Terri Cohn promotes an environment of nonjudgmental care02/21/20 12:34:pm
When Terri Cohn, Rogers’ executive director of nursing, interviews potential nursing candidates, she makes a point of asking a key question: why do they want to work in behavioral health?
"You have a story, I have a story, and each patient has a story,” says Cohn. She explains, “I want the people on this team to never judge how a story is created. It’s not our place to judge, but to instead help an individual change a chapter in their story if they want it.”
Rising up the ranks at Rogers
Terri first learned about Rogers while working at a facility in Chicago that referred patients to residential care in Oconomowoc. A few years ago, while working in the emergency department in Kenosha, a Rogers nurse who Terri was often in contact with about referrals mentioned an open director of nursing position.
As director of nursing in Oconomowoc, Terri oversaw the nursing team at our four levels of care. She was recently promoted to her current role and now has oversight of nursing services related to effective safe patient care throughout the system.
Staying connected with her team and their work
In her current role as executive director, Terri Cohn’s responsibilities often involve the big-picture needs of the system. But even with these high-level responsibilities, she still makes it a priority to stay connected with daily nursing operations.
“I’m very hands-on,” she explains. “I round on the units frequently, especially inpatient because I like to have a pulse for what’s going on—if there are acuity issues or challenging situations with patients. I also have an open-door policy because I want everyone to have open, direct communication with me.”
Inspired by Rogers’ mission
Citing Rogers’ mission, vision and values, Terri says working at a not-for-profit has been an incredibly rewarding experience. “Prior to coming to Rogers, I’d always worked at for-profits. Rogers’ goal of allowing more people to access the care that they need is something I feel really strong about.” She says that future expansions of care throughout the country are exciting for this very reason.
In addition to the benefits of working at a not-for-profit, Terri says the work of the Foundation has also been a difference maker during her time at Rogers, with patient care grants and the Angel Fund allowing for greater follow-through on patient care. When interviewing candidates for nursing positions, Terri often shares a story about the impact the Foundation had on the life of one young patient who was in desperate need of care.
"I tell them about how much this patient was struggling and say, “Look, their family could only afford care for a short period of time. A grant through the Foundation was what allowed us to follow through with care and it allowed the patient to walk out a new person.’”
Getting to know Terri
When it comes to relaxing, Terri knows how to put the pieces together, literally—she loves building LEGO models. “I started doing it when I was getting my master’s in nursing. At the time I was taking classes, doing clinicals, and working full-time. I would take a break to build LEGO models and to this day it helps me destress and disconnect,” she says.
Terri’s passion for LEGO models is well-known by her co-workers, as she has a LEGO rollercoaster, a motorized Ferris wheel, and more set up in her office.
Terri also enjoys traveling and spending time with her spouse and their “fur babies,” Lexi and Sophie.