For Millie Sexton, all roads have led back to the Good Samaritan Society. The long-time nurse spent the early years of her career working at the Society’s Brownsville, Texas, location. Decades later, she’s doing interim work at various Society locations.
Millie and her husband retired seven years ago and Millie went into interim nursing three years later.
“I do one or two travel nurse assignments a year,” says Millie.
RV’ing around the country
As retirees, Millie and her husband have made an RV their home and often travel to areas where they can pursue their favorite hobby – hiking. One of their favorite destinations is Big Bend National Park in Texas, where they go in the winter.
Although they like to stay in areas where the temperature is moderate, they were open to Millie taking an interim assignment at Good Samaritan Society – St.Vincent’s in Bismarck, North Dakota, because it was summer.
North Dakota was also appealing because of its proximity to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks – some of the places they’ve wanted to visit.
Finding her calling as a nurse
Nursing wasn’t always Millie’s dream, but her mom was a licensed practical nurse and one of her great aunts was a nurse anesthetist. She convinced Millie to change her major to nursing.
After graduation, Millie started her career in a hospital emergency room. She then began taking shifts at the Society’s Brownsville location and worked part-time until she was offered a full-time job.
This started her lifelong career in long-term care.
“I loved working in a nursing home in the Hispanic culture,” says Millie. “My mother taught us to love and respect the elderly.”
She began as a charge nurse at the Society before moving to staff development.
In that role, she remembers how progressive the Society was to invest in staff development at that time because most competitors weren’t.
“It impressed me that a company was going over and above to educate staff to provide good care,” says Millie.
Millie stayed in staff development until the director of nursing became ill and didn’t return. She took the interim director of nursing role for a time and her co-workers convinced her to apply for the permanent job.
She remembers being the only registered nurse in the building and uncertain if she had enough experience, but the other nurses kept encouraging her.
“I did apply and, with the guidance of some great LPNs, I got the DON role,” she says. “We still exchange birthday and Christmas cards and talk about Good Sam. And we still have a few special patients that we remember.
Eventually, Millie and her family moved to Waco and then Houston where there were no Society locations. But she stayed in long-term care and worked her way up to chief nursing officer overseeing 20 nursing homes.
She credits the Society and her wonderful co-workers for her success.
“Thank goodness Good Sam gave me a chance,” says Millie. “I’m thankful for the nurses who said, ‘Take the job, we’ll train you.’”
Grateful for the Society’s consistent care
When Millie began taking interim roles with the Society, she remembered what drew her to nursing in the first place. She likes the feeling she gets when she makes someone’s day better.
“With just a little bit of kindness, you can change someone’s day,” says Millie.
She’s also delighted to return to an organization that still lives out its values.
“I’ve been very, very pleased because the philosophy of the company has not changed since the late ’70s – so that’s a good feeling,” Millie states.
She loved working for the Society as a younger person and still has many good memories of her time with the organization. Today, she continues to appreciate the mission.
“It’s very satisfying to see a company put resident care first,” Millie states.