Carol Slieter Reclaims Independence through an Optimistic Outlook
Carol Slieter grew up on a dairy farm in Luverne, Minnesota. She loved the farm and loved the animals. Carol said she learned “the importance of hard work” by helping her family complete daily chores. She remembers it being a nice place to come home to.
When Carol graduated from high school, she moved to Granite Falls to attend a one year medical secretary program at a technical college. This was her first experience being independent and managing her own money. Upon graduation, Carol got a job as a receptionist/bookkeeper at Pipestone County Hospital, she felt accomplished. “I liked my independence.”
Carol moved from Pipestone to Sioux Falls and eventually moved permanently to Mankato. Carol continued to seek out positions in the medical field. She had always been interested in health. Carol felt the medical field allowed her to learn more about herself and about other people.
While Carol held a job as a nurse’s assistant, she was in a car accident that required her to change positions. This new challenge did not stop Carol. With faith and motivation on her side, Carol went to get her AAS as an Administrative Medical Secretary and spent 19 years as a medical transcriptionist for Mayo Health Systems in Mankato. What she enjoyed most about working as a transcriptionist was feeling “like part of a team.” Carol’s passion was in the medical field and this allowed her to feel fulfilled by being able to support others, be it through transcription or direct care.
In January of 2013, Carol was no longer able to work as a medical transcriptionist due to complications from a surgery, which left her with loss of use in her left arm. This was not only a professional struggle, it was a personal struggle where Carol had to relearn how to go about her daily living. It was difficult for Carol to leave her position at the hospital since it was rewarding for so long.
When she came to Life-Work Planning Center, there was an uncertainty of what Carol’s next step in life was, which made it hard for a seemingly positive Carol to be upbeat and optimistic. This transition was difficult for Carol; her value and worth had been defined through work, which she later realized that was “not a good thing.” This is when a good friend and co-worker told her about Life-Work Planning Center. Carol said this is where she “blossomed and learned to love me for who I am.”
Since attending workshops, Carol has learned how to take care of herself. She has begun setting healthy boundaries and understands that she is a “worth-while person” and “has a lot to offer the world yet.” Just because she was no longer able to transcribe, did not mean she was unable to make an impact somewhere else. Carol’s attitude is one that stands out amongst peers. She has overcome adversity and through these challenges, she has managed to remain optimistic and in turn affect others with her positivity.
Carol said in the workshops she felt safe sharing her thoughts and feelings. She had learned from other women, was able to problem solve with them, and supported each other. Support, camaraderie and faith have helped Carol move forward and embrace new challenges. Carol remembers writing a timeline of significant events that made her think of the ups and downs in her life. Carol said “Looking back had helped me realize how strong I was and how my experiences have served a greater purpose.” She had learned the importance of recognizing how strength in herself and faith had helped her remain positive and strong.
With an optimistic attitude and much self-determination, Carol has displayed enormous amounts of resilience through her volunteer work and in her daily life. Carol is now able to be of service to others in a way that truly is fulfilling by reaching out to those in need, through volunteering her time at the Salvation Army and being a companion to those at Keystone Assisted Living. Carol took on the task of creating a personal mission statement, which included touching people’s lives through kindness, compassion and faith. “Beauty comes out of ashes. Being with people and loving people is what I am all about. Now I can do it!”
– Sarah Torvick, Peer Counselor