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

By Kristy Bleizeffer May 7, 2019

Monica Rogers, R.N., worked many years as a registered nurse on our Intensive Care Unit, but recently moved to pre-op and Surgical Staging Area. The Casper Star-Tribune selected her as one of Wyoming's Top Nurses for 2019.
Monica always makes sure her patients are taken care of, but she also makes sure her co-workers are taken care of as well. What makes a great nurse is not only herself but the co-workers she surrounds herself with. Monica will cover for others if they need the day off, or simply if they are short staffed she will come in and make sure the patients can get the care they need and deserve. Her compassion for her job, and her coworkers are something not many can do. — Sonya Milburn

Monica Rogers, R.N., decided to be a nurse at 9 years old, and she's never doubted the decision.

Not after back-to-back 12-hour days, injury or patient outcomes that didn't go the way she hoped. 

"I feel like I almost get out of it as much or more as the patients or their families do sometimes. That sounds almost selfish, but nursing is something that I still enjoy. It just helps me be me," Monica said. "I have had so many patients who have no idea how much they have touched me." 

In celebration of National Nurses Week, the Casper Star-Tribune named Rogers one of Wyoming’s Top Nurses as part of its Celebrate Nurses awards. Rogers is one of 10 nurses honored, and one of five from Wyoming Medical Center.

She was nominated by her friend Sonya Milburn, who has seen the sacrifices Rogers makes with her own time and family to care for patients who need a little more. " I remember when a patient wasn't doing great, but (Monica's) concern for that patient made her want to stay late ... to make sure that patient got the care that he/she needed. She didnt have to, but her patients' lives matter," Milburn wrote. The full nomination is attached. 

Rogers worked many years as a registered nurse on our Intensive Care Unit. She recently moved to pre-op and Surgical Staging Area. In the interview below, Rogers explains what good nursing means to her.

When did you leave the ICU?

The end of November.  I had a disc replacement in my neck and, after that, I did some light duty kind of everywhere around the hospital. While I was doing that, a position opened up in the Surgical Staging Area and I decided to take that.

Do you miss the ICU?

I definitely miss it.  There is a lot of intensity there, and it is a lot more of a roller coaster, which is good and bad. I am still trying to fill in there when I can, but pre-op is better for my neck and back. I like being that happy face when patients come in and they are so stressed and nervous for their upcoming surgery.  It has been good and, you know, all my patients talk to me in pre-op.

I also work at Women’s Health Associates for Dr. Vigneri one day a week.

And, why do you do that?

Dr. Vigneri is amazing and, especially when I was in ICU, it was definitely like a nice change of pace. Just a totally different type of nursing in a physician’s office.

It can still be really sad too, but there are also so many happy times there, and it is awesome to be able to share that with so many patients. I usually do heart tones that allow parents or grandparents get to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. They often start tearing up. After  a patient who has lost a baby or has had multiple miscarriages, for them to be able to hear that heart beat and for me to be a part of it, it is pretty awesome.

I think that one awesome part about Wyoming Medical Center is we can do so many different things. We are a regional trauma center and, between ER, to medical, to surgery, to OB, it is awesome to be able to kind of branch out and do different kinds of nursing.

Have you always wanted to be a nurse?

I was actually 9 years old, and I don’t know what made me think of it, but I decided I wanted to be a nurse, and I wanted to be a pediatric nurse, 100 percent. Then I went to nursing school, and in my clinicals I had a really rough time on pediatrics. There were some parental issues that I just knew I could not deal with. I just decided that critical care was going to be my destiny.

What was it about critical care that attracted you?

The intensity, the second-by-second decision making. Your day will be going totally fine and then one thing can send an avalanche of other things at you. I still love it, and I definitely miss it, but after about 12 years, pre-op has been a good change.

What does a pre-op nurse do?

We talk to patients about their surgery and get them ready: start their IVs, sign the consents and make sure every aspect of the surgery is ready before they roll them back to the OR. There is a lot more to getting them ready for surgery than I expected. I like being able to try to ease their mind and be the bright spot of their morning when they are stressed. I try to explain things a little bit better so that they can have a good experience.

I had several patients, especially older ones who do not have a lot of family with them, who just needed someone to spend the time talking through the procedure. Some have gone from rough and gruff to being really thankful for the time. It is very different from critical care but still very rewarding. 

How long have you been at Wyoming Medical Center?

I originally started April 2005 and was here about six years. But I hurt my back and was gone for about a year. I returned in March 2012.

Wyoming Medical Center is my home, and I am definitely proud to work here. The teamwork – from respiratory to labs to pharmacy to nursing in every department – is amazing. Everybody helps everyone out because it is what is best for patients. I have made a lot of true friendships from being here, and I don’t know that you get that everywhere.

Did you know that you had been nominated for an Outstanding Nurse award?

No, not this year. I had a couple of patients nominate me previously, but I didn’t know about this year.

How do you feel that someone took the time to nominate you, and then that you were selected?

Very humbled.  It’s nice to know that the sometimes 12-hour days are appreciated.

I love helping people and I love the happy outcomes obviously, but I also think it’s important to be able to be there and support families who have sad outcomes. I feel like I almost get out of it just as much as or more than the patients or their families do sometimes. That sounds almost selfish, but nursing is something that I enjoy. It just helps me be me. 

What does it take to be a good nurse, in your opinion?

Patience. Compassion. Being able to bring all the medical jargon down to the level of the patients and be able to explain their care to them so they know what to expect. Nurses also have to compartmentalize. You can’t take everything home with you at the end of the day. You have to make sure you are present with your own kids and your family.  

Do you still like being a nurse?

Definitely. Knowing how many lives that I have been able to help, and like I had mentioned before, how I get out of it just as much as they do sometimes.  I mean, I have had so many patients who have no idea how much they have touched me.

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