Thrive by IU Health

November 29, 2018

From Cake Decorator To Clinical Nurse specialist, Her Focus Is always On The Heart

IU Health Methodist Hospital

From Cake Decorator To Clinical Nurse specialist, Her Focus Is always On The Heart

Methodist nurse is retiring after 26 years spent working with heart patients.

Linda Rohyans has a heart for people and a heart for service. Is it any wonder then that the longtime nurse followed her heart into the field of cardiac care?

For more than a quarter century, she has cared for patients, working as a bedside nurse in IU Health University Hospital’s cardiac transplant unit, as a clinical research nurse in a study of heart-failure patients, as a heart coach at IU Health Methodist and as a clinical nurse specialist with clinical informatics at Methodist, specializing in heart care, of course.

But way before she found her passion for nursing, she thought life was leading her down a different path. Many paths, actually. First it was working in the radio control tower at Indianapolis International Airport when her mother was a pilot. It was a fascinating job but very stressful, she said.

Next, she worked as a deli manager at Kroger, which then led to an interest in professional cake decorating. “I lived for cakes.”

But that job, too, had its stressors. Everything had to be perfect for the client’s big day, and weekends were consumed by weddings. Rohyans even made her own wedding cake. She wouldn’t give up cake decorating, but she decided to branch out.

The medical field came calling next. She worked as a graphic designer in the medical illustration department at what was formerly known as the IU Medical Center. That led to a friendship with renowned cardiologist Dr. Jacqueline O’Donnell, who inspired Rohyans to think bigger.

“I worked for her as an administrative assistant and fell in love with the way she treated her patients,” Rohyans said. “I saw her caring attitude and just how smart she was about everything.”

She was the one who told Rohyans she needed to be a nurse. But by that time, Rohyans was 40. “I wondered am I too old? Am I smart enough?”

Fast forward 26 years and Rohyans has the answers to both of those questions. After earning her bachelor’s in nursing, she later went back to school again to get her master’s as a clinical nurse specialist.

Her work as a coach with heart failure patients at Methodist opened up a new world for her.

“That was my passion, sitting and talking with the patients. It was so wonderful, even the ones who were ornery and stubborn. It was all in how you presented it.”

The key, she said, was helping the patients identify why they needed to make changes to live better, longer lives. And it’s not because a nurse or physician is telling them to do it.

“That was a hard pill for me to swallow. You want them to do it because it’s what they need to do, but it’s not about you. It was just miraculous to see, once it became about their goals.”

It was the most important lesson she learned in her nursing career. “Put the patient in charge and then give them the resources they need to get there.”

Rohyans would go on to become an expert in matters of the heart. Professionally, she is a member of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and has chaired the group’s publications committee. She also served on the editorial board of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Journal, for which she has written numerous articles.

Personally, she and her husband, Tom, have two children and three grandchildren whom they love to spoil.

Rohyans has spent the past four years working on the clinical informatics team at Methodist, which is where she met longtime nurse Susie Crichlow.

“When Linda came to the Clinical IS team, she had limited Cerner experience,” Crichlow said. (Cerner is the hospital’s electronic medical records system.)

But what she did have was more important.

“She was asked to join the team because of her strong cardiology background and the intangible qualities that define her,” Crichlow said. “A desire to learn, kindness, compassion, gentleness and a broad accumulation of life experiences outside of computers and nursing.”

In 2016, she received the Red Shoes Award from Riley Hospital for Children, which recognizes those in the hospital system who go above and beyond to care for patients and their families.

Her nominator was none other than the manager of the Red Shoes Program.

“I know that it is unlikely for someone on the Cerner team to receive a Red Shoes nomination because the staff does not interact with patients and families,” wrote Susan Henderson-Sears. “However, I felt Linda needed to be recognized. Despite a wide array of challenges trying to access and work in Cerner, Linda was a master communicator and committed to finding the best solution for us to serve families. She is a wonderful collaborator, and we have felt like she has been part of our team during this journey.”

Over the years, Rohyans has followed many career paths, always with the faith that they will lead her to where she is supposed to be.

