CNRP Erika Robaugh joins California Family Practice
As an RN, Erika Robaugh became frustrated seeing the same patients back in the hospital because of preventable issues. She realized returning patients didn’t fully appreciate the importance of adhering to their dietary and medicinal plans – an educational oversight she sought to fix.
“Instead of complaining, I decided to take action myself and go back to school so I could be their provider and work with them to keep them out of the hospital,” she said.
To reach that goal, she needed an advanced degree. Duquesne University’s school of nursing CRNP program gave her the flexibility to maintain a family life while providing real-world training and additional experience.
Robaugh’s husband, Carl, Jr., and children, Brandon, 12, and Matthew, 8 pitched in to ensure she had time to work through the university’s rigorous studies.
“My husband and children were wonderful,” she said, “Helping to pick up extra chores and understanding when I spent most of my free time in front of the computer and books,” also adding “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing parents, John and Kenny Dale Molinaro.”
A Certified, Registered Nurse Practitioner, or CRNP, performs all routine exams, counsels patients in such areas as the importance of full compliance with their prescribed diet and medication plans, orders tests and procedures, writes prescriptions, refers to specialists, and helps patients obtain durable home medical equipment.
A Washington, PA resident since taking RN work at Washington Hospital in 2006, Robaugh brings her CRNP capabilities, along with her nursing experience, to California Family Practice at 1152 Wood St., in California, PA. The practice is part of Centerville Clinics, which features 11 medical offices serving patients throughout the Mon Valley.
Also serving patients at California Family Practice is Dr. Marvin McGowan, a board certified Family Practitioner. When interviewing for a new provider for the office, he was looking for an independent thinker who was ready to work on her own.
She has a different mental toolbox and is comfortable with what she does, he said of Robaugh, adding “That’s what I want, someone who can think outside the box. We always bounce things back and forth, and I always have an open door for her.”
But when it comes to patient privacy, a closed door is better, though a different routine for someone accustomed to making rounds in a hospital.
“It’s a process going from floor nurse to it just being me,” said Robaugh, referring to her new ability to autonomously work directly with patients in the exam room. The medical assistants “set up a nice vibe with the patients before I enter the room,” along with helping navigate the daily activity of the office, she said.
Robaugh bases her relationship with patients on trust, saying it’s important “especially for many who I’ll be seeing for the first time, so they can feel comfortable in talking, knowing there are no judgments and we can mark out a plan for care.”
Dr. McGowan and the local community have warmly received Robaugh in her new position in the practice.
Dr. McGowan has been helpful in showing how patient flow works, while not “a single patient said no to seeing me instead of Dr. McGowan,” said Robaugh.
Her career plans center on California Family Practice, where she wants patients to know she’s there for the long haul, to help them with whatever they need.
With her new role as a CRNP, Robaugh is excited to help patients directly, from education to a complete plan of care, meaning no more return trips to the hospital for preventable issues.
“If someone asked me about this particular career move, I would tell them that the schooling is very time consuming and exhausting, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Story by Keren Lee Dryer for Pennsylvania Bridges