Son follows mother’s footsteps after impact from maternal nursing program

(KRON) — A local family is giving back and creating a legacy in the healthcare field after having their lives changed through a free program for mothers by the San Francisco Health Department.

“As a young child, I saw nurses in scrubs as heroes, and even now, I view them the same way,” Jenny Lopez, a mother and public health nurse, told KRON4.

Lopez is a San Francisco native and has been a practicing nurse for over a decade. The mother of two says it was a calling to give back and help others.

While pregnant with her second son, Julian, she ended up having him prematurely. Little did she know this was going to change her personal and professional life forever.

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“At that time, I found myself in the most vulnerable part of my life; the social workers and everyone who was supporting me at the hospital realized I could benefit from having a service called field home visiting program where the nurse comes directly into your home. With that guidance, I was able to feel supported,” Lopez said.

The support she received came from a free program for mothers through the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She says the experience helped her navigate having a premature baby and gave her skills she would use later on.

“I was learning different modalities, like how do I keep him healthy? I was also in a grieving state because I had just lost my mom that year. It was a lot on my plate, but I knew with the nurse coming into my home, my sacred space, I could do it,” Lopez said.

Jenny, so inspired by the experience, later became a public health nurse herself, and she didn’t forget the program that poured into her.

“The first job I was hired for was with maternal child adolescent help—the same home visiting program that served me in my most vulnerable time. So, for me, it was such a gift,” Lopez said.

And that little boy, who was once a premature baby in her lap while she studied to become a nurse, is now 22 years old and just finished his first semester in nursing school.

“I take pride in following in her footsteps, and I know that she loves it. It’s a bond that we share,” Julian Lopez, Jenny Lopez’s son, told KRON4.

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