Angelita Rodgers likes the concept of home. It possibly explains her attraction to Regional One Health. She finds a real connection with her co-workers, and meaning in her work at Regional One Health.
Rodgers moved around a bit as a child, but she points to Cleveland, Mississippi, as her hometown. It’s where her grandmother lived, and it’s a place she spent her teenage years. It’s also where her nursing career began, working in the small rural hospital in the community.
When she moved to the Memphis area she found some similarities between Regional One Health and her hometown hospital. She knew she found her home.
“When I came here it felt so much like my home hospital,” she said. “I fell in love. In the ER it’s so family oriented. It felt like the right place to be.”
Rodgers has been a nurse at Regional One Health since February 2015. She started as a medical-surgical nurse and quickly moved up the ranks to assistant nurse manager in the Jefferson Emergency Room.
While the Mississippi Delta and Memphis are different in size, Rodgers said much of her work in Cleveland prepared her for the fast pace of Regional One Health, particularly the rural hospital setting there. With fewer disciplines than what exists at a teaching hospital like Regional One Health it means nurses must work together to provide the best care. That, she said, makes nurses from smaller hospitals or communities great assets for larger facilities.
“Most of the work done in the emergency department is done by nursing staff so you have to be teamwork oriented,” Rodgers said. “You have to know everything because you’re the person doing it. You have multiple patients come in so you’re forced to help each other. I see a lot of similarities in this ER at Regional One Health.”
As an assistant nurse manager she said it’s important to be visible on the floor and work alongside the entire nursing staff.
“My personal purpose is to keep the hospital at a top level so we can best serve our patients while helping us maintain that optimal performance level,” she said. “I want patients to come in and see great things. I believe the ER is a reflection of me so I want to always be positive.”
Rodgers didn’t start out with a plan to pursue a nursing career. In fact, her eyes were set on architecture from a young age. And in some ways, she uses a mind for design in her career as a nurse at Regional One Health as she keeps her eye on how best to keep things in order. Rodgers even initially went to Mississippi State University to study architecture, and later worked in a design capacity in the construction industry in California.
She credits her grandmother for the eventual career switch to nursing. After some time in Southern California, she returned home to the Mississippi Delta. Her grandmother pushed her toward a nursing career. Rodgers said she grew tired of design work and took a job as a pharmacy tech.
She eventually took her grandmother’s advice and attended nursing school. She fell in love with the profession, and today uses what she feels is a compassion for people gained in part because of a childhood of moving around.
“I met people from different places and it helped me have an open mind and develop compassion for all people,” she said. “I’m sometimes like an overprotective momma with our patients. I want to give them excellent care. Even though I’m not from this community I know they need people like myself willing to go the extra mile. I want to make an impact and pass down to newer nurses the desire to make the same impact with our patients.”