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A Mother’s Day Story That Hits Close to Home

Posted on May 04, 2022

Tifani and Becky Russell at Johns Hopkins All Children's
Tifani and Becky Russell at Johns Hopkins All Children's

For some, Mother’s Day is celebrated over a long distance with a phone call or a card. For others, it may be remembering a loving mother who has since passed. But for Becky Russell, chief technologist in Radiology, Mother’s Day is almost every day.

That’s because her daughter, Tifani Russell, D.N.P., APRN, NNP-BC, is just a few floors away working in the Center for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s nice to know she’s always here,” says Tifani, reminiscing about the strong mother-daughter bond she and Becky have.  “We’re super close and even share the same birthday!”

“I’m so proud of her,” Becky says, holding back tears. “She has worked so hard to get where she is today. When I go up to the CDH unit to perform ultrasounds on patients, I get to see her in action, and it makes me smile.”

Originally from Ohio, Becky and her husband along with Tifani and her sister, moved to Florida in 2001 to be closer to family that was already living here.

Becky never imagined they would both end up landing jobs at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. But she long wanted to work at All Children’s. In 2006, she got a job in Radiology as an ultrasound technologist.

Tifani’s career path was much different. She was introduced to All Children’s when her first child was born with a cleft lip and palate that required several surgeries and hospitalizations. 

“I knew there was going to be a lot of medical care involved,” she explains. “So, I thought if I become a nurse, I can learn how to take better care of a child with that diagnosis and understand the medical terminology. I was lucky and got into a nursing program right away. My first job here was in 2007 as a patient care technician. I was in school and became an RN while working in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Then, I went back to school again and obtained my doctorate in nursing.”

“I’ve received all my college degrees while working full time and raising three kids. My mom is always there when I need her. She has helped me out a lot. The kids have watched me go through school, and they understand how important it is to have an education.”

When David Kays, M.D., formed the CDH unit in 2016, Tifani knew she wanted to be part of it. That’s where she works today as a nurse practitioner.

“The experiences my child had here as a patient, helps me better understand what parents of hospitalized kids go through,” Tifani says.

By the way, her child is now a healthy engineering student at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida.

“Tifani and I usually run into each other at some point during our workdays. Especially, if she needs lunch money,” Becky says with a grin.

“It’s reassuring knowing she is here,” Tifani says. “If I’m having a difficult day, I can just go downstairs and talk to her.” 

“Some days we even work with the same patients,” Becky says. “Tifani knows the things I need when we go up to the CDH unit to complete an ultrasound, and I can help her make sure the Radiology orders are correct in the computer.”

Even though they spend much of their week at work, Becky and Tifani both agreed that they don’t have a problem going home and turning off work. As a grandmother, Becky enjoys the time away from work when she gets to spend time with Tifani’s kids. “I watch them on the weekends when Tifani is here at work, and we enjoy taking summer vacations together,” she says. “We all get along great.” 

As for Mother’s Day this year, Tifani will be caring for babies in the CDH unit. And what about her kids? Becky will be at home with them. “She wouldn't have it any other way,” Tifani says.


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