And now she’s at a different crossroads. She is retiring Dec. 31, a fact that both thrills her and leaves her feeling a bit unmoored.

“I am a nurse. If I’m not doing that, who am I?” She wrestled with that question of identity before coming to terms with the bigger picture.

“I have a very strong faith, and I know God has led me down this road and that road, and they meet up here. But I am more than a nurse. This is a starting point to build future memories.”

She will use her good heart as a volunteer now, sitting with the dying in Eskenazi Health’s No One Dies Alone program, leading the health ministry team at her tiny country church in Greenwood and holding preemies in Methodist’s NICU.

And she will bake the occasional cake for family members and good friends. She will not, however, be making her retirement cake. Someone else will be in charge of that.

Her time with IU Health has been extraordinary, she said, “but I know there’s more out there to experience. This place is going to be fine. It will move on without me. And I will be fine.”

-- By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Latest Stories

Filter from

November 24, 2020 Nurse down 75 pounds: ‘Self-care is vital, especially during a pandemic’ As a progressive critical care nurse, Kristy Fields sees many patients treated for symp... November 23, 2020 Q4 2020 Quarterly Report: COVID-19 brings community together, while social distancing Crystal Hinson Miller, chief philanthropy officer for Indiana University Health and pre... November 23, 2020 IU Health COVID-19 Data IU Health is committed to being a trusted source of information for the public during t... November 23, 2020 Father of five girls gets wish with hospital bedside wedding Seven weeks ago, Matthew Rynearson was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. When he e... November 20, 2020 Transplant Gratitude Triggers $1 Million in Funding Technically, Jerome Josephs received a kidney when he underwent a transplant at IU Heal... November 19, 2020 In the Midst of a Pandemic, Three Foundation Team Members Achieve International Certification Diane Buzzell, Julie Paolillo and Kate Konzen have several new letters after their name... November 19, 2020 Rock band member chooses IU Health for testicular cancer treatment Minnesota native Ryan Keyes came to Indianapolis to play drums in a rock band. Now, he’... November 18, 2020 Offering help to go tobacco-free during COVID-19 People who are tobacco users and who vape have a higher chance of getting COVID-19. IU ... November 17, 2020 How to Stay Safe & Healthy This Holiday Season With COVID-19 cases surging across the state, it may be time to rethink your traditiona... November 17, 2020 Long-time nurse known for educating the next generation of nurses She has been at the bedside of countless patients – the sickest of the sick, and Marcia... November 15, 2020 Father Donates Kidney to Young Son: “It’s a Huge Sigh of Relief” By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org It was in her 20th we... November 13, 2020 Double transplant patient on quest to educate young adults with diabetes Even before his first transplant, Mike Davis knew the importance of self-care for diabe... November 12, 2020 How to Cope with Holiday & COVID-19 Stress With COVID-19 cases on the rise and the holidays around the corner, you may be feeling ... November 12, 2020 Lung cancer patient, non-smoker: ‘Anyone with lungs can get cancer’ It started with a mild cough that wouldn’t go away. Now Shauna Dalton is taking meds tw... November 11, 2020 Veteran’s Day – A family legacy for IU Health doctor IU Health Dr. Kevin Rice talks about his journey to the medical field and his service i... November 10, 2020 Better People, Better Patient Care: How a Philanthropic Gift is Paving the Way for Leadership Development at IU Health In just five years, Indiana may be experiencing a shortage of more than 60,000 physicia... November 10, 2020 Nurse who had COVID-19: “The positive is I can donate plasma to help others” The numbers are the highest they have been in months. COVID-19 continues to be a deadly... November 09, 2020 TCC Gives’ donated iPads help IU Health patients and families connect The isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic has weighed heavily on everyone, but it ... November 08, 2020 ‘Hospital at home’ patient: ‘They spoiled me. I couldn’t have asked for better care’ In April, IU Health launched a program for ill COVID-19 patients that allowed them to r... November 05, 2020 New glucose management option helps COVID-19 patients Since the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have learned th... November 