These days, it’s rare to find an individual who desires to stay at the same workplace for their entire career. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016 the average tenure for an American worker is just over four years. Whether due to economic conditions or worker dissatisfaction, we are likely to have about a dozen employers in our lifetime.
Not so for Sonja Lindburg, who works for the AMITA Health Marketing and Physician Referral Call Center. In 1976, Lindburg began working at Hinsdale Hospital and said, after 42 years, she has never imagined working anywhere else. Despite the many changes in health care in that time, Lindburg has remained committed to the place she believes God called her to serve. “I became an Adventist at age 15 and have been blessed to work for an Adventist institution for my entire career,” said Lindburg. “I truly believe it has made all of the difference in my life.”
Trained initially as a nurse’s aide, Lindburg started in the hospital’s psychiatric unit, and later transferred to the nursery to care for the hospital’s youngest patients. After returning to school for computer training, she became a unit secretary for the telemetry services. In decades to follow, she would act as department secretary for cardiovascular services, a nurse call operator, an executive assistant and, finally, a physician referral associate working in the call center. Lindberg said she remained adaptable and willing to take new roles to remain in a workplace where “we didn’t have to be close-mouthed about Jesus, regardless of the denomination of the people around us.”
Lindburg believes that her 40-plus years of varied experience were designed by God to uniquely prepare her for the work she is currently doing. “One of my roles is to help people find a doctor who accepts their insurance,” said Lindburg. “Because of many years of working in numerous departments, I know the lingo and how to best refer people.”
Laila Khan, a former boss, believes Lindburg is a great example of the mission in action. “Sonja is so empathetic,” said Khan, “and because of her experience and her passion for helping others, she has such a wealth of knowledge to offer people.”
Despite no longer working in direct patient care, Lindburg is confident she is still helping to carry out the health system’s mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus—especially when it comes to serving those who have difficulty accessing care. “I believe our organization exists to help people that other hospitals won’t,” said Lindburg. “I’m so very thankful that God led me here to do fulfilling work for a company that cares for people in need.”
Photo by Jim Svehla