Alumni Spotlight: A Woman on a Mission

KU School of Nursing graduate Elizabeth Gienger has found her calling at the City Mission in Kansas City

KU School of Nursing graduate Elizabeth Gienger posing outside with the Kansas City skyline in the background.

ELIZABETH GIENGER, who earned her BSN degree from the University of Kansas School of Nursing in 2013, is finding fulfillment as the medical services supervisor at the City Union Mission in Kansas City, Missouri. The City Union Mission has provided emergency shelter, food and medical services for hundreds of thousands of homeless men, women and families in the greater Kansas City area since 1924. Gienger oversees the nursing care provided to clients.

“We have a walk-in, nurse-run clinic where we assist with evaluation and treatment within a nursing scope of practice,” Gienger said. “We also provide medication management, connect individuals with appropriate care, assist with attaining resources and collaborate with other health care organizations.”

Gienger grew up outside of St. Francis, a small town in northwest Kansas. She was raised on a farm with her mom, dad and three brothers. Gienger said her dad encouraged his children to consider the possibility of a career in health care. She had always found the human body and the study of health fascinating and was eventually drawn to nursing. Gienger said she was thrilled when she was accepted at the KU School of Nursing.

“The KU School of Nursing excelled at giving me the base I needed to further my career as a nurse,” Gienger said. “I found the hands-on experience provided through lab and clinical to be extremely valuable.”

One of the clinical rotations Gienger had her senior year of nursing school was a populations-based clinical course, which was taught by Vicki Hicks, MS, APRN, a clinical associate professor at the KU School of Nursing. During the course, Gienger was assigned to a rotation at the City Union Mission.

“Throughout the 7-week rotation, Elizabeth demonstrated compassion, humbleness, dignity and respect while serving one of the most the vulnerable populations in our region,” Hicks said. “She completed the population assessment assignment by sharing with the clinical group her caring and understanding of the health needs of an often-forgotten population in the Kansas City area.”

After earning her degree, Gienger worked as a nurse at The University of Kansas Hospital. She said it was a great first job and even on hard days she would leave work knowing she had been challenged to grow as a nurse. But when she saw her dream job at the City Union Mission posted, she jumped at the chance.

“To me, community health nursing is important because it allows a health care professional to be a resource that’s easily accessible to people in the environment that they’re currently in.”