Working his way from the kitchen to a position as a certified nursing assistant, Mark McWhorter, CNA, has found inspiration and purpose throughout his 15 years at St. Dominic Hospital. And he has felt supported and prioritized every step of the way.
A Meaningful Career Journey
“I started my first job here in the hospital in the kitchen,” Mark says. “But I knew I could do more and wanted to expand.”
Ready for a new challenge, Mark transitioned to work in surgery as an assistant in the operating room, a role in which he served for four years. From there he was ready to try something new and moved into his current role as a CNA.
“As far as my journey, everybody supported me, and everyone wanted me to do better,” he says.
Recognized as Exceptional
Mark always takes time to build trusting relationships with his co-workers, patients and their families. He takes our ministry’s core value of Joyfulness of Spirit to heart, making others smile with his positive attitude and warm demeanor.
Fellow team members nominated Mark for awards to honor how he approaches his work. He was named the January 2023 Magnolia Award recipient, an award at St. Dominic’s that recognizes extraordinary nursing assistants, medical assistants or clinical service representatives who exemplify the core values of compassion, courage to make a difference and integrity.
Mark was also named the July 2023 Franciscan Service Award recipient for St. Dominic’s. Based on the living tradition of St. Francis, the award is the highest honor a team member can receive in our ministry. It is given to team members who demonstrate the highest commitment to living our mission.
Feeling Valued and Supported
Mark feels prioritized in his role and says his leaders are always open to his point of view.
“They do give me a chance to speak my mind or give my opinion,” he says. “They say we can always give it a try and if it works, good; if it doesn’t, we will try something different.”
The atmosphere and feeling of community are a big part of why Mark chooses to stay with St. Dominic’s. “This is somewhere where you actually feel like you’re at home,” he says. “And who doesn’t want to be at home?”
Mark also appreciates that St. Dominic’s helps him to grow and take on new challenges.
“They use me to the fullest extent,” he says. “I work all over the hospital and go to almost all the major floors.” Mark plans to continue to work in healthcare for the rest of his career.
Caring Through Listening
As a certified nursing assistant, Mark found his true calling — helping patients. CNAs provide hands-on care and assist patients with daily living activities under the supervision of nurses. Mark’s care helps maintain patients’ comfort, dignity and quality of life.
In this role, Mark prioritizes listening to his patients.
“To know that you can help somebody without actually even really laying a hand on them, just a conversation with somebody can make them feel better,” he says. “It makes me feel good, that I can actually help somebody, and it inspires me to help the next person as much as possible.”
Providing an open space for patients to share their feelings is something Mark regularly does for his patients during their hospital stays.
“Everybody doesn’t have an open ear for somebody to listen, so just letting a patient share about their situation, give a few inspiring words like ‘I’m here if you need me’ or ‘I’m going to do as much as possible to help you get to the next level’ — it works,” he says.
How Patients Inspire
Mark has many examples of feeling inspired by the patients he cares for, especially those who keep in touch after they go home.
“I had a patient call me and tell me how well she was doing, and she said it was because of me,” Mark says. “I told her she had to promise to go to physical rehab and do the right things, so she did. And that made me feel really good.”
The nursing assistant work has been humbling for Mark, and he says it’s a mindset that helps him approach his work as not just a job. “You know, this is life, and I love it,” he says. “I really like helping people.”
His cheerful attitude and compassionate spirit shine through his work as he focuses on his patients.
“If you can get a laugh out of them, if you can get a smile out of them when they see you and they are happy to see you because of the type of person you are, it can change your whole perspective and make you really want to work here,” he says.
Mark has been supported, challenged, inspired and prioritized in his career with St. Dominic’s, and his journey exemplifies our health system’s commitment to helping team members reach their full potential while providing care for the patients we are privileged to serve.