Meet Our October Nurse of the Month: Bonita Rowe

Meet our October Nurse of the Month: Bonita Rowe, who you may know as The Pioneer of Rosebud!

Bonita, what inspired you to become a nurse?

As a little kid growing up, I always wanted to play Doctor and Nurse. One day my grandpa was resting on the couch, where I played “practice nurse.” So as he was sleeping, I gave him a shot with one of Mom’s sewing pins and he woke up suddenly and said, “I’m cured!”

I got married at 16 and had kids at 18 and 20, with another one at 27. So I never went to school. But then our oldest daughter was going to graduate high school and she leaned toward nursing. So I decided to start nursing school when she did, did my pre req, and graduated when she did – then got my Bachelor’s degree.

Were you always interested in emergency nursing?

I actually started nursing at a small local hospital with 25 beds. They had medsurg, OR, OB, and ER, so I got really well rounded in a whole nursing aspect of care. After that, I worked at a mental health facility for 2 years. It was a great experience because I learned a different side of nursing.

Then I was traveling with a company and going to different hospitals in the area. I got connected to Rosebud and I’ve been in the ER ever since. I love it. I couldn’t go back – it’s in your blood, I guess.

How did you get started with Tribal Health?

I was at Rosebud working for the previous contract company when Tribal Health arrived in 2017. I met with John and Morgan and the rest is history. I started in Rosebud in 2016, which is why they call me The Pioneer of Rosebud.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Well, it’s like family. I know everyone. Everyone’s there with open arms and they’re really good to me.

And they have a lot of need for healthcare. There are so many illnesses that require higher care than what we can offer – and the fact that we can stabilize patients and get them out to higher care facilities is a great feeling. Then you see those patients back in the community and it’s gratifying to know you’ve helped that person get back to their home.

What advice would you share with a new nurse?

There can be such miscommunication. Take time with each person and understand their needs. Allow them to express themselves. Don’t pass judgement or think they come there too many times. Obviously there’s a reason.

And don’t be afraid to be a patient advocate. You have to stand up for them. And they will appreciate that.

When you’re not on the clock, what do you like to do?

My family is huge to me. We do a lot of family things, summer and winter, and we do a lot of traveling.

 What would surprise people about you if they knew?

I have 3 children. Two are in family practice; one has a doctorate in mental health. It’s always surprising to people when they find out I have a daughter or son working in the ER with them. They’ll say, “No, those aren’t your kids!” Yep – I’m Mom.

My daughter-in-law started after I did with Tribal Health. We worked side by side every shift and it’s never been a conflict.

Thank you, Bonita!

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