Sanford Health nurse: “It’s about helping people”

Sanford Health Nurse, Vince Goettle, speaking with a patient in exam room

As a patient, many of us rely on nurses to listen to our concerns and offer advice to get better. At Sanford Health, nurses work alongside physicians to talk with patients and make sure they have the correct medications and instructions for a speedy recovery.

Sanford Health has close to 30,000 employees across its footprint. About 6,500 of those employees are nurses, and more and more men are going into the nursing field. Male nurses now make up 9 percent of the force.

One of them, Vince Goettle, enjoys spending time with his family and sinking triples on the basketball court. He also enjoys taking care of patients at the Sanford Pain Management Clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota.

“Once I got into nursing and started doing it, the whole feeling of helping people really inspired me to keep going with it,” he said.

When Goettle was a kid he wanted to be a farmer. But times and aspirations change and suddenly he was in his freshman year at Bismarck State College and realized he should probably consider what he wants to do when he graduates.

“I knew there was a good opportunity for jobs and stuff in medical anywhere in North Dakota,” he said.

So Goettle went into nursing. He’s been a nurse at Sanford Health in Bismarck for nine years. He started as a nurse in oncology before joining the pain clinic.

“Seeing that patient come back and seeing that satisfaction of something that’s helped them, whether it’s an injection that has helped or a medication, it’s always a good feeling to see them feeling better,” he said.

In college, Goettle was outnumbered in many of his nursing classes.

“It’s different. You still get the few people who look at you like, ‘Oh geez, you’re a male in a female position, you know.’ That’s just how it’s always been labeled,” he said.

But Goettle is putting a new label on nurses. He says being a nurse is about helping people.

Nursing school gives you book knowledge, Goettle said. “And once you get out into the real deal, it’s always kind of a shocker of the things you see and do, and you’re kind of the one that has to make some decisions,” he said.

Decisions that give some patients a second lease on life.

“You can see that betterment in some people that come in with this thought of where do I go from here? They’ve gone to their primaries and different doctors and just kind of they got this referral to the pain clinic and they have all of this pain and can’t work. And just helping someone with their pain and them coming back and saying, ‘Man, I was able to go back to work and I’ve been able to do things I haven’t been able to do,’” Goettle said.

And that satisfaction is what brings him back to work every day.

Sanford Health’s more than 6,000 nurses care for pediatric, surgery, hospice cancer and OB/GYN patients. There are also nursing positions available through Sanford’s Air Ambulance Service, AirMed. Sanford Health also has a variety of incentive packages available for qualified applicants.

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