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Jackie Roles (right) with daughter Tarsha Trent at the 2018 Employee Appreciation Dinner

Jackie Roles, a unit associate in emergency nursing, followed in her mother’s footsteps by working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 2018, Jackie celebrated her 30-year work anniversary alongside her daughter, endoscopy tech Tarsha Trent, who has worked at Johns Hopkins for 20 years.

Listen to Jackie and Tarsha discuss what it’s like to celebrate their anniversaries together: 

 

Tarsha: It seems like our whole family has worked here at one point. When I was growing up, I didn’t think I was going to work here because so much of the family worked here. I said, “I’m not going to work at Johns Hopkins.” But then I said, “I want to know, I want to grow.” For me, it doesn’t feel like it’s been 20 years.

Jackie: Having family work here: I like it. We all get to grow with each other, experience what’s going on in here. When we talk to each other, we find out that we know the same people. She may have a patient that I know from downstairs. They say, “Oh, that’s your mother? That’s your daughter?” It makes you feel proud.

Tarsha: I take care of someone like I want someone to take care of my mother or one of my children. I’m an endoscopy tech, but I provide love. People hear “endoscopy” and they think of having a colonoscopy, but we do so much more. People get nervous when it comes to a procedure. It’s part of my job to not just be a tech in the room or put your IV in, but also to comfort you and provide love. That’s what I mean when I say I provide love. I do it because that’s how I was raised, for one. I was instilled to always have manners and treat everyone with respect.

Jackie: I was always curious about what my mom did up here [at The Johns Hopkins Hospital]. For the first 10 months after I came in the door, I worked in housekeeping. I began talking to people, curious to be more hands-on and learn about supplies and equipment. I’m always observing people, watching what they do, curious to see when and how people do things. You’ve got to find what works for you. Everybody can’t work in the ER; everyone can’t work in endoscopy. The ER works for me. I’m a multitasker. I transport, I stock, I set the traumas up, I’m running traumas. In a trauma, I give everyone the supplies they need, I go to the pharmacy, I go to the blood bank. I’m a jack-of-all trades. It comes down to all of us to run the traumas.

Tarsha: I need to get back to that [being a nurse]. I went to nursing school and I just need to finish. I don’t want to go back to just bedside nursing, but I don’t know what floor I’d go to. I could see myself becoming a nurse practitioner.

Jackie: A lot of times, Tarsha is training nurses. Hopkins is all about teaching and learning. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I still can’t learn or teach something. A young person could teach me something – you can’t avoid it. If I’m training you, I’m going to train you the correct way. You may find a shortcut, but train and learn the job first and then you can find a shortcut and do it your way.

Tarsha: By the time we retire, they’re going to remember us.

Jackie: When I retire, I want to travel. I’d love to go to Paris, Europe, Hawaii, Vegas. My dream was always to go to Africa, just to see what really goes on over there, see how they live, see the culture. That’s where I’ve always really wanted to go. But … I don’t like to fly.

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180410 MESUBI rotimi_8457

I was lucky to be born into a family where my parents are science educators. My dad was a college chemistry professor and my mom a high school chemistry teacher who later became a vice principal. Growing up, I remember spending some of my after-school hours with my siblings (two younger brothers and a younger sister) in my Dad’s lab. It was so fascinating to see him and his graduate students conduct their science experiments. I went into medicine because my parents encouraged me to be a physician. But I have always been interested in science and understanding how things work.

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IMG_8030_edI’ve always felt for people who don’t have the means or resources to do things for themselves. I try to give back as much as possible.

For several years following college, I was homeless in Dallas. I lived on a series of couches and my car for the better part of three to four years. I moved to Las Vegas to refocus my life and my direction. You wouldn’t think it’s the place people go to retreat from chaos. Fortunately, I don’t gamble and I had so many skills I could put to good use: hairstyling, makeup artist, being a personal stylist, executive assistant to several models, a professional photographer, writer, graphic designer, the list goes on.

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Jordan Tropf, fourth-year medical student and winner of the 2017 Baltimore Marathon. (Photo by Ian Johnston)

Jordan Tropf, fourth-year medical student and winner of the 2017 Baltimore Marathon. (Photo by Ian Johnston)

Every fall, I pick one or two marathons to run. It’s something I like to do – I like to push myself and see how fast I can go. Running is something I look forward to at the beginning or end of every day and it gives me an opportunity to push myself outside of medical school.

