Grad Spotlight – Kelby Perry

Kelby Perry hopes to bridge the gap between hospital administration and nurses. "It goes back to making sure they have the resources that they feel they need to do their job and provide clinical quality care."

Kelby Perry is not your typical accelerated BSN student. He already has a Master’s in Health Administration and a career at MU Health Care in the OR (operating room). It was the birth of his two children that led him to change his trajectory and return to school with the goal of making a broader impact on the health care system.

“Both of my children had significant health issues at the time of birth. Having a very personal experience with health care and seeing the impact that nurses made on our family led me to become more interested in the clinical aspects of my job,” explains Perry.  While familiar with the administrative side of things, he feels that adding clinical knowledge and combining those two sides of health care will allow him to positively affect both patients and the ones who care for them.

Perry chose the Sinclair School of Nursing accelerated BSN program because it allowed him to complete a Bachelor of Nursing in a much shorter period compared to the standard four-year bachelor’s program.  He attributes his ability to communicate, plan and prioritize as key to putting him on a path to success and he says it’s critical for students, like himself, who may be coming back for a second degree and continuing to work. He also said his wife and supervisor at MU Health Care were instrumental in his ability to juggle school and career. “My wife has taken on a lot over the last couple of years. Really her support means everything,” he elaborates, “And my boss’ willingness to be flexible was crucial. I could not have done it without his support.”  

Perry also gives a huge thank you to SSON and his class colleagues for their support. Impressed at the aptitude of both his instructors and classmates, he remarks, “This program is one where students can learn and come out of the program fully prepared to work as a nurse and care for patients.” And while sometimes he may have felt out of place with his peers, he wants to assure others that regardless of age, they were more alike than one might think as they were all experiencing something together for the first time and learning as a team.

While Perry says his passion is still in OR, he has enjoyed the ability to participate in many different parts of health care. “You have the opportunity to work on different floors and different units and throughout your career as a nurse, you’ll continue to grow and learn.”

He particularly enjoyed his practicum assignment at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute and commends his nurse preceptor, Jessica Wasmann, for coaching him in skills he was already familiar with and giving him opportunities to explore new competences. “Even if it wasn’t our patient, she helped me out a lot by coordinating with the other nurses to allow me to go in and learn skills that I expressed interest in, he states.

Often Perry found himself having beneficial discussions with nurse leadership about the inner workings of the hospital. Topics of staffing, workflow processes and administration reminded him why he looks forward to partnering his nursing degree with a career in hospital administration. “That’s what it’s about. You’re working on caring for the patient and providing clinical quality care,” he explains, “But you have to consider how that care is being given because it goes back to your staffing and making sure they are engaged, making sure they have the resources that they feel they need to do their job and provide that level of patient care.” Clearly an advocate for both patients and nurses, we predict Kelby Perry, BSN ’22, will be a cornerstone in relationship building between nurses and hospital administration.

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