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FHSU grad finds her calling





Jennifer Rogers has taken a longer route than some other graduates to get where she always wanted to go.

But she accomplished her goal Saturday when she received her bachelor of science degree in nursing at Fort Hays State University's commencement ceremony.

Rogers has wanted to be a nurse since she graduated from high school in Nebraska, but she just wasn't sure she could draw blood or give shots.

So she dropped out of the program soon after she started and earned her first bachelor's degree at FHSU in 2009 in organizational leadership.

Soon after, she was hired as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood in Hays.

Within a month, the manager left, and Rogers became the manager -- a job she had until August 2011.

"They taught me how to draw blood. (I thought) oh, I can stick people with needles."

After that, it was an easy decision, and a good one, to return to school majoring in nursing.

She's gotten plenty of support from faculty and her parents, Keith and Susan Rogers.

"Planned Parenthood is very controversial," Rogers said. "I didn't know if I would always have a job at Planned Parenthood. It was kind of scary to me, and I loved taking care of people. I loved working with patients."

Earlier this semester, a bout of pneumonia put her on the other side of the bed during an overnight hospital stay.

"You never think it's coming until you're there," she said.

While attending school both times, she's focused her care-giving instincts at Hays Area Children's Center.

As a member of the work study program, her hours varied with her class schedule.

Rogers worked where she's needed, but mostly in the infant room.

"I love it," she said.

Rogers and the other para-educators spend their time caring for as many as nine infants at a time, said Sharon Tallman, a HACC para-educator.

Summer nursing internships kept Rogers busy last summer, but she still subbed at HACC "when I didn't have to be at an internship."

But she doesn't plan a nursing career in pediatrics.

"Giving CPR or trying to save a child's life will be a test for me," Rogers said.

An internship on a medical floor convinced her to start her career there.

Further time spent in the emergency room at Russell Regional Hospital and Wesley Medical Center solidified her plan to work at Wesley.

Her long-term goal is a job in the Wesley ER.

Though she won't have a position until after she passes the exam to become a registered nurse, she's moving to Wichita after graduation to pursue her goals.

"I knew I would always have a job that I could take care of people being a nurse," she said.