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. I went to the Naval Academy with the goal of heading to medical school. After graduating in 2014, I moved to Baltimore to attend med school at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I consider Baltimore my home. Since it’s my last year in med school, I finally decided to do my “home” race course: the Baltimore Marathon. I usually do the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. around this time.

I started running in high school, when my cross country team won the state championship my senior year. I continued running at the Naval Academy, where I realized the 26.2-mile marathon was a better distance for me. I’ve been running marathons since my sophomore year there.

Training this summer was challenging. I was away for three months for orthopedic sub-internships at the three big Navy hospitals: Portsmouth, San Diego and Walter Reed. I tried to build in a run every day and get out on weekends for longer distances. (I did a lot of running in the dark.) I like discovering new places to run when I’m away.

During the race, I felt good until the second half. I knew what to expect, I knew the hills were coming, but it started to work me a little bit. I’m familiar with Dave Berdan, a previous year’s marathon winner. I knew he was working on running me down, so I just focused on keeping my lead.

After the second half of that course, I was very, very happy to be over the finish line. There was so much support on the course and it was great to see a summer of hard work pay off. It goes down in the books as one of my favorite races, and I can certainly see myself coming back.

After I graduate in May, I’ll hopefully (applications are in!) do my residency either in a military or a civilian orthopaedic surgery program, and then serve time as a Navy doctor. I’m familiar with orthopaedic injuries from years of running, and exposure to orthopaedics in the military and in med school led me to pursue it as my specialty. It's also been great to see the amazing impact that surgeries and rehab have on patients' lives. This especially motivated me to pursue this specialty.

The blue Navy singlet is my race shirt. I wear it to every race I do. Since I ran on the Navy team a few years ago, it’s good to wear my home colors. It's an honor to represent the U.S. Navy. My favorite race of all time is the Marine Corps Marathon, which I have run in the past with the All-Navy marathon team. It’s always fun and it adds an extra level of competition. This year, though, I spectated and cheered on my fiancé, Hannah, as she ran it for the second time.

Eventually I want to hit all six major world marathons. I’ve never done a marathon internationally but want to do the ones in London, Berlin and Tokyo.

The big thing about running is that I do it for fun. My priorities are being a good med student and, in the future, being a great doctor. I definitely intend to continue running and dropping my times, no matter what my future holds.

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Everyday Hopkins David Maestos

I am a nontraditional graduate student. In my case that meant that after completing high school, I did not immediately go to college. For me, it took many years before I could. Our family couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t academically ready, so I began working in entry level jobs in fast food. Eventually I worked my way up the ladder and became manager of a training store, supervising crews of over 40 people at a time. While I wouldn’t say I enjoyed every aspect, I really loved working with my colleagues and training them. The higher I rose in that industry, the more I began to approach a glass ceiling because I lacked a formal education. The next promotion offered was to become a district manager, and this position would include a gigantic workload. Realizing that advancement would lock me into this industry, I did some soul-searching and really looked at my life as a whole. I asked myself, “Before my life ends, what are going to be my contributions to the world?” As a fast-food manager, I realized that I was selling things that were convenient, but typically impacted people's health long-term. I’ve seen people in terrible health, going back and forth to the hospital telling me things like, “The doctor says I really shouldn’t be eating this, but I can’t stop.” To me, it started sounding almost like we were selling a drug, not just convenient food.

I had a personal realization that the fast-food business isn’t helping to improve peoples’ lives; it had the danger of making them worse. In contrast, I wanted to make an impact and make people’s lives better. This desire led me to recognize that I wanted to be in the medical field, but not necessarily as a medical doctor. As a problem solver, biomedical engineering was the best option.

I had a lot of fears and doubts about going to college after working for years in industry. I am a first-generation college student. I enrolled at a community college, did well, and was asked to serve as a tutor for almost every subject they had available. I was thriving and realized once again that teaching and training people is what I love. I might have stopped after completing an associate degree, but my professors urged me to transfer to the University of Arizona. At the time, I honestly thought that was a high, lofty goal, but I took a shot and got accepted to their biomedical engineering program.

