The Importance of Caring – My Journey into Health Care: Chantel Sempek

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, November 2019

Chantel Sempek was always drawn to health care.

She was interested in the caring aspect of health care, because she was inspired by her mother who has been an RN for more than 40 years.

“I learned from a young age how rewarding a career caring for others could be,” she said.

But despite her admiration for her mother’s career choice, Sempek knew a career in nursing or another type of direct patient care was not for her. Needles and blood make her lightheaded.

So, out of high school, Sempek decided to get a degree in agriculture education with an emphasis in leadership. Her plan was to pursue a career in extension, because 4-H had been such an important part of her life when she was growing up.

But despite Sempek’s plan to go into extension, she found herself working in public health instead. Sempek got a position managing a cancer awareness and immunization program that focused on educating the public. She enjoyed how the position allowed her to connect community members to the resources they needed to make better health care decisions.

The position also helped Sempek realize there was a place for her in health care after all.

“As I began working in public health, I found I was passionate about health care and discovered all of the possibilities available in health care that do not involve direct patient care,” she said.

That’s what led Sempek to her current position as physician relations representative at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) – a position she has held since December 2018.

In this position, Sempek grows physician referral business, works on physician retention, and overall, works to ensure that physicians are satisfied in their work and have everything they need to care for patients well.

To do this, Sempek meets with physicians and office staff and is their main point of contact for any questions or concerns they want to share with the hospital team.

Sempek also acts as a valuable resource for new physicians who are hired by the hospital or physicians who are coming to the area to provide their services. She helps familiarize them with the layout of the hospital and introduces them to department directors and physicians inside and outside of the hospital.

The work is all about communication and making connections – areas in which Sempek has plenty of experience. Sempek said her agricultural education degree helped her learn many communication skills, and her years in public health taught her how to connect people to the resources they need.

However, despite her training in these areas, Sempek has also been grateful for the support she has received from CCH since she has taken on this job.

“CCH has provided me the opportunities to learn and grow as a health care professional. I have had opportunities to shadow in several of the clinics to better understand the physicians and the clinic processes,” she said. “They have provided the tools and resources needed for me to be successful in my role.”

Though Sempek initially thought there wasn’t a place for her in health care, she is happy she found a home in health care at CCH.

She encourages people who are interested in health care – but do not think they are meant for direct patient care – to explore the other opportunities health care provides.

“You do not have to be a nurse or doctor to be passionate about health care and serving your community,” she said. “There are many wheels in the hospital that keep us rolling forward and they are all important.

For more information on Sempek or how CCH creates a positive working environment for physicians, visit http://www.columbushosp.org