Kansas City has long been dubbed the City of Fountains. But for nurses, Kansas City and its surrounding communities are known as places of opportunity, education, and competitive pay.
Straddling the Missouri and Kansas borders, the Kansas City metro area is comprised of 15 counties, almost 2 million residents, and about 20 hospitals, according to the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association. The area also is home to top-notch nursing schools and community colleges.
“There’s a ton of opportunity,” says Chris Wilson, RN, BSN, branch director for Favorite Healthcare Staffing in Kansas City, Mo. “It’s pretty much just whatever you want to do, you can do. Also, there’s competitive pay in this area because there’s so much variety.”Serena Stutzman, RN
In addition to affordable living, local nurses tout the endless research prospects and cutting-edge practices the community offers. “Because of the number of universities and healthcare facilities, there’s many opportunities to [attend] professional seminars and services,” says Cheri Hunt, RN, MHA, NEA-BC, vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer for Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. “You can get a lot of good information locally.”
Many nurses who work in the Kansas City area also find the abundance of continuing education options appealing. Nearly a dozen schools exist in the region. With hospitals often providing incentives such as tuition reimbursement, Kansas City area nurses are encouraged to develop their skills, Wilson says.
“I get the impression from the hospitals and the different healthcare systems in the area that continuing education is a must,” Wilson says. “They really seem to stay on top of it. It is a major metropolitan area so we have to be able to handle whatever.”Shannon Tucker, RN
Several projects benefiting nursing education and the nursing workforce are under way in Kansas City through an initiative of public and private partnerships called OneKC WIRED. Funded by a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant, the program includes a clinical faculty academy to increase the number of clinical faculty in the region. The initiative also provides financial assistance for new clinical faculty, as well as a nurse mentorship program. Training and refresher courses also are available.
“One of the things OneKC WIRED did is they looked at ‘How can we support the development of the healthcare industry?’ ” says Diane Trimble, RN, MSN, Magnet coordinator for Saint Luke’s Hospital. “It provides an opportunity for everyone to access these resources regardless of where you are in your career. It supports healthcare in Kansas City.”Diane Trimble, RN
Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., the flagship facility of 11 regional hospitals under Saint Luke’s Health System, was recognized in 2004 as a Magnet designated hospital. Magnet hospitals provide an environment where nurses are well-supported and allowed to grow professionally, Trimble says. Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., also have received Magnet status.
“There’s some world-class hospitals in this area,” says Libby Ling, RN, who works with Favorite Healthcare Staffing and does three shifts per week at North Kansas City (Mo.) Hospital. “There’s just a lot of opportunity, and yet the cost of living is very good.”Libby Ling, RN
This might be the perfect time to work as a nurse in Kansas City, according to Serena Stutzman, RN, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC. As president of District 2 of the Kansas State Nurses Association, Stutzman says leaders from Missouri and Kansas are discussing how healthcare can be best provided to their constituents.
“I think nurses can definitely be involved in that dialogue,” says Stutzman, who serves on the Kansas State Board of Nursing. “It’s just an exciting time. It’s exciting to see what nurses can do and how they can provide excellent healthcare to patients even during economic recessions.”Shanna Martin, RN
Born and raised in Kansas City, Shannon Tucker, RN, MSN, MHSA, NE-BC, manager of nursing services and Magnet designation for North Kansas City Hospital, says she can’t imagine herself anywhere else.
Shanna Martin, RN, BSN, shares that sentiment. As a traveling nurse for Favorite Healthcare Staffing, she leaves two or three times a year to work in other states. Kansas City healthcare facilities compete with West Coast hospitals, she says. The area’s metropolitan atmosphere and location can’t be beat either.
“I wanted that big city feel,” Martin says. “I love the fact that we’re so centralized. You can get anywhere quickly.”