Lori O’Shaughnessy: Rockstar Mom, Nurse, Leader, and Woman

Lori O’Shaughnessy

Rockstar Mom, Nurse, Leader, and Woman

Story By Shannon Perkins

Photo by Sergio Manodori

Born and raised in Eureka, Lori is a true Humboldt power-woman.  She inspires women to achieve goals by nurturing their natural strengths.  While preparing a Sunday roast on a sunny afternoon, Lori told her story of focused effort and the success that followed.  She earned two degrees from Humboldt State University in 2001 and secured a reputable job in the ER.  While supporting her family as a single mother, she bought her own home in 2007.  Her advice: “The best things in life are those in which one must work the hardest for.”


As a child, she showed early signs of a future nursing career, setting up little “M.A.S.H.” units and reviving bugs in the backyard.  Before becoming a nurse, however, Lori became a mom – a rockstar mom. She always put family first, and raised her three children to be independent in school.  From experience, Lori notes that stay-at-home moms and homemakers work really hard at more-than-full-time jobs. After fifteen years as a full-time home-maker and mother, Lori conquered another area of education and career interest.  Earning a double major from HSU, B.S. in Nursing and B.S. in Psychology, Lori went on to become the first person in Mad River Hospital history to be hired into the emergency department straight from school.  The interviewing officials were impressed with her focus and determination, so they took a chance.


She knew what she wanted.  She said, “Put me in the intensive care unit, my goal will always be the emergency department.  Put me in OB-GYN, my goal will always be the emergency department.  But if you put me in the emergency department, I’m there to stay.”


And she’s been there ever since.  It takes a certain type of strength to work in a hospital ER.  Because she was breaking records as the “newbie” fresh from school, Lori had to overcome the unspoken opposition, and “prove” herself to the staff of veteran nurses.  And she did.


“Through trial by fire,” Lori said, “I worked alongside these amazing nurses.  I was determined and they recognized that my personality was a fit for the ER.”  Quickly, her affinity as an emergency room nurse became clear, and within her first year at Mad River, she was selected MICN (Mobile Intensive Care Nurse) of the Year (2002).  After two years at Mad River, she was hired to the Emergency Department at St. Joseph Hospital and is the current Clinical Coordinator of Emergency Services.  For the future, Lori plans to finish her Master’s degree in Leadership and Management and continue her work in the Emergency Department.  Her years as a stay-at-home-mother provided a solid foundation for leading others to success through nurturing attitudes.


“Every woman can be independent, and stand on her own feet,” Lori says.  Too many women settle for less than what they really want.  Nurturing and independent women, giving themselves permission to be happy as stay-at-home mothers, full-time students, nurses, leaders, and all other types of rockstars – that is a good thing.


Emerald contributor since September 2016


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