02, 2020 Risky tumor removal threatened patient's ability to talk & swallow Daniela Gomez started experiencing severe headaches when she was 14 years old. For six ... October 29, 2020 A look back at LifeLine rescue of crash victim: “A life-defining moment” It was in the early morning hours when LifeLine flight nurse Mike Collins was summoned ... October 28, 2020 First living liver recipient: Three months later and patient enjoys new life When Kelly Kinkade’s health began to decline, she turned to IU Health’s top-ranked tran... October 26, 2020 3 Healthcare Topics Every Hoosier Should Know About Before They Vote As we approach Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, healthcare continues to rank high on ju... October 25, 2020 He thought he had COVID-19; Nurse practitioner suspected something else Ryan Gillen is beyond grateful. He says one special nurse who discovered his illness, i... October 22, 2020 Cancer patient, 28: ‘People say 2020 has been bad, but for me it’s a blessing’ He’s young, launching his professional career and he’s facing the challenges of a cance... October 22, 2020 For this student nurse, COVID unit has helped her grow PCA Kate Davenport: “It’s so important to meet people where they are and offer support,... October 21, 2020 Grant Expands Dementia-Support Services in Southern Indiana “It really does take a village when it comes to dementia care,” said Dayna Thompson, an... October 21, 2020 What Characteristics are the Most Important Part of a Safe & Effective Weight Loss Program? In today’s digital age, you can find weight loss plans everywhere. From diet pills that... October 20, 2020 This doctor has a reason to be a real man wearing pink Each year, the American Cancer Society raises money and awareness for breast cancer wit... October 15, 2020 Elementary teacher, 28, diagnosed with breast cancer Both her grandmothers had breast cancer, but Sarah Clark had no reason to believe her d... October 14, 2020 When Minutes Count: Know Risk Factors for Stroke Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and is a leading cause of long-term disabili... October 14, 2020 Putting on the White Coat: Celebrating an IU School of Medicine Bicentennial Scholar Image courtesy of IU School of Medicine Where once walked a scribe, following doctors ... October 13, 2020 Infant Loss: Two Mothers Open their Arms to Those who suffer Two Nurses at IU Health Arnett both suffered the loss of their precious newborns. Their... October 12, 2020 Philanthropy Funds Rooftop Garden to Offer Patients, Loved Ones and Team Members a Breath of Fresh Air In the midst of uncertainty and stress, it’s important that all of us take a moment to ... October 12, 2020 Understand the importance of safe sleep While the prevalence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the United States has de... October 12, 2020 Olcott’s Gift Paves Way for Nurse Navigation at the New Regional Academic Health Center Joan Olcott will be long remembered as an important figure in the Bloomington community... October 11, 2020 Breast cancer patient found lump two weeks before mammogram At the recommendation of her family physician, Kelly Kelso scheduled a mammogram. Two w... October 09, 2020 Merriman Award Honors Compassionate Team Members Statewide Five IU Health team members around the state have won the “Lynda,” the Lynda A. Merrima... October 09, 2020 From Riley to University Hospital – Patient relies on music therapy He first came to IU Health as an infant and recently when he came back as an adult, Nat... October 07, 2020 Former school bus driver fights pancreatic cancer For 25 years, Alan “Dale” Albright drove a school bus. He looked at the kids on his rou... October 06, 2020 How Could My Alcohol Use Affect My Family? “It’s just one more drink.” “I haven’t had any legal problems.” “I worked really hard t... October 06, 2020 IU Health midwifery practice invites women to “call the midwife” In a nod to the popular PBS television series “Call the Midwife,” four IU Health nurse ... October 01, 2020 Mother’s devotion: Driven to improving mental health care After years of experiencing firsthand her son’s diagnosis of mental illness, Joan Ester... September 30, 2020 LifeLine crew reunites with seriously injured teen airlifted to Methodist It was his second time to board a LifeLine helicopter and this time, Brandon Stuckwish ... September 29, 2020 How to Recognize & Prevent Heart Disease During COVID-19 Have you given much thought to your heart this year? During the COVID-19 pandemic, ma... September 29, 2020 IU Health, IPS launch career development program at Crispus Attucks Upon graduation and