In his own words: Chief nursing officer Rob Carnahan

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Banner Churchill Community Hospital and the duties of your position.

Rob Carnahan: Banner Churchill Community Hospital in Fallon that opened in 1996 and is a part of Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 24 hospitals in seven states. The 40-bed facility offers acute and primary care, including comprehensive Emergency care with an ambulance service that covers more than 5,900 square miles. Banner Churchill also has pediatric services, diagnostic imaging, labor and delivery, and a surgical center that offers general and orthopedic surgery. This is a very family-oriented facility. My role as chief nursing officer is managing the day-to-day operations of nursing and patient care. I also oversee probably 80 percent of the other units in the hospital. As a chief nursing officer in small hospital, you have to take on a lot of the long-term strategic planning of the hospital and the day-to-day operations.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Carnahan: My mom is a nurse and I had two male cousins that were nurses. I had never really thought about it but I was a medical specialist in the army in the first Gulf War in the 82nd Airborne Division. There was a nurse practitioner, and he was a Delta Force guy who was helping us with some training. I never thought about it until he sat down and explained that you can still be a true military guy but still be caring. That was the key that pushed me over to being a nurse.

NNBW: What are a few of the challenges of working in a rural setting versus a large metropolitan hospital?

Carnahan: There are limited resources, so for instance when patient comes in and has chest pain a lot of times we just have to transport them to Reno. Sometimes you really have to work outside box and you just have to deal with what you have got. The other piece of it is staffing — it can be pretty challenging at times. You are trying to capture nurses and healthcare professionals, but it is harder to attract them to rural markets. You have to focus on Fallon’s small-town atmosphere, the community focus and community activities.

NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?

Carnahan: Especially now more than ever, you have to be agile in healthcare. There are so many changes coming out. It is the most active time I have ever seen. You have to be agile and be OK with change. It truly is a fun time to be in healthcare as we are transforming the future.

NNBW: What was your first job?

Carnahan: I delivered newspapers in a little town called Cedar Lake, Ind.

NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren’t you working it?

Carnahan: I never really thought about what I wanted to do; I kind of was pushed into my positions for lack of better words. But I wouldn’t mind being CEO one day of a hospital.

NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?

Carnahan: The main thing is being ready for change. If you find out that you don’t like what you are doing, get out quickly. You have to love to care for people, and if you can’t do that you probably need to look for a different profession.

NNBW: What’s the most fun you have on the job?

Carnahan: If you have an element or developing a process that ultimately affect the outcome a patient, seeing that process or initiative come to fruition is what drives me and makes me get up it the morning.

NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work?

Carnahan: My family and my 6-year-old are No. 1. I also like to mountain bike and trail run, drumming, and I’m into Shelby Mustangs.

NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

Carnahan: I am pretty satisfied with what I have done in my life.

NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

Carnahan: I wanted to be a police officer or a major league baseball player.

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?

Carnahan: No. I would still do something in nursing, at least part time.

NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?

Carnahan: I went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and I went to see Styx in Indiana when I was there for Christmas.

NNBW: What’s your perfect vacation spot?

Carnahan: Clearwater Beach in Florida is my favorite place to go.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?

Carnahan: My boss in Phoenix said there is an opportunity in Fallon. The main reason why I selected Fallon was because I have a 6-year-old, and I wanted to get out of all the turbulence in Phoenix and get him in a smaller town where the pace isn’t that crazy and was a little safer environment. Living here is great.

To suggest a candidate for NNBW’s weekly question and answer column, look at our editorial calendar ( and contact reporter Rob Sabo at or call 775-850-2146.


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