What makes a hero? Determination, motivation, resilience, purpose and the desire to help—to name a few. When it comes to working in medicine, the latest SDAHO Healthcare Hero embodies all those characteristics and more.
Meet Jesse Gates, a CNA at the Sanford Vermillion Medical Center. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Minnesota, the Pierre, SD, native returned to his home state to “begin a career not only in a meaningful field but also in a meaningful location. I’m so grateful and lucky for the chance to come back and serve a place I care about deeply.”
Colleague Isabelle Lehman sees Jesse’s passion for his work every day. “Jesse is a widely loved nurse aide on the floor at Sanford Vermillion PCU. He is known as a kind, polite, helpful person who puts his patients’ needs before his own. Jesse has gotten compliments from several patients about how he takes the time to form a relationship with them.”
That connection is what Jesse appreciates most about his job. “By far the most rewarding thing I have discovered is the bond I get to build with the patients. I love being someone they can depend on. I think the strongest part of medicine isn’t a pill but the connection we share. Everyone gets sick eventually, and I love being part of the connection that heals them.”
Passion like that isn’t always easy to find. When asked what inspired him to start a career in medicine, Jesse explained that compassionate healthcare hits close to home. “My biggest inspiration comes from my mother’s short- and long-term battles with chronic autoimmune disease. She came very close to dying several years ago. The strong emotions I felt during those few months of fear is what caused my drive to pursue medicine. My goal is to go further with my education, to learn more so I can help prevent the fear of uncertainty in medicine for some else’s mom.”
Jesse is taking the first step to do just that, interviewing at medical schools to become an MD eventually. He chose this specific path because he thinks “being a leading member of patients’ care teams is where he can do the most good.”
“Jesse has applied to medical school this year, and we at Sanford Vermillion know that he will make an excellent physician someday.” – Isabelle Lehman
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