A Passion for Helping: How Bobbie Rogers turned personal tragedy into an opportunity to help
At Dean Clinic – West Pediatrics, you don’t have to go far to find someone willing to help. One of the best known “helpers” is Clinic Manager of Pediatrics Bobbie Rogers. She says helping is what keeps her motivated. And it shows.
"Bobbie is my hero," says Bobbie's boss, Clinic Administrator Sandy Cowan.
When asked about what makes Bobbie her hero, Sandy shared it's Bobbie's willingness to help.
Bobbie says the drive and motivation to help others started early in life.
“I always wanted to be a nurse. My aunt was a nurse and I thought she was the coolest person ever,” she says. “From a young age I wanted to be a nurse and never strayed from that.”
Bobbie’s route to the Pediatrics department started in an unusual place – the Dane County Jail. Her very first job was as a jail nurse. While it was fast-paced, exciting and taught her many valuable lessons, Bobbie realized she wanted something different. She took a job as a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital to gain experience and after a year moved to Pediatrics at Dean Clinic.
“My mom was a stay-at-home mom and we had an in-home daycare my entire life. Pediatrics was just a natural place to be when I started looking for something with more stability than the jail environment,” she says.
Her passion for giving kids a healthy start in life inspired Bobbie to start working in the community by making sure all children have access to immunizations.
“Being a pediatric nurse, I became passionate that children are vaccinated,” says Bobbie.
She currently serves as the Treasurer for the Dane County Immunization Coalition, a group that works to improve access and awareness of required and available immunizations.
Another aspect of Bobbie’s work in the community stems from personal tragedy. Bobbie’s brother died from a heroin overdose a year and a half ago.
“My brother’s story is unique in that he wasn’t a stereotype,” says Bobbie. “But, with heroin addicts, there is no stereotype.”
Bobbie says between the time her family discovered her brother’s addiction and the time he died was very short – only two weeks.
“Even though that was a short amount of time, it was too long,” she says. “Now I just really want to find something positive out of that.”
First, Bobbie wanted to make sure local communities have Med Drop boxes – a place where unused prescription medications or illegal drugs can be dropped off for proper disposal with no questions asked. When she discovered her hometown of Mt. Horeb didn't have a box, she worked with Safe Communities to have a box set up. She continues to work with Safe Communities, now focusing more on a newly funded program to help better educate primary care providers on how to talk to patients about their addiction and treatment options.
Bobbie also works with the Parent Addiction Network and local law enforcement agencies as a family advocate.
“I’ve gone out and spoken to different police training classes,” she says. “I discuss with them how important it is to be sensitive when they are on the scene and how to incorporate the family when working through the tragedy of an overdose death.”
When Bobbie isn’t at work or out in the community helping others, she says she likes to cook. And when asked why she chose Dean Clinic as a place to work, she says it just seemed like a good fit.
“We had Dean Health Plan growing up, so I knew it was a good fit and match for my passion of wanting to take really good care of people and help people,” she says. “I don’t know if I would be a good match anywhere else because I feel like this is just where I’m supposed to be.”