Like mother, like daughter

They took different paths but Colleen Fields and her daughter Haley Thornburg are both nurses at IU Health Ball Memorial.

It’s lunchtime at IU Health Ball Memorial and Colleen Fields is preparing to dine with her favorite co-worker. Her daughter Haley Thornburg had just finished in surgery when she meets her mom in the cafeteria.

Fields and her husband Michael were managing a video store in Parker City, Ind. when they started rethinking their finances. They had two daughters – Haley and her sister Holly Fields. So at the age of 43, Colleen Fields became a registered nurse. Her first job was with IU Health Ball Memorial Hospice. When Thornburg started Ball State majoring in nursing she shadowed her mother to work.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do in ninth grade so I thought nursing would be good for me because my mom and I are very similar,” said Thornburg. “We like the same things and seeing mom as a hospice nurse well, I think every nurse is special but a hospice nurse is really a gift.” Both Thornburg and her sister also served as hospital volunteers.

“The best part of the job for Thornburg is interacting with her patients. “I’ve always had one patient at a time so I really get to focus on their needs. I focus on one patient, one surgery at a time,” said Thornburg.

During their lunch break, the mother and daughter talk about family events, plans for the weekend and sometimes the trials and triumphs of their day.

“I work in the pre-op clinic so sometimes I get to see Haley’s patients before they go into surgery,” said Fields. “Its kind of a team that they don’t even know about behind-the-scenes.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email