Paper names Chris Rogers, R.N., one of Wyoming’s Top Nurses

By Kristy Bleizeffer May 7, 2019

Chris Rogers, R.N., is a nurse on our Medical Unit. The Casper Star-Tribune selected her as one of Wyoming's Top Nurses for 2019.
Chris is one of those people you are honored and thankful to have cross your path in life. She has great rapport with her patients, coworkers, doctors, housekeepers, even the the operators for the hospital on a personal level. She connects well with her patients, really taking time to understand them and what is important to them during a very stressful and vulnerable time in their lives. — Megan Jennings, R.N.

Whenever Megan Jennings, R.N., takes over a patient for Chris Rogers, R.N., Chris knows what the patient does for a living, how many pets they have and who their family members are. She brings in birthday cards and cakes for patients who must spend their day in the hospital and buys clothes for patients who will be in the hospital for an extended period to make their stay more comfortable.

"She loves getting to know people and radiates kindness," Jennings wrote of her co-worker in nominating Chris for the Casper Star-Tribune's Top Nurses award.

"We can't count how many times she has taken patients' dirty clothes they came in with home, washed them and brought them back the next day so they could have clean clothes when they return home. She even recently gave a patient a ride home to Douglas who couldn't find a ride! ... When you work with Chris you know it's going to be a great day. She has a great can do attitude and treats everyone with compassion. She often mentors new RNs and students and never makes anyone feel small or like they don't know anything."

Chris is one of 10 nurses honored in the newspaper's nurse awards, and one of five from Wyoming Medical Center. In celebration of National Nurses Week, we’ll share our interview with each of WMC’s winners each day this week.

Chris earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Wyoming, and she is a nurse on our Medical Unit. The former oil-field geologist explains why she decided change careers in the interview below.

How long have you been a nurse?

Let’s see: 2006 to 2019, so 13 years.

And how many years at Wyoming Medical Center?

I believe it was 2003 when I started, so that would be 15.

I started on the medical floor, where I am now, as a CNA. I went back to school later in life, and I was the oldest one in my class. I earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wyoming.

Oh really?  What was that like?

It was hard work.

But, I had been a CNA in high school and post high school and then I got a little side tracked, so I didn’t go to nursing school then. But it is something that has always been in the back of my mind.

Why do you think that is?  What is it about nursing that made you think you’d want to go back to school for it?

Well, I had two aunts who were nurses and they are both aunts that I was really close to and admired, so I think it is from day one that I wanted to be a nurse. 

But I went and got my bachelor’s degree in geology instead.

That is interesting.  What did you do with that?

Well that is how I ended up in Wyoming.  I moved to Denver in 1984 and was there looking for a job from June to New Year’s 1985. When I didn’t find a job, I was ready to go back to Minnesota. Then an oil reporting company called me to work in Casper, so I came here and did that for two years. 

Then, being the oil business, they laid me off.  So, I purchased my own oil business  copying well data for oil companies and geologists, engineers and attorneys. 

What made you stay in Casper after you were laid off?

I just liked it here.  I am very active physically.  I like to hike and ski and do all those things.  So that is what kept me here.

When did you decide to go back into health care?

I sold the business in 2000, and then I worked for a land company for about a year, going around the state copying land records. I was just at a crossroads, I guess.  I thought, “Well nursing is what you always wanted to do, go for it.” 

I wanted to help people.  I just like that feeling of making a difference in somebody’s life. 

Have you always worked on the medical floor at WMC, or have you moved around?

No, I spent two years at Elkhorn and a year in the GI lab (gastrointestinal lab). When I left Elkhorn, I returned to WMC to work in the float pool. And then I came to the medical floor.  

What do you like about working on the Medical unit?

We get a variety of patients and cases, and I work for a great manager, Linda Johnson. My coworkers are excellent. We work very well together.

How did it feel to learn that someone took the time to nominate you for this community award?

Well, kind of nervous because, you know, I just kind of like to work under the radar and not garner attention.

But I also feel very proud that somebody thinks I am worthy of that.  That is awesome. 

And what do you think about working at Wyoming Medical Center, taking care of patients from all over the state?  

I have always wanted to work here.  I think that was in the back of my mind since I moved here, and I used to drive by the hospital before I was a nurse and think I really would like to work there. And then I was a patient here for about a week, before I was a nurse, and I wanted to know more about what was going on with my own body and my care.

With Wyoming being so rural and spread out, there is a challenge when patients come from far away. You want to make sure their family is taken care of and have a place to stay. They are usually kind of nervous because they did come from out of town.  A lot of people are familiar with Casper, but a lot of people aren’t. It is nice to be able to be supportive and take the fear out of some of their care.

I think the other thing I really like are our physicians. I feel like there is a real collaboration there. 

Do you think it is a special kind of calling to be a nurse?

I think so.  Some people who go into nursing find that they really aren’t made for bedside nursing, so they go to work in clinics or another nursing specialty. I like bedside nursing because you get such a variety of patients and you get to work with a lot of different doctors. I like the fact that there are so many medical specialties here that if I have a question about a patient, there is someone who can answer it.  

Anything else you’d like to add?

I just really couldn’t do my job without our CNAs and our other nurses.  I mean, they are so important and there is always somebody you can ask if you don’t know the answer to the question.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WMC NOMINEES

In all, 31 nurses from Wyoming Medical Center were nominated by their peers and/or patients for the Casper Star-Tribune’s Wyoming’s Top Nurses 2019. Congratulations to all of them!

Brenda Jennings, R.N., Surgical Staging Area; Chantel Thomas, R.N., East Campus Surgical Unit manager; Bonnie Norris, R.N., Surgical Unit; Kristl James, R.N., Medical Unit; Stephanie Lovelett, R.N., Surgical Unit; Katelyn Goff, R.N.; Emergency Department; Sarah Peak, R.N., Advantage Orthopedics and Neurosurgery; Jennifer Gallagher, R.N., Mother & Baby; Connie Coleman, R.N., Chief Nursing Officer; Amy Vincent, R.N., Neuro Unit; Nicole Porter, R.N., Neuro Unit; Melissa King, R.N., Intensive Care Unit; Kerry Moyd, R.N., Emergency Department; Lorri Harford, R.N., Intensive Care Unit; Corrine Arross, R.N., Emergency Department manager; Monica Rogers, R.N., Surgical Staging Area/Intensive Care Unit; Ginger Sims, R.N., Progressive Care Unit; Amber Kidd, R.N., Mother & Baby; Christine Rogers, R.N., Medical Unit; Abby Redden, R.N., Mother & Baby; Becky Fleming, R.N., Trauma Data Analyst; Lathyn Garcia, R.N., Mother & Baby; Sukhy Kaur, R.N., Surgical Unit; Chyanna Esau, R.N., Surgical Unit; Jenea Goddard, R.N., Intensive Care Unit manager; Jennifer Kuras, R.N., Mother & Baby; Sausha Hernandez, R.N., Case Management; Holly Sasser, R.N., Progressive Care Unit; Colin Gransbery, R.N., Cardiac Cath Lab; Tamara Thomson, R.N., Neuro Unit manager; and Kristin Olsen, R.N.; Intensive Care Unit