Rose Gause

With 50 years of experience, Rose Gause is a mentor to those in the General OR

No one seemed to have the answer, and Rose Gause, RN, wasn’t ready to give it up.

“We celebrated your 40th year five years ago, right Miss Rose?” one coworker called.

“Yup, that’s right,” Gause responded.

Another asked, “How long have you been here?”

“I’m not talking about it,” Gause said, her mouth curling into a smile as she walked away.

The secret’s out: Rose Gause, Miss Rose to everyone in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s general operating room, is celebrating her 50th year with the hospital.

"You need to love what you’re doing,” said Gause, who has been a surgery-preparation nurse for all 50 years. “That helps take you through the day.”

It was 1966. A gallon of gas cost about 32 cents. Lyndon B. Johnson was president. The Beatles released their newest album, Revolver. And Rose Gause started her career with UMMC.

Rose Gause, University of Maryland Medical Center perioperative services“There weren’t all of those buildings, and most people parked on the streets,” Gause said. “Now we use robots for certain surgeries.”

While pondering a full-time job all those years ago, Gause had three ideas: become a teacher, an airline stewardess or a nurse.

Her mother thought Rose’s caring nature would pair well with nursing, so she gave it a shot. Rose started by becoming a licensed practical nurse before becoming a registered nurse.

“I didn’t think I was going to stay here when I first got here,” Gause said. “After coming here and going through orientation, I became ill – some kind of stomach virus – and I was out for a while. When I came back, my instructor said, ‘Oh, you remembered a lot that we taught. I think this area would be good for you.’ So I said okay and I stayed.”

Fifty years later, Miss Rose is a revered member of the hospital’s surgical team, focusing on ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeries. Gause prepares the surgical room, making sure surgical equipment is in place, verifying that consent forms are completed, obtaining all necessary medications, and checking that the correct name band is on the patient’s wrist, among other things.

She is a mentor to nurses passing through the operating room, leading by her actions.

“She’s very quiet and she’s a very hard worker,” said Lil Salada, RN, a charge nurse for the general operating room. “She knows her stuff. If you need something for ENT in particular, she knows everything about ENT. If you need supplies, no matter what kind of procedure, or whatever a particular surgeon needs, she’ll do it for you. She’ll teach you and walk you through.”

Clarissa Buan, RN, said that Gause taught her the intricacies of the job. From setting up a surgical room to scrubbing , no detail was left out.

“Everything I learned was from her,” said Buan.

So how much longer will Miss Rose continue working?

She loves the work. It keeps her busy and she feels like she is still making a difference. So retirement isn’t too close. 

With that same gentle smile and a laugh, she says the decision isn’t too far off, either.

“I won’t be here another five years for another award ceremony. I will not!”