Greencastle mom takes care of her family and patients, too

Summit Health
Kayla Burcker, a certified registered nurse practitioner, on the job as a hospitalist.

A lot of moms play the juggling act of trying to do it all, stretching themselves thin and trying to be “on” constantly for their children, partners, careers and other pursuits.

Kayla Burcker, a lifelong Greencastle resident and certified registered nurse practitioner, is not immune to this pressure many women feel. By day, she’s a stay-at-home mom to a 6-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter and 15-month-old son. By night, she’s pulling a 12-hour shift as a hospitalist at Waynesboro or Chambersburg hospital.

Burcker admits that when looking back at the preceding week’s schedule even she sometimes wonders how she does it.

“This sounds cheesy, but happiness is how I do it,” she said. “I am living the ordinary dream; I have a roof over my head, lots of people near me to love and a job where, during every shift, I have a distinct moment in the chaos where I know this moment is what made coming to work that night worth it.”

She also acknowledges the support she’s given by her husband and parents so she can find meaning as both a parent and professional.

“I have never felt more fulfilled in my employment as I have in this role,” Burcker said. “What I enjoy the most about my role is helping people make difficult decisions, and walking them through overwhelming situations.”

She said she takes pride in stabilizing an extremely sick patient and helping the family understand what is going on. While she always hopes for her patients to improve, Burcker knows outcomes can’t always be positive.

“I also enjoy helping families come to terms with end-of-life issues,” she said. “I like making sure the patient is at the center of decisions and giving families the best experience possible in times of heartbreak.”

A Day in The Life

Burcker said it takes help from her husband and parents, caffeine, exercise and the occasional pizza binge to maintain her daily schedule, which is listed below.

  • Arrive home/Children wake up

“A day starts at our house around 5:30 a.m. Usually, all three kids wake up within 15 minutes of each other. Then, the games begin.”

  • Catch the bus/Baby’s nap/Exercise

“The night-partying baby needs a nap. Once the baby is asleep, I head to the basement for a 30-minute workout and, hopefully, a shower while my 3-year-old rides her bouncy horse beside the treadmill.”

  • Clean/Lunch

“I frantically clean my house at every opportunity, which is usually a lost cause, but I try. My husband works nearby and usually comes home for lunch so, we attempt to share a family meal. Attempt being the key word.”

  • Nap

“I take the kids to my parents’ house for a few hours so I can get a nap. My parents and husband get my oldest off the bus and my husband brings all three kids back home. I am awakened like a bucket of ice water dumped over my head.”

  • Dinner/Baths

“Some nights, it’s a home-cooked meal that I planned and some nights it is my husband and me reaching in the depths of the freezer for whatever the kids will eat. Eating together is a priority. We tag-team baths. Then, it’s time for me to leave for night shift.”

  • Work

“I usually get paged to admit a patient on my way to work or as soon as I get there. Then, it’s 12 hours of caring for this community’s patients.”

  • Repeat

“I’m greeted by three shouting and climbing children and repeat the first several steps. If I have to go back to work, I will take the kids to my parents’ around late morning, but if it’s my day off, I usually stay awake as to not miss time with my kids.”

Masquerade for Maddie and Emma 

Although Burcker’s schedule is already filled, she recently added one more item to the list: planning and hosting a fundraiser for two local girls who are fighting cancer.

“I have always had a soft heart for people in need,” she explained.

She said her parents were examples for helping others as foster parents.

“I learned what abuse and suffering were from an early age and have always wanted to help people.”

A few years ago, Burcker became involved with helping organize fundraisers for Weston Rock, a 1-year-old Greencastle boy who had been diagnosed and eventually lost his fight with cancer.

“Soon after his passing, his mother and some mutual friends and I vowed that we would keep the spirit of giving in Franklin County to honor his memory.”

When Burcker found out earlier this year her young neighbor, Emma Strait, 13, of Greencastle, was battling leukemia and a “friend of a friend’s” daughter, Maddie Yohe, 9, of Waynesboro, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer, she knew it was time to help again.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Masquerade for Maddie and Emma will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, at Green Grove Gardens. The event is being organized by Wishes for Weston.

It will include hors d'oeuvre, desserts, drinks, professional photos, airbrushing tattoos, theme makeup, silent auction, raffles and contests. AJ Silver from WAYZ will be the disc jockey.

Tickets for the event, open to people 21 and older, cost $40 and all proceeds will benefit the families of Maddie and Emma. For full details, visit the event’s Facebook page.