While growing up in Traverse City, Alexandria Bower-Nelson often found herself drawn to caregiving roles, frequently volunteering at long-term are facilities. But she didn’t imagine having her own medical career someday.
“Instead, I dreamed of being an advertising executive and going off to Los Angeles,” she said. Her early focus lay in the direction of management and business, and she even studied for a time in London and Paris.
However, while in her early 20s, her views changed significantly when the prospect of a successful professional life in the field of medicine suggested itself.
The result is that Bower-Nelson now is an experienced physician assistant working alongside Timothy Kwiecien, M.D., and Matthew Ralph, D.O. at Oaklawn Medical Group — Pain Management. The office is situated in Suite 2C of the Wright Medical Building at 215 E Mansion St., and appointments may be made by calling (269) 789-4386.
Bower-Nelson said she always has associated the realm of healthcare with comfort and familiarity.
“My parents worked at Munson Healthcare in nonclinical roles,” she said. “After school, my sister and I would take the bus and wait in the hospital cafeteria for my parents to get off work. We were very comfortable there.”
Despite that familiarity, Bower-Nelson continued to pursue her initial business goals even while helping out as a volunteer at local nursing homes.
“It was always easy for me to talk to people and be outgoing,” she said.
After graduation from St. Francis High School in Traverse City, Bower-Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Midland-based Northwood University in 2010. She went on to earn a master of business administration degree in management from the university’s DeVos Graduate School in 2011.
Meanwhile, Bower-Nelson’s younger sister was pursuing her own interests, derived from her talents in math and science. Those skills led her toward medical school, where she now is completing her residency.
“Just seeing her go through that and sharing her experiences, I became more interested myself,” Bower-Nelson said. “I left my business job, took an entry-level position in phlebotomy and discovered that I loved being on the clinical side of things.”
After a recruiter suggested Bower-Nelson’s background in management training would serve her well as a medical provider, she enrolled in Dallas, Pennsylvania-based Misericordia University, graduating in 2020 with a master of science degree in physician assistant studies.
Bower-Nelson comes to Oaklawn from Novi-based Theoria Medical Group, where she served its skilled nursing facility as a physician assistant. Her clinical experience includes emergency medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine and general surgery.
Bower-Nelson and her husband, Matthew Nelson, reside in Portage. They married in 2017 and are the parents of 1-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
“We love to spend time on lakes up north — Lake Michigan and Torch Lake,” she said. “We enjoy boating, exploring lighthouses and waterfalls and looking for new walking trails.” The couple also enjoy playing board games, including complex ones involving strategy and resource planning.
Bower-Nelson is particularly pleased to be joining a health-care organization such as Oaklawn.
“If you need to speak to someone here, you can walk up the stairs and talk to them face-to-face,” she said. “That’s not something you get much anymore.”
Despite Oaklawn’s relatively small size, patients also can expect exceptional service at Oaklawn, she said.
“Oaklawn is on the cutting edge in many ways, including my own field of pain management,” she said.