Even before beginning her psychiatric career as a registered nurse in the 1970s, Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Burnett Rogers knew she found the niche best fitting her talents.
Her medical career burgeoned over the decades as she progressed in her training, becoming a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner in 2002, earning a doctor of nursing practice in 2009 and working at large psychiatric clinics in the Midwest and Arizona.
Now, she’s opening her own private practice in Ahwatukee.
Her experience as a child funneled her interests into mental health.
“When you find what you’re good at, even as a youngster, you tend to gravitate toward it,” said Rogers, who was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada.
Her family had credentials in the mental health field. Her father held a Ph.D. in psychology and her mother was a social worker in Newfoundland and the U.S. Her paternal grandfather was an Anglican minister and missionary in Africa.
Her father’s bipolar disorder instilled the sense of compassion leading Rogers to continue learning more about mental health issues – and how best to treat those who have them.
“In those days the disease was known as manic-depression. He was a brilliant man, but he was also an alcoholic and wouldn’t take his medicine,” she said.
Recalling the years watching her father attempt to deal with his issues, she added, “You live it, you see it and I can relate to all of this and thus it became my career. I’ve always gravitated toward psychiatry.”
Not surprisingly, Rogers’ practice focuses on issues of addiction and trauma.
As her parents and uncle were in the Canadian Air Force and her brother served in Vietnam, Rogers said she’s also passionate about helping veterans and their families.
“Human beings seem to want something that will make their brain feel better and turn to drugs or alcohol. But sometimes they can’t stop. And when they are able to start living sober after years of self-medicating, that can bring on issues of anxiety. This is where I can help.”
Rogers received B.S.N. with a focus on psychiatric nursing from the University of British Columbia in 1977. She earned her M.S.N. at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in 2002, and her doctorate in nursing practice in 2008.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is one of two doctorate degrees offered in nursing, the other being the Ph.D.
Since moving from Minnesota to Arizona with her husband Lawrence Rogers, she worked in large psychiatric clinics throughout the valley, most recently in Gilbert.
“I moved to Ahwatukee from Minnesota in 2011 after retiring from the University of Minnesota, where I worked as a clinician, preceptor, lecturer and administrator for over 30 years, she said.
“Since my arrival in Arizona, I’ve worked in a number of settings, mostly serving those persons with serious mental illnesses. In November, I decided to change the channel and take this opportunity to provide psychiatric care in my own community in ways that work for me and for my patients.
“In other words, to focus on the quality of the work, patient outcomes and satisfaction, while also having work/life balance. This means I live near my office and now have more time to enjoy life and all it has to offer in Ahwatukee as a resident.”
She also joined Arizona State University as an adjunct professor, and continues to teach part-time online with Eastern Kentucky University in the psychiatric nurse practitioner program.
While commuting home after learning she’d be laid off after a year as a clinical leader at a Gilbert clinic, she decided it was time to go out on her own and start her own practice so she could follow her own dream.
“This way, if I have a patient requires an hour and a half to evaluate, I have the freedom to do that. I’m not locked into a 40 to 60-minute time slot,” said Rogers. “I was through with the big clinics – though to be sure, they do a lot of good. But I’m an older woman now and I wanted it to do it my way.”
South Mountain Family Psychiatry is located at 11011 S. 48th Street, Ahwatukee.
As with any new business, laying the groundwork takes time and effort.
Just this month, Rogers and her husband made the rounds to Ahwatukee medical offices including naturopaths, pain clinics, psychologists and counselors to distribute flyers describing her background and what she offers in her new practice.
Even while growing her practice, she is laying groundwork for expansion.
“I specialize in providing psychiatric care to adults, ages 17 and up. I’m not able to provide care to children or teens under 17. However, I’m thrilled Marlene Wilson, PMHNP (psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner) will join me in February to address the needs of children and adolescents.”
“One really good thing about Marlene is she has a vast amount of experience working with people with developmental disabilities including autism. There’s a huge need for that.”
To date, Rogers is encouraged by her new road as she receives referrals from other medical professionals as well as response from her ad in Psychology Today magazine.
“I’m growing and I’m getting calls every day,” she said.
Though the majority of her patients are self-pay, steps are underway to be able to accept Medicare, Tricare, Triwest and other insurance plans. South Mountain Family Psychiatry is covered under Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
“As an independently licensed DNP and PMHNP, I received training to provide supportive psychotherapy as part of my practice and do so frequently. I include access to pharmacogenetic testing and referrals to other disciplines as a way to clarify and modify treatment,” she explained.
“Families and concerned others are welcomed in the care of the patient if requested by the patient.”
Rogers said she is providing flexible hours, including weekends, to better serve the community.
“I welcome the opportunity to provide expert and compassionate care to those in Ahwatukee and surrounding communities,” she said.