“Patients love that my sister Annie and I are twins, said Jane Rodgers, “and they seem fascinated to see us working together at the hospital."
The togetherness that began in utero for the Rodgers twins has continued through their college and career choices, shaping the journey from their home in Loveland, Colorado, to Omaha, Nebraska.
Together, the twins earned liberal arts degrees at Hastings College. Now they work together as certified nursing assistants at Methodist Hospital, and they are classmates in the BSN program at Nebraska Methodist College.
“Nursing runs in our blood,” Jane said.
The twins say they are proud to follow in family members’ footsteps. Their older sister, Betsy is a nurse. Aunts on both sides of the family are nurses. Their grandmother, Kathryn Pfeiffer, was an OB nurse for 45 years before retiring.
From left in photo below: Kathryn with granddaughters Betsy, Jane, and Annie.
“Grandma loved nursing,” Jane said. “She says she’d go back in a heartbeat if they’d let her.”
In photo below, Jane and Annie are babies in their grandmother's arms. To tell the twins apart, their parents added bracelets or painted the girls' toenails different colors. Janie says, "We dressed 100% alike until seventh grade."
Kathryn, who turned 90 last year, still volunteers at her local hospital.
“As a nurse, that caring is instilled in you,” Jane said. “It’s always there.”
Yet the twins say it was only after they took a firsthand look at what nurses do that they chose nursing.
“We both knew we wanted to work in healthcare, for sure,” Annie said. “But at first I thought I might be a pediatrician.”
The twins were volunteering and job shadowing at a Colorado hospital when they made up their minds.
“We watched doctors get in and out of the patients’ rooms in 5 minutes, and then we watched what nurses do for patients.” Jane said, “We both knew it had to be nursing.”
“Nursing is all about the interaction with patients and what can make that better,” Annie said. “It’s such a good and rewarding field.”
“We get to hear patients’ stories and see them through the progression of care,” Jane said. “I can be that smiling person holding their hands, explaining what the doctor said and helping them through what might be the worst time in their life.”
With the decision made to choose nursing, the twins chose their nursing school—together.
“We looked at a lot of different nursing schools,” Jane said, “and we listened to other students and faculty in Colorado and Nebraska. A lot of them recommend Nebraska Methodist College.”
The NMC Difference
“We found the right fit here,” Annie said. “It’s hard to explain the difference, but it’s just wonderful.”
“There is something special about the faculty and how they interact with patients,” Jane said. “You see what they do during clinicals and grab onto that.”
“And they’re so accessible. You can text or call faculty. Their office doors are always open, even if you just need somebody to talk to,” Annie said. “They really care about you, your education and your success.”
Another big difference, the twins say, is NMC’s emphasis on becoming an educated citizen and the integration of community service into the curriculum.
“Each semester, we’re out in the community because everyone needs care—both inside and outside of hospitals,” Jane said. “We might be doing blood pressures, working in a food pantry, or helping on the Mobile Diabetes Center.”
“We get to see the different sides of nursing,” Annie said.
“The entire program makes you more well-rounded, a better critical thinker, a better person, and a better nurse,” Jane said.
“It’s true. You can 100 percent tell if someone is a Nebraska Methodist grad,” Annie said. “There’s that extra touch of care.”
The family of the late Leona Anderson, who is shown above with Annie and Jane, say they are forever grateful for the special care and attention the twins provided.
"The Rodgers twins were such a comfort to Mom and to us," said Leona's daughter. "They could read her mood and adjust their care not just to meet her needs but to brighten the day for all of us. As nursing students and as CNAs, Jane and Annie go the extra distance every day, and they will be exceptional nurses."
“Annie and Jane are going into nursing for the right reasons, and they work hard to do their very best the first time," said Kate Malmberg, MSN, RN, an assistant professor and one of the twins’ clinical instructors. “They are compassionate individuals who truly care, and I look forward to working with them as RNs.”