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Jan 07
From athlete to nurse - Miller finds true calling in health care


Philip Miller helps a patient celebrate her last chemo treatment at Gothenburg Health. Miller works as a charge nurse at the hospital. 

The sky's the limit when it comes to options in nursing. 

Philip Miller can attest to that. From emergency care to oncology, he has seen and experienced nearly every aspect of the nursing profession. That's one of the reasons he chose it. 

"I like the variety," Miller said. "I never see the same thing twice when I go to work. When you're based along the interstate, you never know what's going to come in." 

Nursing wasn't initially the field he planned to go into. After graduating from Maxwell High School in 1996, Miller headed north to Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. to play football and study athletic training. 

"I had to do an internship in cardiac rehab to finish my degree, and about that time my grandpa had open heart surgery," Miller said. "The internship, along with the nurses who worked on my grandpa, really made an impression on me." 

He didn't continue his pursuit of athletic training after receiving a degree in wellness management in 2001. Instead, Miller moved back home and spent a couple years working on his family's ranch and at an appliance store in North Platte. 

Still, he couldn't get the idea of being a nurse out of his head. 

"I ended up going through the EMT program at Mid-Plains Community College while waiting to get into the nursing program there," Miller said. "EMT training got me that much closer to the medical field and taking classes through Mid-Plains allowed me to keep working and continue my education at the same time." 

He appreciates MPCC for providing him with a well-rounded experience. 

"I was as prepared coming out of MPCC's nursing program as I would have been going to a larger school in Lincoln or somewhere else," Miller said. "I spent a lot less money and still got a good, quality education. The clinicals were conducted at a bigger hospital, and the instructors were great. I felt like Mid-Plains provided a smooth transition into the workforce." 

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Philip Miller looks over his daughter, three-months-old in 2009, during her hospital stay for open heart surgery.

Miller became a registered nurse in 2006 and was subsequently hired at Gothenburg Health. He worked his way up to trauma care coordinator, and about seven years ago, began filling in as an oncology nurse at the Callahan Cancer Center in North Platte. 

"I wanted to try something out of the box for me," Miller said. "At first, I was just going to do it for a couple of years for the experience. Seven years later, here I am. I enjoy providing that one-on-one care to patients. I really get to know them because I see them at their highs and their lows. It's rewarding to watch them get better." 

That bond with patients is also what he loves about his job at Gothenburg Health. Now serving in a charge nurse capacity, Miller delegates tasks, prepares schedules and monitors admissions and discharges among other responsibilities. 

"Living and working in a small community, I get to know everybody," Miller said. "I get to see them through all chapters of their lives – from birth to death and everything in between." 

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Philip Miller celebrates gymnastic wins with his daughter, Rachel. 

And if he ever gets bored, there are options. 

"There are so many avenues with nursing – from working as a floor nurse or in the emergency room to pursuing a career in pediatrics, obstetrics or a specialty clinic," said Miller. "Wherever you are, one thing stays the same. Patients really do appreciate the care they get, and that's what fills your bucket at the end of the day. I don't think there's another job that's more rewarding."

MPCC Marketing and Public Information Office