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Cathy Barker

Family Nurse Practitioner, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho in Ellensburg United States

Born to parents who farmed in Illinois I had a wonderful interesting childhood. At the age of 10 my family (Mom, Dad, older sister and older brother) moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Truly a cultural adjustment was required of all of us but we were able to continue as a close-knit family. Changing from a one room school house in the middle of a cornfield to a large metropolitan school system from fifth grade thru high school was the time in my life where family members and a few close friends were trusted but the larger community we lived in was only to be survived. I played parks and recreation softball during grade school. In junior high school I wondered about the popular kids who were already going steady. I did get involved with a community business activity and attended a few political rallies as well as Girls Athletic Association during high school. My grades were good enough for me to be in National Honor Society. I still wondered about the high school girls who were pregnant or had a child why would they do this in high school?
I completed my first college degree in 3 and 1/2 years with a BA in physical education and a minor in elementary reading education at Arizona State University. The first semester of college I attended University of Arizona in Tucson and became so home sick I was ready to withdraw on the second day of classes. I became so panicked about being with strangers that I ended up in the student health center and saw other students there who had huge abscesses on their arms from shooting drugs. Needless to say, this really snapped me into the beginning of my adult life.
The most difficult adjustment for me was having a meal without my family. Moving from having my own place to back with my Mom and Dad who had moved from Arizona to Seattle during the time I was in college was a time of pause before I met my ex-husband. The marriage lasted for less than three years and during this time we had a daughter and moved to Colorado.
I have been a single Mom since 1977. By now I am also a single Grandma. I returned to school in 1979 to pursue my career in nursing. I earned a BSN from University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. I joined the Commissioned Corps and worked for the United States Public Health Service in Indian Health Service and the National Health Service Corps (migrant health) for the next twenty years. During the twenty years, I was blessed with another daughter in 1989 and tried to succeed in a relationship with a different man that ended after 17 difficult years. In 1992 I returned to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to complete the graduate program for my MSN and Family Nurse Practitioner. I retired from my government nursing work in 2003.
I relocated to Ellensburg in 2004. I have worked for Home Health and Hospice, in Geriatrics, for Family Planning of North Central Washington, and I am presently working for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho during the time I have lived in Ellensburg. I am planning to be retired in a few years and enjoy my free time with my family and friends. I have two amazing daughters, two amazing son-in-laws, and 3 beyond words grandchildren. I have 7 quarter horses that I love dearly and 1 border collie that is 4 years old. My life has not always been easy but has certainly been so worth every minute of it.

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How did I get here?

BY CATHY BARKER
@ VOL 9 ON MAR 31, 2017

Planned Parenthood practitioner Cathy Baker shares her path, both genealogical and physical from the Midwest to the Northwest struggling as a single mom.

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PAST VOL 9

Ellensburg @ Gallery One Visual Arts Center
Mar 31, 2017