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Destination: Capturing Nursing in St. Louis

Located along the St. Louis riverfront, the world-famous Gateway Arch represents the city’s historical role as the “Gateway to the West.”

But multiple hospitals and specialty centers, top schools, and affordable living also make St. Louis a gateway for nursing and healthcare careers. With a population of about 3 million that includes part of Illinois, the St. Louis metro area is home to more than 40 hospitals and healthcare facilities and nine nursing schools.

“There are incredible nursing opportunities in the city of St. Louis and the St. Louis metropolitan area,” says Leslie Porth, RN, MPH, vice president of health planning for the Missouri Hospital Association. “St. Louis has a tremendous amount to offer. It has state-of-the-art technology and research and cutting-edge academics in the heart of the midland.”

Kathy Kreitner, RN

Major hospitals in the St. Louis area include Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. John’s Mercy Medical Center and St. Anthony’s Medical Center. Christian Hospital, the VA Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo., and Illinois-based Gateway Regional Medical Center also are part of the St. Louis area healthcare community. Two hospitals in the area, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, have been recognized as Magnet facilities by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Barnes-Jewish Hospital recently made U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll list of Best Hospitals, ranking No. 9 nationwide.

“Our surgeons are so well-known in the community,” says Kathy Kreitner, RN, BSN, CNOR, staff nurse in the orthopedic operating room at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “This is a place where people want to learn and the place that they want to compare themselves to and hold themselves to the same standards that we do.”

Melanie Johnes, RN

Local nurses say education and professional development are significant focuses at their facilities. Partnerships between schools and hospitals in St. Louis, as well as tuition reimbursement, help make career growth and advancement for nurses easier.

Lisa DeVore, RN, is pursuing her BSN through a partnership with Central Methodist University and St. Anthony’s Medical Center. The program allows her to take online classes, as well as courses at St. Anthony’s, where she works as a staff nurse on the telemetry unit.

“Their instructors come to us and teach us,” DeVore says. “I just love that. It’s a big incentive to go back to school.”

Jason Williams, RN

Melanie Johnes, RN, CCRN, says she appreciates the encouragement and support St. John’s Mercy Medical Center offers nurses to move forward in their careers. The hospital’s “I Care” program allows nurses to sit down with supervisors and discuss where they want to go professionally and how they can reach their goals, says Johnes, a staff nurse working in the tier float pool in adult critical care.

“I love St. Louis,” Johnes says. “I feel like [St. Louis] has that small-town charm with that big-city perk. There’s a strong sense of community even though it’s a large metropolitan area.”

In addition to activities including nightlife, sporting events, and family fun, the city offers easy accessibility to multiple hospitals and a public transportation system with light rail.

Leslie Porth, RN

“It is a great place to start your career,” says Jason Williams, RN, BSN, ICU manager for Christian Hospital. “There’s a lot of opportunity to grow in St. Louis.”

A smaller community hospital, Christian Hospital doesn’t treat obstetric or trauma patients, Williams says. But the hospital’s ICU includes an open-heart unit and coronary care unit, Williams says. Christian Hospital is the only hospital in Missouri to score in the top 10 of the Joint Commission’s four Core Measures. This means the facility does well at treating patients with congestive heart failure and other heart conditions.

“We’ve got two great heart surgeons here,” says Williams, who recently was named Nurse of the Year by the hospital. “We don’t want to be just very good, we want to be excellent.”

Shared governance also is a priority among hospitals in St. Louis. Local nurses say their workplaces are open to suggestions to help them do their jobs better and deliver quality care to patients. A shared governance committee is in its early stages at St. Anthony’s, DeVore says.

Many hospitals and health systems in St. Louis are looking toward the future. St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, the city’s only Level 1 trauma center, is building a children’s hospital slated for completion in 2010, Johnes says. The facility opened a heart hospital in 2006.

In January 2010, St. Anthony’s will start an electronic records initiative to help streamline documentation and increase consistency and continuity, DeVore says.

Even with large hospitals, numerous schools and abundant opportunities, the “small town meets big city” feel of St. Louis makes it even more appealing to nurses.

“Being in the healthcare field and working in various hospitals [in St. Louis], you really get to know people,” DeVore says. “It’s like a small community.”

By | 2020-04-15T15:04:09-04:00 September 7th, 2009|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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