Around the same time, I saw on the news that there is a special biomaterial powder you can put on people’s wounds that could literally regrow fingertips. Recognizing how many wounded warriors and other people have lost limbs from disease, I knew regenerative medicine was something that truly resonated with me. The healing of tissues and organs and unlocking the body’s potential to do so became my passion.

I participated in an educational pipeline program at the University of Arizona, which helps underrepresented minority students transition to graduate programs. Although we all had the academic merit to attend graduate school, many of us were clueless on how the process works and how to improve our applications. Although I really resisted it, the program leaders encouraged me to apply for various graduate programs at prominent schools such as Johns Hopkins. I applied to other universities that I thought were a more realistic match and Johns Hopkins was more of a ‘reach’ school. To my shock, Johns Hopkins invited me to come in for interviews and now here I am—a Ph.D. student in the top-ranked graduate biomedical engineering program in the country. I love saying that. It was all thanks to those mentors and coaches who supported and encouraged me to apply in the first place.

What’s a day in the life of a Ph.D. student look like? I’m a second year Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff, director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center (TTEC). I’ll start my day in the lab, try to catch up on emails, make plans for the week in terms of experiments, then go to class. Throughout the day it’s often a choice between homework and research. I almost always pick research. There is always something to be done: from isolating RNA from tissue, to figuring out gene expressions of an animal model to see if a particular wound treatment is causing it to heal or regenerate versus scarring, to characterizing immune system cell populations in specific tissues through flow cytometry. There are multiple meetings depending on the day, but I would say things are split among planning and preparing for experiments and performing them.

Of course, I do spend time outside the lab. Alone or with my fiancé, Ashlie, I love to travel, hike, read, write and find creative solutions to problems. This year I am also one of the co-presidents of the BME Ph.D. Student Council. I am a member of several clubs, and a recruiter and mentor for the new P-TECH program that Johns Hopkins works with at Dunbar High School. I tend to keep myself very busy, but I try to make sure to keep things in a healthy balance. Weekends are the best time for this as Baltimore has so many fun festivals and community events going on.

Looking to the future, I have a sincere interest in being a teacher. I feel that it’s my chance to give back. Perfectly in line with this, I was recently awarded a fellowship through the National Science Foundation’s graduate research fellowship program, which supports providing a broader impact to the communities in which our research occurs. When I work with students who come from the community and our undergraduate programs and they learn fast, that sparks my energy and excitement.

Experiences like this make me want to come to the laboratory and do more. I am currently living my dream: I wake up every morning and I love what I do!

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What brings you joy at work? When asked how they find joy in medicine, employees across Johns Hopkins Medicine shared things like receiving positive notes from coworkers, having a clean work space in the operating room, interacting with patients on a personal level, and more. Share how you find joy in your everyday work.

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At the Johns Hopkins Medicine Town Meeting on June 21, more than half of attendees agreed that having a strong advocate for their career development would be the best way to improve employee engagement and faculty satisfaction. What would help in your department? Cast your vote and leave any other suggestions that you may have.

In your department, what would help improve employee engagement or satisfaction?

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The nursing website, onlyanurse.com, published a list of 10 reasons why nurses rock in honor of National Nurses Week, ranging from the heartfelt—nurses know every day that they will touch a life—to the funny, but more practical—nurses can be relied upon to work the remote control and help close your gown. What do you think makes Johns Hopkins Medicine nurses rock? Share your funny and inspiring reasons to help us compile our own list.

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Employees across Johns Hopkins Medicine are actively engaged in a number of activities that benefit local communities and neighborhoods. Do you mentor or read to school-aged students, participate in neighborhood cleanup efforts, or help the homeless? As we reflect on the one-year anniversary of Freddy Gray’s death and the resulting unrest in Baltimore, share how you have become or continue to be an active volunteer in the community.

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Whether you’re cheering for the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos, or you’re just ready for some good food, entertainment and commercials, what’s the best Super Bowl memory you can recall? Was it when your favorite team clinched the victory, when you got tickets to attend a Super Bowl game, or a funny halftime performance or mishap? Share your thoughts in Hopkins Happenings.

 

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