Akron Children’s has been blessed to have many nurses throughout its 131-year history who have left an indelible imprint and helped the hospital’s nursing program evolve through their leadership and accomplishments. Janet Rogers, director of nursing, critical care, emergency department, behavioral health and transitional care, and Nancy Mosca, director of nursing professional practice, are two of those nurses and they will be missed when they retire this summer. Below, they reflect on their career highlights and why Akron Children’s will always hold a special place in their hearts.
Janet joined Akron Children’s in 2012 after what she calls a serendipitous meeting at an American College of Healthcare Executives event.
“I was networking when Grace Wakulchik (then COO) introduced me to Lisa Aurilio (then CNO) who was seeking to fill a director position at the time,” she said. “I interviewed and started the following week jumping right into the Kay Jewelers Pavilion ED build project. I believe my previous experience with 2 other ED builds may have helped land me the offer.”
Ironically, Nancy, who was ready for a career change after working as a nursing professor at Youngstown State University for 30 years, joined the hospital that very same year as director over the Center of Nursing Professional Practice.
Three years after joining Akron Children’s, two of Nancy’s biggest contributions to the hospital occurred—the creation of both the nurse residency program and the nursing workforce diversity ASCEND program. Since 2015, almost 600 new nurses have been enrolled in the nurse residency program designed to support them as they transition from student to professional nurse.
“Last month the nurse residency program received national accreditation with distinction from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Practice Transition Accreditation Program (PTAP), the program’s second accreditation,” said Nancy.
The creation of the ASCEND program (Assuring Success with a Commitment to Enhance Nurse Diversity) has helped ensure Akron Children’s nursing workforce reflects the same diversity as the patients we serve.
“By inviting nurses to join us for a summer internship between their junior and senior years in college, our hope is that it will be a good fit, and they will join our nursing staff upon graduation,” Nancy said.
Janet also made an impact very early in her tenure at Akron Children’s through the expansion of the ECMO program in the PICU.
“I established the ECMO coordinator role which set the stage for the program’s development and the recruitment of a medical director,” she said. “The PICU has successfully cared for several patients who likely would have been transferred to another facility for this level of care.”
Janet’s impact on the emergency departments at Akron Children’s includes introducing both the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and equipment technician roles.
“The equipment techs ensure our physicians and nurses have the tools they require for patient care at the location needed and that the department environment is neat and inviting to our customers,” she said. “And the CNS role has been an integral part of our nursing practice in both ED locations.”
In Nancy’s opinion, the most notable change during her time at Akron Children’s is its exponential growth—and she doesn’t just mean the organization’s bricks and mortar footprint.
“The number of nurses we employ has grown significantly. Since my team is immersed in programs to on-board new nurses, and keep our current nursing staff competent, our work has also grown,” she said. “Our work around maintaining Magnet designation, where nursing leaders successfully align their nursing strategic goals to improve the organization’s patient outcomes, makes me proud.”
Janet’s nursing knowledge has stretched outside Akron Children’s walls and allowed her to make an international impact on nursing care through her work with Dr. Jeff Kempf, (retired emergency department physician and former director of the hospital’s global health program).
“In 2017, Dr. Kempf asked me to mentor Edna Benjamin, chief nursing officer at St. Damien Children’s Hospital in Haiti,” she said. “It was such an incredible opportunity to learn about nursing at St. Damien, and the challenges and similarities to the care we have here. I have traveled to Haiti as a part of the international group providing cardiac surgery and intensive care to the children post-op and I have seen just how universal nursing truly is.”
Nancy says what she will miss most about Akron Children’s is same thing that gave her the most satisfaction in her work.
“I will miss helping nurses be all they can be through opportunities to counsel them on their career choices and plans,” she said. “So many of our nurses are driven to excellence and self-improvement in their careers and life choices.”
Janet will also miss her role working with a team of great people.
“I have been blessed during my tenure to work with a group of dedicated leaders who I feel I have been able to contribute to their growth,” she said. “Although my team is very diverse (critical care, EDs, behavioral health and transitional care), they have come together to support each other in their work and as a cohesive team.”
Both women say staying involved in nursing in some capacity is in their “retirement” plans.
“Retiring from nursing after 49 years has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” said Janet. “I will continue to contribute to this profession in a different way and on a part time basis.”
“I’m looking forward to the control I will have to choose my projects, my continued involvement in nursing, my community and my calendar,” said Nancy. “I hope to be able to just do a lot of what I love to do, with people I love and care about.”
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