EAU CLAIRE — Ember Ewings loves being able to see how her work turns out. Especially when she sees her patients smile.
“I feel really blessed to be able to do this job and to be able to do it here,” the Bloomer native said.
What she does is make children and adults feel better about themselves. She works out of the Marshfield Clinic in Eau Claire and is the area’s only female plastic surgeon.
The shortest procedures may take only 10 minutes; the longest and most complicated, six to eight hours.
For each one of them, she has to maintain her focus on the surgery. That can be wearing, but also worthwhile.
“It’s a fun thing to do, as a surgeon, to help people and realize your gave them their quality of life back,” Ewings said.
Some of what she takes to work everyday she learned growing up on a farm in the town of Bloomer, 10 miles north of the city of Bloomer.
Just a mile away
She said the family farm run by her parents, Tom and Jackie Ewings, was just a mile away from her grandmother and an aunt.
“We were always close to our extended family,” she said.
When Ewings was 10, her father decided to sell the dairy cattle and switch to beef cattle and crop farming.
“My parents were always, ‘Think for yourself. Make your own decisions,’” she said.
From them, she learned to show respect and be polite to others. She said that has kept her steady, knowing who she is and where she is headed.
After graduating from Bloomer High School in 1996, Ewings studied at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.
“I chose that because it was a smaller town and a smaller college,” she said. Being there meant she could do a lot of different things.
She also was drafted by her college roommate into being in charge of the community page of the college newspaper. To this day, she uses her copyediting skills to correct mistakes in communications.
“All of these details become a part of you,” she said.
Ewings took art classes, enjoyed dance lessons and took part in theater in musical ensembles.
“All of this while I was doing my pre-med studies,” she said.
Ewings had decided to go into medicine at age 16. She credits the late Dr. Merne W. Asplund, who was one of the founders of the hospital in Bloomer, as being a strong influence in her wanting to pursue medicine as a career.
She went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine of Public Health, and completed her residency at St. Louis University School of Medicine. She joined the Marshfield Clinic in August 2010.
She enjoys working with children, saying they are so resilient when they are faced with obstacles, such as having a cleft lip.
“We see so many kids who do well and overcome in their lives,” Ewings said.
One of the most common surgeries she performs is breast reduction. She is amazed how many women continue to endure back and shoulder pain before having a procedure that can reduce pain and allow them to stand straighter.
“I think a lot of them don’t know such as thing can be done,” she said of breast reduction.
Ewings said there is a stigma attached to plastic surgery. “It’s kind of considered to be a vanity,” she said.
Others fear pain or are concerned at how long it would take to recover from surgery. While it can be a hard decision, Ewings has seen people’s lives improve after getting surgery.
“I really think this is a wonderful career,” Ewings said, noting that where she works, there is a great commitment to take care of people.
“I feel that God brought me to this place for a reason,” she said.
Ewings said the Chippewa Valley has a beautiful environment, with lovely, respectful and hard-working people. She said she’s been able to keep an eye on her goals, and keep true to what she feels in her heart.
“If you have a commitment to do your best, you’ll be fulfilled when you wake up in the morning,” she said.