completion of the fellowship program, students will be guaranteed a... September 28, 2020 Grant Connects People in Rural Communities to Emergency Behavioral Care Thanks to a new grant secured by IU Health Foundation, people in rural communities in n... September 24, 2020 White Memorial helping patient move from a motorized cart to walking the fields Gene Dallinger suffers from COPD and started working with pulmonary rehab at IU Health ... September 24, 2020 From North Africa to the U.S.: Expatriate encourages community engagement A native of Algeria, Mohamed Merzoug joined IU Health’s Community Outreach and Engageme... September 24, 2020 As he retires: Transplant leader dedicated to patients and hospital community After more than a decade of serving as IU Health’s Medical Director of Kidney & Pancrea... September 23, 2020 Lab worker driven by niece’s death from sepsis Thousands of children die each year as a result of severe sepsis. Matthew “Trevor” O’He... September 22, 2020 Methodist childbirth educator looks forward to Riley move The new maternity tower at Riley will centralize all inpatient and newborn care so even... September 21, 2020 In Pursuit of Health Equity: An Evolution in Healthcare At the crossroads of storylines between the COVID-19 pandemic and summer-long protests ... September 21, 2020 Practicing Mindfulness During Times of Uncertainty The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that things in life can be out of our co... September 18, 2020 IU Health Arnett donates masks to local food banks Indiana University Health Arnett is donating masks to local food banks to help improve ... September 17, 2020 Two surgeries, one day - Father donates kidney to son When his son’s kidneys began to fail, Shannon Dobrucki did what most fathers would do –... September 16, 2020 IU Health Foundation’s Jessica Journey Receives International Industry Honor “Serving people with excellence, compassion, ethics, and positivity” has earned Jessica... September 15, 2020 Her nursing career is an extension of her life of empathy for others Melyssa Sams started her career later in life but she’s always been headed toward nursi... September 15, 2020 Hospital dietitian first came to IU Health as a pediatric patient Long before she even knew about careers in healthcare, Jennifer Golding was a patient a... September 14, 2020 Wear a Mask Because You Care … and Because It Works One of the best ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and the people in your commun... September 14, 2020 Why it’s Crucial to Get Your Flu Shot in 2020 2020 has taught us a lot of lessons. One major lesson being the importance of maintaini... September 10, 2020 Nurse: “I chose IU Health because I trust the oncology care” There are hospitals closer to her home, but when DaJuana Moore was diagnosed with breas... September 09, 2020 College student recovering from bone marrow transplant When she discovered the mass two years ago, Mayra Rodriguez completed treatment at IU H... September 09, 2020 IU Health Foundation Funds Officer Down Kits for Tipton Police & Tipton County Sheriff's Departments Pictured from Left: Thomas Sliwa, MD – Emergency Medicine; Brad Robins – Sergeant Tipto... September 09, 2020 IU Health Foundation Grant Helps People Quit Smoking Indiana ranks fifth-highest in the nation for tobacco use, but the IU Health West Centr... September 08, 2020 IU Health Team Member Gives to Transform Healthcare Inequities For Craig Brooks, transformation manager for IU Health Physicians, “transformation” is ... September 07, 2020 Healthcare at home with virtual visits As the COVID-19 case number increases throughout Indiana, more and more Hoosiers are fa... September 04, 2020 Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital opens COVID-19 testing site TIPTON, Ind. – Indiana University Health Tipton Hospital understands the need for a loc... September 03, 2020 Brain surgery on a former president? We can do that From president to patient: Amos Sawyer led the country of Liberia for four years, but i... September 03, 2020 Pharmacy Technician: "I'm exactly where I need to be." For 23 years, Jennifer Harshman has worked as a pharmacy technician. Throughout Harshma... September 02, 2020 Is Addiction Really a Disease? Is addiction really a disease or a matter of choice? Ask the mother who lost her 19-yea... September 02, 2020 Occupational therapist starts sexual health program for cancer survivors Addie Jacobs, occupational therapist at IU Health West Hospital, developed the idea for... August 31, 2020 Administrative Coordinator celebrates ninth year at IU Health Saxony Hospital Holli Smith, administrative