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Why I Came, Why I Stayed: More than 25 years later, Methodist Hospital still feels like home for speech-language pathologist Amy Hessel

Published: April 11, 2024
 Amy Hessel

In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care.

Amy Hessel, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Methodist Hospital


Tell us more about yourself.

I’m an acute care speech-language pathologist. I diagnose and treat a variety of speech, language, cognitive, communication and swallowing disorders. I met my husband, wound care nurse John Hessel, at Methodist years ago, and we have two kids in high school. Our kids’ activities keep me busy as a mom, and I love watching them compete. 


Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?

I began my time at Methodist Hospital in August 1997. I was a second-year speech pathology graduate student completing a 16-week externship. It was a small department back then, with two full-time therapists and a few PRN therapists. I worked primarily on the rehab unit but also saw patients on the acute care floors and in outpatient therapy. I had an amazing clinical supervisor (Mary G.) and worked with an awesome multidisciplinary team. It immediately felt like family. 

I vividly remember the last day of my externship. I teared up as I said my goodbyes to everyone on the fourth floor. It was hard to leave. I finished my last semester as a preceptor in a high school, and a month before graduation I accepted a job in Indiana at an acute care hospital. Days later, my old supervisor Mary called me and asked if I would be interested in taking a part-time job at Methodist. I was thrilled she asked, but I felt that I had to decline as I had just accepted the other job. 

I shared with my parents the sadness I felt in turning down the opportunity at Methodist. My dad asked me: If I had been given an offer by both hospitals on the same day, which would I choose? Without hesitation, I responded Methodist. He encouraged me to make the difficult call to politely decline the position in Indiana and to accept the job at Methodist Hospital. Over 25 years later, I’m still here. I think I made the right decision! 


What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?

Methodist has always felt like my home away from home. Our department has continued to grow over the years, and I work with some pretty amazing people. We are truly a family. As a speech pathologist, I get to work on every unit of the hospital and with many different disciplines. The friendliness of our staff is second to none. The people here are what make it so special. One of the most amazing things that sticks out to me about Methodist Hospital is the staff retention across the board. The number of people I worked with back in 1997 who are still here today is astonishing. There’s something to be said about that. 


Do you have any favorite Methodist memories?

Some of my favorite memories at Methodist stem from the patient and family interactions I’ve had over the years. Countless patients have become etched in my heart forever. 

I have many fond memories with colleagues, too. They include our old-school rehab softball team, therapy sand volleyball leagues, countless wedding celebrations and a team celebration at our boss's house. However, if I had to pick just one, it would be my trip to Nashville for VitalStim therapy training with my coworker Lauren.  We learned a lot and had a great time. 


Tell us about a mentor or colleague at Methodist who made a difference for you.

My colleague Lauren took me under her wing early on and helped shape me into the therapist I am today. She taught me valuable skills over the years, especially with the head-and-neck oncology population. But what sticks out to me the most is her urging me to look at the big picture when helping a patient and family determine goals of care pertaining to swallowing.  She helped me understand that it’s not a black-and-white decision, and that the whole person needs to be factored in when making it. This shaped my approach to swallowing therapy and dysphagia management. 


What should people know about Methodist?

Methodist exudes The Meaning of Care. When you’re a patient at Methodist Hospital, you’ll be treated like family. Our care team is top-notch. There’s no other facility I’d rather receive care from.