Around the Coffee Table

A Life of Caring for Others

A Life of Caring for Others

Nurses have an undeniable sense of compassion for others.

That genuine empathy extends far past the years of bedside care and wound healing for board member, RaeAnne Frey Marner, who after a 30 year career of nursing and health care professions, is continuing her concern for others on the campus of Friendship Haven.

The list of nursing and health care related positions RaeAnne has held is extensive. Among them- registered nurse, teacher, instructor, health care manager and oncology department director. In summary, RaeAnne is a health care leader.

Her whole professional career has been devoted to providing care in one way or another. In fact, it was even the health care industry that brought her, and husband, Dr. Mark Marner, together. After meeting at a VA clinic in Des Moines, in the early days of their careers, where Mark was completing his residency and RaeAnne a nurse, they haven’t left each other’s side.

RaeAnne will be the first to say that she has done about anything and everything related to nursing. After beginning her career as a registered nurse, RaeAnne also spent several years teaching local health and nursing programs. The opportunities to instruct at post-secondary schools, such as Iowa Central Community College and Buena Vista University, allowed RaeAnne to share her experiences with future nurses.

RaeAnne later moved in a different health care direction and worked for ten years as a staff nurse in home health care and hospice care. That career experience gave RaeAnne the chance to demonstrate her leadership and managerial skills. During the time on the nursing staff, she transitioned Trinity Hospice from a volunteer program to a Medicare-certified program. RaeAnne also collaborated in the development and implementation of a case management model at Trinity Regional Medical Center.

This later propelled RaeAnne into the position of Manager Trinity Home Health and Hospice where she served in the overall leadership and management of the department. Two years later, in 2002, RaeAnne began working in managerial roles of the Trinity Pain Management Center, as well as oncology services. Her strategic and enthusiastic management and program successes did not go unnoticed. Only a few years later, RaeAnne was asked to take on one of her career’s largest projects. She was to establish a comprehensive cancer center at Trinity Regional Medical Center.

While overwhelming, RaeAnne knew this was a calling for her. Something that all of her years of nursing practice, leadership roles and team management strengths had prepared her for. This was an opportunity for her to help hundreds of local cancer patients receive local, high-quality oncology care. Left to kick-start the process on her own, but given the support of administration, RaeAnne led the development and operational planning of the impactful project. In 2012, the Trinity Cancer Center opened its doors, and RaeAnne continued to direct its positive influence and growth until her retirement.

It only seems natural then that RaeAnne would be a perfect fit for serving in a leadership capacity on the Friendship Haven Board. To her, however, there is much more to give- and be gained- by this commitment. “In my time on the board, I have met interesting people who share their compassion for the organization. I have been enriched by being in their company. This is a board representing a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. It creates healthy interaction which generates new ideas,” RaeAnne shares.

RaeAnne accredits the encouragement and wisdoms of Dr. Clarence Tompkins as still having a sound effect on both her and others’ enthusiasm to make Friendship Haven the best it can be. “Dr. Tompkins had a dream more than 70 years ago. He encouraged people to dream big, and I feel he would be proud to see what Friendship Haven has become.” RaeAnne continues, “I believe I have been able to bring my talents and time to help carry on the dream Dr. Tompkins had for Friendship Haven.”

She may be retired, but that doesn’t limit RaeAnne from seizing opportunities to be of service to others. In fact, she openly shares a saying from John Wesley that encapsulates her philosophy on life. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, for as long as you can.

No words ring truer for someone like RaeAnne Frey Marner who has never wavered from being there for others.