Healthcare Heroes 2013: Donna Rugh, RN-BC

Palliative Care Nurse Fellow, Bryn Mawr Hospital

Photo by Jared CastaldiFor Donna Rugh, the true heroes are the patients she treats as a pain-management nurse. Then there’s Rugh herself. When she isn’t administrating reform in her department, coordinating the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses program at Bryn Mawr Hospital or providing medical care to the poor, Rugh is raising five children ages 2-12, all while working weekends at the hospital.

During the week, Rugh is home coordinating her kids’ cyber-school education. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., she’s taking her own online classes through Drexel University, working toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Next month, she’ll take the exam for her hospice and palliative-care nurse certification.

Rugh has had a long educational journey. She started nursing school at Delaware County Community College in 2003, when her second child was just a few weeks old.

Rugh’s husband, a union carpenter, has traveled the path with his wife, caring for their kids on nights and weekends. “It’s not hard,” Rugh insists. “What my patients go through is hard. Me? I have great kids, a great husband and a great job. My goal is to earn my doctorate in nursing. It may take me 10 years to do that, but I’ll get there.”

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