Estel Stewart, better known as “Stew” by his peers started his career at IU Health working as a staff nurse in the organ transplant unit. He then worked in the emergency department before moving into the role of a clinical manager for Riley Hospital for Children. He’s also worked as a nurse recruiter at Methodist.
But coming to Simon Cancer Center as the clinical manager of the hematology/oncology inpatient unit has brought him full circle. It was cancer that first sparked his interest in a career in nursing.
“I was probably about 10 or 11 when my Grandma Young was in the hospital with colon cancer. She used to always say, ‘pray for the nurses and ministers,’” says Stewart, 41. At a young age he saw how the nurses weren’t shy about caring for his grandma. They weren’t afraid to touch a stranger.
That nurturing spirit left a lasting impact on Stewart. His interest continued on into high school at Terre Haute South, when he felt his support network grow.
“One thing you acknowledge growing up, is that it isn’t just members of your family who influence you, it’s your expanded community – your aunts, uncles, and all the people who had a hand in raising you. I see that as a form of a debt that I get to pay back by growing into my profession,” said Stewart. His dad worked in a factory and his mom was a homemaker. They both pushed Stewart and his siblings – two older sisters and one younger brother – toward successful careers. One of his sisters, Gwen McIntyre, is also a nurse at IU Health working in day surgery.
More about Stewart:
What he likes best about nursing: “Nurses provide dignity in moments where dignity is lacking. There are times when a patient’s body is failing and looking them in the eye and seeing them as a whole person and not just a sick person is powerful and a privilege.”
Something few people know about him: “I’m dyslexic and I battle it every day. As a kid it was a struggle. I think if you talked to my teachers they’d be surprised I am where I am today. It’s because of my disability that I’ve been able to work harder. I used to think of it as a crutch, but now I look at it as a pole vault. It’s forced me to flex skills I may not otherwise have used.”
His Hobbies: Spinning, yoga, biking on the cultural trail and trying new restaurants.
— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.