Knowing that she wanted to be a nurse from a young age, Donna M. Rogers, BSN, RN, earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing and was certified as a registered nurse at Southern Mass University, now the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in 1981. She attributes much of her success to the excellent education she received there and to the teachers who helped her along the way. Following her graduation, she joined Southcoast Health Hospital, where she has spent the last 40 years growing and developing along with her field. She has been additionally certified in advanced cardiac life support and basic life support.
Ms. Rogers’ primary positions at Southcoast Health have been as a resource nurse and a critical care nurse, and she previously served on the hospital group nursing council. As a resource nurse, part of her job is to mentor and train new nurses and she finds it incredibly rewarding to watch them learn, grow in confidence in their skills and care, and move on to higher positions. She has made a name for herself due to the vast amount of knowledge she has gathered for having spent so long in the field and her ability to simplify complex matters into easily understandable lessons. Her other day-to-day duties include patient care, staffing assignments, and bedside nursing in the adult cardiac care progressive care unit, which deals with cardiac heart attacks, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Considering the highlight of her career to be simply how much she has grown as a nurse, Ms. Rogers’ credits said growth for how well she has been able to adapt to the abrupt changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through all the changes she has experienced in her career, she is very proud that she was able to adapt as needed while still helping others and providing great guidance. Furthermore, due to the type of unit she works in repeat patients are fairly common, and it’s always incredibly rewarding to see them improve enough to go home.
Ms. Rogers’ approach to treating patients is to treat every patient as if they were her own family. Getting to know the patient and giving them patience and compassion can go a long way, as she notes that being in a hospital can make patients feel like they’ve lost their dignity. She further emphasizes the importance of taking a step back and remembering that you don’t know everything that is going on in the patient’s life. Learning how to read people’s facial expressions and body language can be vital to figuring out how a patient is feeling and if they are struggling with more turmoil than they are expressing.
With a great love for what she does, Ms. Rogers has no concrete plans for retirement. While she acknowledges it as a possibility, she finds such incredible fulfillment in her work that she doesn’t really want to leave it. As long as she is fit and able, she intends to remain with Southcoast Health and continue helping people. She hopes to leave a legacy as someone who was always there to help, pass on knowledge, and be willing to listen without judging. Ms. Rogers would advise young and aspiring professionals that nursing requires dedicated compassion, caring and a desire to be a caregiver, because people rely on you and, in many cases, are trusting you with their lives.
Ms. Rogers is grateful to the many managers and educators who have guided her throughout her career, but she considers her greatest mentors to be her parents, Richard Russek Sr. and Eileen Furtago, who supported her every decision. Married to her husband, Richard Joseph Rogers, for many happy years, she is proud to have been stepmother to her husband’s three children, Craig, Erica and Todd, through whom she is grandmother to eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In her free time, Ms. Rogers enjoys reading, cooking, baking and family game nights.