Mineral Wells Index
By TYLER MASK
Choosing a career might seem like one of the hardest moments in anyone's life. From finding what will suit one's economic needs to job satisfaction, a vast gamut of factors exist. But sometimes all variables are taken out and a career picks the person.
Palo Pinto General Hospital Dietician Shane Clack did not know what he wanted to pursue until life got in the way, which ended in him pushing back.
Clack was born and raised in Weatherford, where he and his family live to this day. He graduated from Weatherford in 2005 with a class of nearly 800, he said. After graduating, Clack went to Texas Tech.
Throughout his college career, Clack switched majors more times than he can recall.
“That's why I have like 147 hours,” Clack said comically.
Clack accrued two minors – almost three – because of all his switching. His two and a half minors were in Exercise Sports Science, Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management, and Math, respectively. However, by his junior year, he knew what he had to do – nutrition.
At one point in his pre-collegiate schooling, Clack was faced with an eating disorder, which he carried to the university. During this time of turmoil, a dietician was a great help to him.
“Everyone says the cliché, 'I just really want to help people,'” Clack said. “But the reason I really got in is because I have battled with an eating disorder my whole life. I went to a dietician who helped me a lot. A dietician is on that fine line of being a counselor, too, because food and emotions are so closely [tied] together.”
Although Clack graduated with his Bachelors in nutrition, he waited a while before pursing his Masters in nutrition and ultimately joining his current field.
After leaving Lubbock, Clack returned home and continued working at Starbucks, a place he worked throughout college. During Clack's period between degrees, he even got his Emergency Medical Technician Certification.
“At that point, I didn't know what I wanted to do,” Clack said. “I was kind of in limbo about, 'Do I want to do an internship? Do I want to do something else?'”
Nevertheless, Clack eventually went after his Masters of Science in Nutrition, which wasn't easy.
Clack had to spend eight months away from his pregnant wife in 2012 to take on an internship in Oklahoma.
“It was really hard. We found out she was pregnant in January, and I left in January. So I was gone eight months of her nine-month pregnancy. I tried to make it down for the big appointments – gender revealing and things like that.”
Once the internship was completed, Clack came home and finished his Masters. Currently, he is working on his PhD in Nutrition.
Prior to his arrival at PPGH, Clack worked a few PRN nurse jobs in the Metroplex and hadn't really considered a rural hospital. A mixture of things led to Clack heading out to Mineral Wells for work.
Between the long commute and the big-city feel, he wanted to change things up a bit.
“I really got tired of the drive,” Clack said. “When I was working on my Masters in Denton, I had to drive to Denton everyday from Weatherford. It was a beating.
“In the Metroplex, it's a lot different than a rural hospital. It got to be very corporate. I really wanted something with a hometown feel.”
While searching for alternatives, Clack's wife, who is also a dietician, mentioned PPGH. Consequently he got online, and as fate would have it, PPGH's dietician had just left. Clack jumped on the opportunity and landed the job.
At first, Clack had a few concerns about the fit since he was from a metropolitan background, but his fears quickly subsided.
“I was concerned because everyone here knows each other. They've lived in Minerals Wells – things like that. But after they really got to know me, it was great. I have made tons of friends here. It's more homey and family [oriented].”
In May, Clack will have been with PPGH for a year.
“I was kind of just blessed to be able to come out here,” Clack said.