From an early age, Nick Lohmer knew he wanted to enter some type of medical field when it came time to choose a career. “It was a very familiar environment for me,” explains Lohmer, a nursing assistant in the Perianesthesia department at Gillette.
Lohmer, who has spina bifida, has received care at Gillette—including multiple surgeries—since childhood. “I grew up at Gillette and many other hospitals in the Twin Cities,” he says. “I’ve known many Gillette physicians my entire life, and I’m still a patient at Gillette Lifetime.”
Fifteen years ago, Lohmer gained a different perspective on Gillette when he became an employee. He vividly remembers the day he was offered the position and his first day on the job.
“I’d been working in long-term care but knew pediatrics was more my fit. So I accepted a position at a different health care facility. During the week between accepting the position at the other facility and when I was to start, I received the opportunity to interview with Gillette.”
Lohmer didn’t look back. He began employee orientation at Gillette two weeks later. As a nursing assistant, Lohmer greets patients and their families who come to Gillette for procedures that involve anesthesia, including surgeries and sedated MRI exams.
“I escort patients and families from registration to the pre-op area, check each patient’s weight and vital signs, and get them settled into their pre-op room,” describes Lohmer. “I also have them change into hospital gowns and make sure they’re ready for nurses to complete the admission process.”
Lohmer’s day begins early—at 6 a.m. sharp. His first order of business is preparing the Perianesthesia department for its busy day of procedures, and stocking rooms with needed supplies. “Our first patients of the day begin to arrive around this time, as well,” says Lohmer, who also assists with admissions and discharges throughout the day. “Another big part of my job is serving as a resource for patients and families when they have questions that arise.”
A memory that always sticks with Lohmer is from the first few months of his employment at Gillette and a special patient who took a liking to him. “I was able to introduce some activities that we did together while he waited for surgery. A few days later, one of his parents sought me out because he was struggling in his recovery and kept asking about me,” recalls Lohmer. “I went to visit the patient and he seemed to make some progress in his recovery going forward. I was grateful for the ability to be a part of that.”
Lohmer’s young patient is one of many that connect with him—not only because of his friendly and easygoing demeanor, but also because he, like them, is living with a complex medical condition. Lohmer says he wants his patients to know that they, too, can grow up to have fulfilling lives and careers. “I hope I’m a role model for our patients. I want to show them that regardless of the challenges they may face, they can succeed in anything they are determined to accomplish,” says Lohmer.
“What’s most rewarding about a career at Gillette,” adds Lohmer, “is the ability, in small ways, to give back to the organization that has been such a large part of my care over the years.”