Marietta native Janet Rollor said she knew what she wanted to do and where she wanted to do it by fifth grade. That’s when Rollor spent 10 days at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with some skilled, kind and caring nurses who helped her through a nasty stomach ailment.
“Kennestone has always been very close to my heart,” she said.
Rollor was born at Kennestone and returned for surgeries, the births of her two sons and most of her 40-plus years in nursing.
She graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, spending the first five years of her career at Northside Hospital in adult surgery and newborn nursing. At one point, she said, she had hoped to be a midwife.
Her focus has always been women’s health, working in labor and delivery, women’s surgeries, and the nursery. Since 2019, she has helped new mothers meet their breastfeeding goals.
She said she’s never wanted to be in management, instead finding fulfillment at the patients’ bedsides.
“I want the patients to see that I care and I am competent,” Rollor said. “And I will be there no matter what.”
That’s why Rollor was presented with an AJC Nurse Excellence Award on Friday afternoon, after being nominated last fall. More than 800 nurses were nominated, with 10 receiving the award.
Co-worker and friend Rachel Garner said Rollor is “kindness and compassion in its purest form.”
“The first time, and every time, you meet Janet, she’ll welcome you with a smile full of love like she’s been your best friend forever,” said Garner, who nominated Rollor for her award.
An example of Rollor’s “amazing and compassionate” care, Garner said, was how the nurse went above and beyond for a new mother who had been in a car accident. The woman’s injuries made it impossible to use her breast pump in a sitting position without spilling the milk.
Garner said Rollor, determined to help, took tubing, syringes and other equipment and invented a way to meticulously collect the mother’s milk as it was expressed.
“Janet took it to the next level, as she typically does for her patients,” Garner said. “She understands it’s not just the mother, but also the baby that benefits from her care. Janet elevates treatment of all her patients in this way, but this one was particularly special and amazing.”
Rollor said she has always tried to emulate those Kennestone nurses who treated her back in fifth grade.
“I was so sick, and they were so kind,’ she said. “They didn’t criticize me. They didn’t fuss at me. They just took care of me.”
Added co-worker Garner: “When I am lucky enough to work with Janet, I certainly feel a renewed sense of my purpose at work. If anyone needs inspiration or a reminder of why we do what we do as RNs, just go and talk to Janet for a minute. Instant renewal. Instant feelings of peace. She just might be the cure for RN burnout.”
To read about and watch videos of all honorees, please visit www.ajc.com/pulse/#celebratingnurses.
Rollor and her husband of more than 40 years, Lovis Rollor, have two adult sons, two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren. Asked what motivates her on the job, Rollor said: “I love what I do. I love nursing. I enjoy helping others. When you love what you do, and that’s your passion, your work becomes easier even on difficult days.”
READ ABOUT THE OTHER AWARD RECIPIENTS
Nurse leader Millie Sattler, Emory Healthcare
Terri Holden, Piedmont Cartersville Medical Center
Rita Ford, Northside Hospital Gwinnett
Brandie Christian, Northside Hospital Gwinnett
Kathleen LePain, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center
Lisa Treadwell, Piedmont Eastside Medical Center
Stacey Howard, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston
Kellie Mitchell, Wellstar Paulding Hospital
Mark Lee, Emory University Hospital
Anna Paller, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital