by Vickie Jenkins
What a loving story Carrie Rohr, RN shared. Nursing was actually her second career. She started out with a government job as a Director of Training for the office of Personnel Management where she retired after 30 years. Then, out of the blue, on an ordinary morning, she woke up and said to her husband, “I’m supposed to be a nurse.” Her husband, “What, you’re supposed to be a nurse?” “Yes, I’m supposed to be a nurse.” She immediately called to see what classes she would need to add to her education for nursing school. By the end of the day, she was enrolled in nursing school at OCCC. It was strange; she had never had a desire to be a nurse yet God had a plan for her. It was the fall of 2006 that her new journey began. Attending clinicals by day and classes at night. Rohr graduated in 2009.
Rohr began her nursing career at Mercy hospital where she worked as a circulatory nurse. Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a double mastectomy and 16 rounds of chemo, she returned to work. All of her co-workers were supportive of her. Not long afterwards, another setback. She had developed peripheral neuropathy in her feet and couldn’t stand very well. This is when she began working as a Quality Assurance nurse at a desk job. It was totally different for her. One day, her son came to the office and said, “Mom, I never thought I would see you sitting behind a desk. Didn’t you become a nurse to take care of people?” That was another turning point for her. After going through cancer herself, she wanted to take care of cancer patients, giving back to others. It was 2011 that Rohr began her job as a Cancer Nurse Navigator. She takes care of the patients from the time they are diagnosed through each step along the way.
Asking Rohr what she thinks makes a good nurse, she replied, “ First of all, they have to be a good listener. They have to be a good teacher and they need to have compassion for people. Oh, and they need a sense of humor. Believe me, working in the medical field, a nurse needs a sense of humor,” she answers with a laugh.
“What is the most rewarding thing about working in the medical field?” I ask Rohr. “It has to be when the patients come back to see me and they say they couldn’t have made it without my comfort and support. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they need a good listener and I think that is one of my gifts from God. I am an easy person to talk to plus going through cancer myself, it makes it a special bonding between me and my patient.”
Describing herself in 3 words, Rohr says, “extravert, compassionate and fun-loving.” Those 3 things definitely seemed to fit her personality. Rohr says that her best asset is being a good listener, which fits her job so well. “When the patients come in, they are scared and they don’t know what is going to happen. I am glad that I can comfort them in this trying situation. I plan all of their schedules, check with the doctors, taking care of their treatment plans. I am there for their follow-up consults and let them know that I am available if they need me.”
“Did you ever have a mentor?” I ask Rohr. “Yes, it was my nurse navigator, Sharon Nall, when I was going through my cancer. She was the one that inspired me to apply for my current job. In fact, we became good friends after that,” she adds. Asking Rohr what advice she would give to someone going into the medical field, she replies, “I would tell them to follow their dreams and have passion for their job. Oh, and you can teach an old dog new tricks. Why, look at me,” she laughed.
Rohr likes to spend time with her family and her 2 grandchildren, Alex, 11 and Caitlin, 2. Rohr enjoys traveling, especially on cruises and going to the Thunder games. “We have season tickets,” she added. She also bragged on her husband; her biggest champion, supporter and care giver. “He is my encourager in everything I do. He is so special.”
“I felt God telling me to become a nurse. Why did I? Because He told me to. Now I use my experiences to help others.”