Krishelle Ivory ’10 knew early on that she wanted to work with kids. What she couldn’t decide was whether to be an educator or a nurse.
Ultimately, nursing won out, though, with a grandmother who was a nurse and a grandfather who was a doctor, health care comes pretty natural to her.
Now, she works as a nurse practitioner for a St. Joseph’s Care Clinic at Avila University, and, in some ways, her desire to be an educator is influencing how she takes care of her patients.
After graduating from Graceland’s Lamoni campus in 2010 with a health degree, Ivory moved to Kansas City and pursued her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the Independence campus, completing her nursing undergraduate education in 2012. She also began working at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, pursuing that goal of working with kids.
“When you’re working with kids, sometimes you’re working with patients who are born into a health situation that they can’t control, so you’re educating the parents on how to maintain that child’s health,” she said, comparing it to her current work with patients of all ages. “As an adult, your health is on you. I want the best health for you, but ultimately, you have to want it for yourself as well.”
As a nurse at Children’s Mercy, Ivory worked on a med surgical floor, often with children who had issues with their respiratory system. She remembered one incident with a child who suffered from cardiac arrest, which was ultimately fatal, but the nursing team was able to keep the child alive a few days longer than was expected.
“After the child passed away,” Ivory recalls, “his mother came to the hospital and found me and gave me the biggest hug. She told me how much it meant to her that I was his nurse and how much she appreciated getting just a little bit more time with her child.” The child’s mother gave Ivory a memento of their time together that serves as a constant reminder.
In her career, Ivory’s mantra is pretty straightforward: “I just want people to feel their best.”
“If you come to me and tell me what’s going on, I want to fix it,” she continues. When I’m working with kids who aren’t feeling their best, I try really hard to get them to be themselves again.”
Ivory recalls some advice she received from one of her Graceland instructors that has stuck with her in the years since: “’It takes a nurse to save your life.’ I am the eyes at the bedside for the doctors. I assess and must have the knowledge to point out when something doesn’t seem right. That has stuck with me throughout my career,” Ivory said.
“People come to me not feeling their best. I’m here to be a voice for them, to be an advocate for them, to get them back to feeling their best. I’m going to be diligent about that. I take this very seriously. My patients trust me.”
Her work ethic and perseverance can be tracked back to her time at Graceland, where she played soccer, served on house council and, in her words, “participated in everything she could.” The experiences she had at Graceland have stayed with her, helping her to organize and manage her time through the busy schedule that she keeps. Ivory completed her master’s in nursing in 2018 and is looking forward to taking a well-deserved break from school, for a while at the very least.
Ivory loves exploring new restaurants in Kansas City and traveling around the globe with her husband, but, no matter how far from Graceland she travels, it always goes with her. Last year, while in Amsterdam, Ivory ran into a Graceland graduate who turned out to be the sister of one of her soccer teammates. “The Graceland community is strong,” Ivory laughs. “We as a community just need to keep growing and embracing others. Graceland forever.”
The job placement rate for students who have completed Graceland's nursing program.
The number of nurses Graceland has graduated since the baccalaureate nursing program began in 1969.
*Data provided by the Graceland University Institutional Research Office