Heart specialist enjoys coaching sports and triathlons
Rob Rogers, APRN, is an electrophysiology nurse practitioner with the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Heart Rhythm Center. In his role as a heart specialist, he talks with patients about how to keep their heart healthy. But when he is not wearing a white coat, you may find him wearing a whistle and gym shorts. Learn more about this heart specialist who is using his passion for sports to help his patients — as well as the next generation — get heart healthy.
Q: How do you measure success?
Rob Rogers: I think there are only two reasons to do anything in health care: Make people live longer or feel better. Generally, patients who have heart rhythm disorders, particularly atrial fibrillation, will experience a significant decrease in their quality of life, and if I can restore normal rhythm, then I can restore some of that quality of life, and that would certainly be considered a positive outcome.
Q: Is there anything about you your patients would be surprised to learn?
Rob Rogers: I think they may be surprised to learn if I’m not wearing a white lab coat, generally I have a whistle around my neck and tennis shoes on, dealing with a bunch of rowdy children. I do a lot of coaching for my children. I’ve got a 14-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, and in their life span — and even before that — I’ve coached baseball, T-ball, softball, soccer, flag football and basketball.
Q: That’s a lot of different sports.
Rob Rogers: The important thing is you don’t necessarily have to know the sport to know how to coach. The most important things I try to teach my kids are that in all sports, and in life in general, effort and attitude are the only two things you can control. You can’t control if the referee makes a bad call. You can’t control if the other team makes an outstanding shot. You can control how hard you work and what your attitude is to adversity. It really is the most important thing to take from youth sports.
Q: Was there a point where you realized you really wanted to go into medicine?
Rob Rogers: My father has been a hospital administrator, and I’ve been around hospitals since I was a little kid. I started out volunteering in his hospitals when I was really young, so I don’t think there was any lightbulb moment. It wasn’t as much a thought of “This is want to do with my life” as opposed to “This is what I do.” It was a natural progression of my interests and things I’m good at.
Q: Are you a Cats or Cards fan?
Rob Rogers: My allegiance is clear. I’m Big Blue all the way. I was actually born in Lexington. My mom and dad both went to Kentucky. My mom was a cheerleader there. All my aunts and uncles went to Kentucky. I met my wife at Kentucky. I certainly will root for the Cards, but whenever our interests are in conflict my feelings are clear.
Q: Do you have a top health tip?
Rob Rogers: I was told early on in my career by a cardiologist where I used to work that exercise can be considered your shield against chronic disease, and I’ve really taken that to heart with my patients. You know movement of any sort every single day is essential to long-term health not only physically but emotionally as well. There’s a pretty significant connection between exertion and how you’re feeling. We as human beings weren’t made to be sedentary. We were made to get up and move. If you can get out and do even a 15- or 20-minute walk on a daily basis, that will help your blood pressure, help your weight, help blood sugar control, help vascular disease, help emotional well-being and health.
Q: Is there anything else you do for fun in your spare time?
Rob Rogers: I absolutely love sports. I grew up as an athlete, primarily playing ball sports, basketball and football. You can definitely describe me as a gym rat. In college, I actually took a basketball class at Kentucky and then audited that class every single semester so that I had guaranteed gym time three times a week so I could continue to play. As I’ve gotten older, the people I played basketball with just kept getting younger. A lot of my friends started drifting away, so I gravitated toward solitary sports like running, and I’ve done quite a few triathlons. That may sound somewhat impressive, but I promise you if you saw my results it’s not. I’m very slow but I like to consider myself kind of like a plow horse when I run or bike. I can go for a long period of time at a very slow speed. I am by no means a thoroughbred.