been there: I have worked at the Larimer County Jail since September 2010. I have been the director of nursing since October 30th, 2016.

Tell us about your family and kids: I am a mom to three spirited kids. Ashlynn is 15 years old and a freshman in high school. She participates in choir and is working on dog training/showmanship in her 4h club. She is creative, and a fierce animal lover. Bennett is 8 years old and an active third grader. He is learning archery in 4H and participates in Aikido every week. He is incredibly curious and has taught me so much about history, natural disasters and architecture. Revan recently became a threenager (3 years old). He is energetic and tests boundaries from dusk until dawn. He loves space ships and cars. He was born to be outdoors and we are grateful that Colorado has so many sunny days. He attends daycare/pre-school four days per week at a local college (where my husband works). My husband, Brian, is a physics and astronomy college instructor. He is a dedicated father to our clan and a science enthusiast. We also have two 5 year old Brittany pups. We’ve been saying that they would calm down and be less hyper for 5 years now. Ha! They keep the kids busy. We like that.

What’s your daily schedule typically like: 
The weekday schedule feels overwhelming before it even begins. I am blessed to be able to condense my work week into 4 ten hour shifts per week on Tuesday-Friday working 6am (to be present for morning shift change nursing report) until 4pm daily. My husband is able to help get the kids to where they need to be on those days since my mornings start so early. After school/work, we start the homework/dinner train; trying to accomplish spending time with each child, all while providing a meal and helping with homework. Mon-Wed, the kids have evening activities to attend starting at 6 pm and ending between 7 and 9 pm. This has forced me to be creative with dinner and homework time. I try to fit in the gym after work and on weekends. This is often difficult, but I try my best.

At work, I try to take the  time to answer questions and check in with the nurses right away during and after the official shift change. The day carries out with things like supply and medication management, resolving conflict, providing emergency care, planning and preparing site updates and changes, scheduling, working late shifts if needed, responding to a call at home anytime and attending meetings. The days go by fast, and I often am glad that I am returning the next day because there is always more to do.

What’s your best tip for maintaining work/life balance: SELF CARE. I cannot emphasize this enough. Balancing work, meals, marriage, kids, after school activities, homework, errands etc. can really take a toll on a mom. It’s easy to feel used and forgotten. For me, self care comes in the form of eating healthy, getting sunshine, exercising and taking me time by soaking in the hot tub nearly every night. I also find tremendous help with planning ahead. Planning meals and outlining the schedule for the week can help as well as making sure the kids are aware of the plans. While it rarely goes as planned, it is helpful to get the kids on board with the goals for the week.  With that said, trying not to stress the little things (like being unable to cook said planned meal due to kiddos needing you) is also very important. Self care means not beating yourself up for silly things like changing plans and eating dessert first (or having two desserts). 😉

Biggest struggle: Learning to juggle. Who knew I would feel like a circus act as much as I do! Each child has such different puzzle pieces that need to fit in with our routines.

Scariest thing that has happened to you while parenting: Oh my. I can think of several moments where my heart completely dropped.  You never forget those moments. My daughter being bit in the face by a great Dane when she was little, my son’s asthma attacks that have led to hospitalization, the time my toddler hid (for a split second!)  in the garage while home with my husband and at the exact time I was pulling in and I nearly hit him. It is scary how vulnerable we are as moms.

Where do you see yourself in 10 yearsIn ten years, I hope to have achieved a masters degree and I hope to continue working in a management position as I further my education. I am slowly building up my travel goals and I am putting adventure first for my family. Getting outside and out of town are a priority!

Favorite place to travel to: At the moment, I will hands down say Hawaii, Disney World and Canada. Working full time means I have to get more creative with the time off I do have. I try to explore nearby areas often to provide little weekend getaways.

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#Momssupportingmoms #theradmommies

Instagram: @flutterby1023

Photographer Credits: Mountain Photos: Amanda Jarman Photography