Our People

Why I Came, Why I Stayed: Hannah Wieger Found the Family She Needed in Her Career at Methodist

Published: Dec. 28, 2023

In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care. To explore career opportunities at Methodist, visit bestcare.org/jobs.

Hannah Wieger, OTR/L, CLT
Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Nebraska Methodist College
Occupational Therapist, Methodist Hospital

Tell us more about yourself and your background.

At Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), I teach evidence-based practice for medical model, occupational therapy (OT) courses and all fieldwork-related courses. As the academic fieldwork coordinator, I work with the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students to determine their strengths and interests for Level 2 Fieldwork and facilitate placement at our partnering facilities. 

As an occupational therapist, I also pick up a shift or two a month in the acute hospital environment. Through my PRN position, I’m able to maintain clinical skills and expertise, facilitate practical assessments for NMC students with rehab patients, and maintain relationships with my previous hospital coworkers, whom I adore! 

I also coordinate the Methodist Equipment Loan Program. This team effort is successful because of the strong relationship between the hospital OT staff and MOT students at the college, as well as the support of Methodist Hospital Foundation.

My husband, Mike Wieger, is director of mergers and acquisitions at Carson Wealth. He is the left brain to my right. We have two sons, Emmett, 7, and Harrison, 6. As a family, we spend most of our free time engaging in outdoor adventures and youth sports – with Mom and Dad often coaching! We love going to my parents’ farm in rural Nebraska to ride four-wheelers and play with cousins. We also love time at the park, hiking, traveling within the U.S. and playing board games and card games if forced to be inside. 


Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?

When I graduated with my MOT, Mike was still in law school, so I was seeking a full-time job with benefits. At the time, I’d always thought I’d be driven to pediatrics, but after a challenging Level 2 Fieldwork rotation in a city I was unfamiliar with and without the support of family, I decided what I needed most was a “family” in my first career. 

When I interviewed with the Methodist Hospital rehab team, I was attracted to the feeling of culture and encouraged by the way the team treated me and each other. The rehab space was brightly lit, and patients were out of their rooms smiling and engaging with each other. Multiple therapists popped in and out of treatment sessions to say hello and get to know me. Sarah Cockle, the rehab director, had scrubs on at the time, and I recall her sharing with me that she loves patient care so much that she continues to help out with patient treatment sessions. Everyone I met and interviewed with genuinely loved their job; it wasn’t a show put on for me. 

Once I began working, that sense of community and family only grew. The team supported me through passing my board exam while working on a temp license. Many of them came to my wedding just four months after I started here. There were so many opportunities to be welcomed into the Methodist family in that first year. I learned from everyone on the team and had opportunities to treat patients in the inpatient rehab unit, acute care and lymphedema management. This helped me maintain and grow my skills in patient care! 


What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?

When I applied for a position at Methodist Hospital, I didn’t necessarily know what The Meaning of Care was. Now that I’ve been working for Methodist for a decade, I know that it’s simply the most meaningful and genuine care and support a person could ask for. 

While working at the hospital, I was encouraged to grow as a therapist and take advantage of certifications, opportunities and interests I developed along the way. My director encouraged me to pursue a lymphedema therapy certification and supported me in finding one close to home when I was just five months postpartum. When I brought up the idea of the Methodist Equipment Loan Program, I was simply asked, “How can we help?” Then I was given the resources I needed to begin providing free medical equipment to our patients and later our community. 

My coworkers and I never had to worry if we would be granted PTO for our kids’ sporting events or last-minute family time. Methodist understands that in order to provide the best care to our patients, we must put our families and our relationships first. The Meaning of Care extends not only to our patients but also to employees. We’re a family. 

When I transitioned to academia, I told myself that while I loved educating students and considered it to be the next step in my professional development, I would transition only within Methodist Health System. I wanted to continue to be part of The Meaning of Care. While considering the transition, there was another example of the love I felt from my superiors. Sarah Cockle allowed me to adjust my shift time to begin as an adjunct instructor at the college while I considered if becoming a professor was the right move. One of the best parts of this transition to NMC was that the program director at the college was also a previous hospital employee! There is a clear love for Methodist in every team I’ve been a part of. 


Do you have any favorite memories from your time at Methodist?

I have so many great memories from my time at the hospital and in my current role at NMC. I loved our monthly lunch celebrations at the hospital – it felt like holidays with the family every single month. We celebrated a number of births, weddings, promotions and even some lost loved ones, and every team member contributed and gathered to support each other! I’m fond of the moments leading up to the opening of the Methodist Equipment Loan Program and times I spent sharing the program with the Foundation and presenting to the board of directors.

At NMC, I have fond memories of attending conferences with the MOT faculty, especially with the support I’ve received from the institution to attend and present at national OT conferences. It’s been a joy to share many “aha” moments with students and watch as they grow into professionals. The culture of celebrating the victories big and small continues at the college. While the students continue to come and go, each of the MOT cohorts becomes part of the family, and I’m grateful for the support and love I receive every day from my coworkers.


Have you had a mentor or colleague who made a difference for you?

I’ve had so many mentors in my various roles, from outpatient lymphedema training in wound care to the lead occupational therapist on rehab sharing treatment ideas! My current program director, Melissa Kimmerling, has made a huge difference in my professional journey. She has never stopped growing as an occupational therapist and furthering the OT profession, and she’s encouraged me to do the same. She recognized in me a desire to develop programming, support students and engage in professional presentations – and she taught me to take those leaps of faith. My OT education offered me the skills to be an excellent practitioner, and I’ve utilized evidence-based practice and continuing education to refine those skills. But if it hadn’t been for Melissa, I don’t know that I would have ever known I had the capacity to build my own short course that I would present nationally, or engage in research, or take on a coordinator role in fieldwork, etc. Those are skills I didn’t receive from my education, but instead through having amazing mentors and support from Methodist.


What should people know about Methodist, its mission and/or its culture?

When you’re a Methodist patient, you’ll be treated like family. Even when you have to be hospitalized or stay in a rehab facility, the staff will make those hard times brighter with their love and care. As an employee, you’ll always be supported and encouraged to care for yourself and your family first so you can provide the best patient care.

We all believe in The Meaning of Care. As an example, look no further than the annual Caring Campaign. My departments at the hospital and NMC have always had 100% participation. That’s a testament to the fact that Methodist employees believe in the mission and vision of the health system and support its success!