Nurse completes leadership program
Less than a year into her job as director of long-term nursing care at St. Luke Hospital and Living Center, Allison Willits never expected her boss to nominate her for a leadership program.
St. Luke CEO Jeremy Ensey did just that.
“I didn’t know I was nominated until I was given the acceptance letter,” Willits said. “I was so honored.”
She graduated earlier this month from Kansas Hospital Association Leadership Institute.
Willits and her 32 classmates are future leaders of Kansas hospitals, the association says. About 30 people, including five managers, report to Willits.
“So much,” Willits said when asked whether she learned a lot. “KHA is a really good organization.”
Her colleagues in this year’s class — the 20th — came from St. Francis to Dighton and Pittsburg to Elkhart. Students had been in their current jobs for as little as a year — that’s Willits — to more than 20 years.
Students weren’t chosen because they needed to learn management skills, the association said. Rather, their CEOs recognized potential for them to become heads of hospitals themselves.
Willits has been a nurse for about 12 years ago. She’s worked in Wichita, McPherson, and Moundridge — always in long-term care.
She thought she’d go into acute care but learned she had a heart for older people.
“It was my calling, I guess,” she said.
St. Luke leadership is supportive, she said, and the employees she supervises “care about the residents.
“They love their jobs,” she said.