There are a lot of things about Jennifer Pesola, D.O.’99, an otolaryngologist physician with Affiliated Community Medical Centers (ACMC) that you might not know. You’d never know she was in and out of the hospital because of a rare bone disease as a young child. Or that those early experiences with the medical field were life-changing for her. They ultimately shaped her decision to one day pursue a career in medicine.
“As a child, you don’t really want to be in and out of a hospital. You want to be outside playing or hanging out with your friends. In so many ways I’m thankful I had that experience, because it led me to my interest in medicine at such a young age,” she said.
Going into medical school, Pesola had a strong interest in pediatrics. She’s always loved kids so it made sense. But one of her last rotations changed everything. She worked with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician, and she quickly learned how much she liked the surgical side of medicine, too. Being an ENT doctor gave her not only access to the operating room, but also the chance to work with the kids she enjoyed so much.
After her residency at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI, Pesola was hoping to get back to Minnesota. She and her husband both had family in the Twin Cities area. But as she started to look for opportunities in the Twin Cities, she realized her heart wasn’t there. She wanted the chance to work somewhere with less traffic, where she could spend more time with her family. When she saw an opening for an ENT doctor in west central Minnesota, she knew it could be exactly what she was looking for. Now she’s been living out that childhood dream as an ENT specialist at ACMC in Willmar.
“Everyday is different. One day may be in the operating room at the Willmar Surgery Center with clinic in the afternoon. The next day I may be in clinic all day. Some days I work out of Rice Memorial Hospital or Redwood Area Hospital. But the one thing that doesn’t change is getting to work with people of all ages, particularly kids. I love seeing someone leave my exam room happier and feeling better,” she said.
As much as she loves what she does in the clinic, with two young boys at home — ages five and eight — she enjoys the flexibility of working at ACMC and living in a community like Willmar.
“Willmar was really attractive to me,” Pesola said. “It wasn’t too far from our family, but it had the lifestyle I wanted. Plus I didn’t have to spend my days sitting in traffic. It gave me the chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do as a doctor, but to be there for my family. My boys are young and really active. I don’t want to miss out on this time with them, but I couldn’t imagine not being a doctor, either.”
Fortunately, she doesn’t have to choose between two of the things that mean the most to her — her family and her patients.
This article was originally published on DiscoverACMC.com and is republished with permission.