Our People

Why I Came, Why I Stayed: Mary Keitel, who’s retiring after 46 years, says Methodist is the best place to work in Omaha

Published: May 28, 2024

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.


Mary Keitel, RD, LMNT
Diabetes Educator
Methodist Physicians Clinic – Diabetes and Endocrinology


Tell us more about yourself. 

I currently am a diabetes educator with Methodist Physicians Clinic – Diabetes and Endocrinology. Prior to moving to diabetes education in 2017, I spent 39 years at Methodist Hospital, specializing in enteral and parenteral nutrition (I was the first nutrition support dietitian specialist in the city of Omaha). With that specialty, I also did public speaking for and helped to plan and sponsor educational seminars and conferences all over the country. I was featured in some national educational videos, and I published a few articles and newsletters for the Veterans Health Administration and several nutritional formula companies. In 2000, I had chance to add the title of chief clinical dietitian to my duties, and I began managing the clinical dietitians and dietetic technicians at Methodist Hospital. This also entailed helping with the planning and implementation of the clinical nutrition services for Methodist Women’s Hospital when it opened in 2010. 


Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?

It was 1978, and I was looking for my first job as a brand new dietitian fresh out of my internship in Detroit. My fiance was from Omaha, and I was able to come visit all eight very large hospitals at the time and drop off my resume. At Methodist, the food service director, Roy Butler, took the time to interview me on the spot. I went home to Ames, Iowa, and awaited results. The very next day, I got a call from Methodist Hospital offering me a job!


What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?

Over the years, I had several offers for positions at other facilities, but I always felt like my blood ran blue and I could never really entertain the idea of leaving Methodist. The support of the leadership in the system and the employee culture was such that I always told people, “Methodist is truly the best place to work in Omaha.” Starting with the first president of the hospital I worked for – John Estabrook, whom I knew on a first-name basis from my first year here – until I finally decided to retire after 46 years, I have always felt that this was my home.


Do you have any favorite Methodist memories?

There are SO many! But I think that being recognized by my peers in the medical profession here (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, social workers and others) and becoming personal friends with so many of them over the years has provided me with VOLUMES of memories!


Tell us about a mentor or colleague at Methodist who made a difference for you.

Again, there are too many to mention by name. But another administrator besides John Estabrook who had a great impact on my career was John Fraser. These are the leaders who are responsible for the culture at Methodist that has always set us apart as a workplace.


As you retire, do you have any advice for others?

It has been my greatest honor to be a Methodist employee for 46 years! As you struggle through the difficult times, don’t forget: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence until you get there and find out it's AstroTurf!