Amber finds balance and purpose in her career by prioritizing relationships

May 15, 2024 | Team Member Spotlights

Share this story now

Imagine knowing where you work is right where you’re meant to be and every day brings the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of others and where you can thrive personally and professionally.

This is the world of Amber Herron, OTR/L, CSRS, ASC-BC, stroke program manager at St. Dominic Hospital, where she has worked for more than 12 years.

career grounded in purpose

Amber began at St. Dominic’s as an occupational therapist in 2011, eventually joining the team at St. Dominic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center, gaining certifications in rehabilitation for stroke and becoming the program manager in 2022.

“I was initially attracted to St. Dominic’s because of the reputation as a great hospital in our community and the competitive salary they were able to offer,” she says. The hospital’s culture of quality and its Christ-centered ministry were also important to Amber.

In her years with the hospital’s stroke center, Amber discovered her professional calling.

“I just have a passion for patients with stroke and helping them be able to return to their lives as best as possible,” Amber says. “I have a heart to want to help people. It fulfills me greatly to be able to love people through this organization, specifically people affected by stroke. That’s something that gives my heart joy and it makes me feel like I’m exactly where I need to be.”

being part of an incredible team

Amber is also motivated by her teammates as they work together to provide the highest quality stroke care.

“My coworkers inspire me because it’s amazing to see all the things that go into stroke care and all of the resources that are required,” Amber says. A comprehensive stroke center is required to provide 24-7 care capabilities with clot buster medication and clot retrievals.

“You have to have a team that’s willing to come in at any time of the day, seven days a week,” she says. “That’s incredible to me because they rush in and take care of that patient. It’s just amazing to see the work come together for the good of our stroke patients.”

shifting priorities

At St. Dominic’s, Amber finds not only professional fulfillment but also flexibility to prioritize her personal life.

“When I started my job here in 2011, I was married, no children, and in the last five years, going through two pregnancies and evolving over time as a person, St. Dominic’s really allows me to have the family time I need,” Amber says. “I want to be able to spend time with God and just lean into Scripture so that it can lead my daily life. And I do feel like I’m able to do that here at St. Dominic’s.”

Amber’s faith is central to her life and how she sets her priorities.

“I want to do what God wants me to do. He has a plan for me, and I have a purpose,” she says. “I believe that purpose right now – in this season – is to be here and help patients and my community who are affected by stroke and to help educate and prevent the devastation of stroke.”

prioritized as a person

Feeling prioritized and heard in her work, Amber credits St. Dominic’s for its unwavering support and recognition of the importance of the stroke program.

“I feel prioritized because our stroke program is highly valued at our hospital,” Amber says. “I get the support from leadership and administration in regard to maintaining a good quality program so that our patients can get the care that they need.”

Amber says she feels heard in her work. “My supervisor is very good about listening to my issues or obstacles I’m facing in my work and trying to find a sincere solution,” she says. “That’s a great benefit because that’s not all that common.”

room for growth

Amber knows she’s exactly where she’s meant to be in her career.

“I love where I am now,” she says. “It’s the place God has intended for me right now. I don’t know what’s next, but I hope I will stay in the capacity to impact, assist, and help guide stroke care, prevention and rehabilitation.”

Amber’s career with St. Dominic’s is not just a job for her. It is where she has found a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. And she encourages others to join the team.

“We have some good things happening and good things coming here at St. Dominic’s,” Amber says. And to anyone considering a job she says, “I would encourage you to give us a shot.”

inspiration from patients through relationship

Amber’s dedication to stroke patients stems from her desire to make a difference in their lives, and she finds inspiration from their journeys.

“My patients inspire me because they just show an incredible will to overcome the problems that they face,” she says. “The problems can be so devastating, but they are able to push through every day and show those gains and improvements and return to their families. And it gives me faith and hope.”

The relationships Amber has built with her patients have made the biggest impact on her career so far.

“I hold those so close to my heart because they’ve probably made a bigger impact on me than I’ve made on them,” she says. “Just being able to help them in such a time of need – strokes are devastating – one minute you’re fine and living normally and the next minute maybe you can’t do anything for yourself.”

Amber finds great value in being able to guide patients along their journey to recovery, small steps leading to bigger steps. “Being able to support the process of giving a clot buster medication that will impact a patient and their quality of life as opposed to if they didn’t get it, that’s amazing,” she says.

listening to heal

Amber emphasizes the importance of active listening in her practice, recognizing that genuine understanding is essential for providing effective care.

“It’s very easy to look at someone, nod your head and look like you’re listening,” Amber says. “But to actually hear them and comprehend what they’re saying and make that into something of value is so important. I remind myself daily to not just think the person’s going to say one thing, but to really try to hear and not assume what they’re saying.”

Inspired to join us? Learn more about nursing career opportunities with our health system.

Get our articles delivered straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like…