coordinator, celebrated her ninth year as an IU Health Saxo... August 28, 2020 How COVID-19 Affects Heart Health COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that is closely associated with a very importan... August 28, 2020 Guest Relations team members work to provide patients and visitors with a memorable experience Sonali Patel and Emely Villalta know how difficult it can be for patients and visitors ... August 27, 2020 Open Arms Miscarriage and Infant Loss Support Group Two nurses from IU Health Arnett are teaming up to lead a support group called Open Arm... August 26, 2020 Father Patrick is a ray of sunshine at Methodist Hospital “Chaplaincy is not all about religion. It’s about being present through human suffering... August 25, 2020 Saxony Knee Replacement Patient is Grateful for Her Personalized Care Andrea Colbert worked with Dr. Leonard Buller, orthopedic surgeon at IU Health Saxony H... August 25, 2020 Q3 2020 Quarterly Report: Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation joins IU Health Foundation family Crystal Hinson Miller, chief philanthropy officer for Indiana University Health and pre... August 20, 2020 COVID patient with down syndrome: “Thank you God; You saved the day” She was alone and an hour away from the most trusted people in her life – her parents. ... August 19, 2020 New Website Focuses on Possibilities of Philanthropy Three years after IU Health Foundation opened its doors, a revamped website focuses on ... August 19, 2020 Patient: “Extremely rare disease diagnosed because I was at a teaching hospital” Some of her symptoms went unrecognized; others were more obvious. In the end, it was a ... August 17, 2020 IU Health North Clinical Educator Supports New Nurses and PCAs Megan Miller, clinical educator at IU Health North Hospital, discovered her love of nur... August 17, 2020 IU Health Frankfort now offers Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT) “PFTs are a group of tests that measure how well your lungs work,” explains Kareena Wel... August 17, 2020 Nurse: “I can help save people but I can also give them dignity in the final time” She’s spent three decades caring for critically ill patients. Jennifer McAvene knows th... August 17, 2020 IU Health North Lactation Consultant Helps Mothers Through Their Breastfeeding Journey After experiencing personal struggles with breastfeeding, Martha Ollikainen, neonatal i... August 14, 2020 IU Health West Lactation Consultant Shares the Importance of Breastfeeding Jan Record, lactation consultant at IU Health West Hospital, knows how difficult breast... August 13, 2020 Transplant patient: “The nurses were my lifesavers” At the worst of times, Angela Michael was so ill she didn’t think she could make it thr... August 11, 2020 Nurse Spotlight: Ashley Ritsema After suffering a pregnancy loss, Ashley Ritsema, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) n... August 10, 2020 COVID-19 Funds Expand Yoga Programs Donors to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund have helped to bring the healing powers of y... August 05, 2020 IU Health to add eight blocks to downtown campus, build new $1.6B hospital In a major transformation of its downtown medical campus, Indiana University Health pla... August 05, 2020 IU Health files plans for transformative new hospital in downtown Indianapolis INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University Health has outlined plans for a world-class ho... August 04, 2020 Patient donated kidney, received kidney and enjoying fresh start He has a giving heart. So when his brother needed a kidney, Harambee Purnell donated hi... August 03, 2020 Take a trip through the decades at Methodist safety fair CVCC nurses refresh their skills during an annual training event that aims to teach whi... July 31, 2020 Virtual education, coaching leads to diabetes prevention Have you been told you have prediabetes signs and symptoms? IU Health has a plan in pla... July 28, 2020 Nurse is a ‘Teacher’ in a Different Classroom She just completed 30 years at IU Health and Nurse Melissa Coxey is realizing her caree... July 23, 2020 What You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes & Vaping: Your Guide to the Latest Facts Much to tobacco companies' delight, electronic cigarettes and vaping have caught on sin... July 23, 2020 From New York Designer to Andretti Racing: Cancer connects patient to supporters William “Bill” Ramey’s small town spans two Indiana counties. Since his cancer diagnosi... July 20, 2020 Are Addiction and Dependence the Same Thing? A recent study found that a staggering two out of three Hoosiers know someone strugglin...