In his early years of adulthood, Nick Niewohner was unsure what he would end up doing for a living, but he was always certain about one thing.
"I have always been a people person," Niewohner said.
That's why his role as a registered nurse should come as no surprise, although his road to what seems to be the perfect profession for him was hardly a traditional path.
From being a waiter to time spent learning to be a graphic artist, Niewohner eventually realized where his true calling was taking him.
It was not until his early 30s that he undertook the challenge of becoming a nurse. Being able to balance the long hours of study and work required to becoming an RN, plus being a father to two little girls and handling the trials of daily life were not easy. But he looked at those challenges as part of an ultimate journey.
"The most gratifying thing about being a nurse is being a part of someone's healing process," he said. "Maybe it was a conversation, or maybe it was just a look, a hug or a touch, but you know you have been able to help. That's why I do this."
Niewohner started working at Blessing Hospital in housecleaning. He then became an X-ray technician, working his way "up the ladder" until he found his niche, his true calling.
"There has never been a day when I have not wanted to go to work," he said. "I love what I do for a living. I'm lucky."
Family: Two daughters, Avery, 8, Lilly, 6.
Education: Quincy Notre Dame and Quincy High School, Vatterott College, Hickey College, John Wood Community College, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
How are you involved in your community? Coaching youth sports and volunteering in programs connected with various medical-related activities.
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it? Registered nurse. Being able to help people is what I enjoy the most.
What is a typical workweek like? There is no typical week. It's like a box of chocolates. You never know what will be next or what to expect.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it? When I was 15, I worked one summer for Bergman Nurseries.
How do you balance everything? I still haven't balanced anything. I'm still learning.
Which person has influenced you the most and why? My parents, Bill and Jeri Niewohner, and my aunt, Lynn Niewohner. I've been very fortunate.
Have you ever failed at something? (Care to give details? How did you recover?) I wish I would have grown up sooner, but better late than never, but "I wish I would have" is not necessarily a failure.
What does success mean to you? If you're happy, you've done something successful to make you feel that way.
What was your proudest professional moment? To know that I made it, that day I graduated (from nursing college).
What is your favorite stress buster/leisure time diversion? Music, any kind of music, but mostly hip-hop rock. Bone Thugs and Harmony is probably my favorite artist(s). Their message is always so positive.
What is the biggest need in your community? Health. Quincy is becoming an unhealthy community because of (too much emphasis) on alcohol. Diabetes is also a concern.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community? I think we're making progress with (better community health). Education is huge, with more of an accent on better health.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be? Go into nursing right out of high school.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them? I would just relax.
Do you live by any mantra or saying? "Just do it." Never wish some day that you had not tried.