Kymm (Elliott) Ehler
Allen College Class of 1999, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Obstetrics and women’s health have always been my passion. In May of 1999, before I graduated, Covenant Medical Center had a labor and delivery position posted. I applied hoping to land the highly coveted position. I interviewed, was offered the position, and accepted the offer! Now, I just had to pass boards…no pressure. I passed boards on the first attempt, completed orientation to the unit and was off and running as a labor and delivery nurse where I stayed for 11 years. During that time, I got married, had four children, and survived metastatic breast cancer that had spread to my liver. In 2007, after my cancer treatments and surgeries were finished, I decided if I could make it through that, I could make it through a Master’s in Nursing (MSN). For the next two years, I continued to work full-time, take care of my family, and earn my MSN through University of Phoenix. My ultimate goal was to work in leadership. With the limited number of leadership opportunities within OB in the Waterloo area, I decided I needed to get more experience outside of obstetrics and I needed to leave my RN-LD bedside nurse position. I accepted a position at Kirkwood in the nursing department and helped oversee the clinical aspect of the nursing program. During that time, I was commuting to Cedar Rapids and decided I needed to be closer to home.
My next career stop was as the manager at Iowa Hospice. I learned not only about end of life care, I also had a fantastic leader who exhibited amazing skills in the way she communicated and her prompt follow-through. Due to some changes within the organization, I started looking for other leadership opportunities. I was fortunate to return to Covenant as the Director of Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). This position focused on population health and ensuring care across the continuum. I was able to help shape this role and build the department. I was very happy with what I was doing and my team of colleagues.
After working in the PCMH director role for six years, my ultimate dream job opened! Never in a million years would I have thought the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Covenant (now MercyOne) would become available. I applied, interviewed, and was offered my dream job! For the past 2+ years, I have been working as the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services and Ambulance Services at MercyOne. Learning the ambulance side of things has be eye opening. I am enjoying my career and am happy with the choices I have made in order to be prepared for my dream job that I never thought would be possible.
What led you to pursue your education at Allen College?
I was in my 3rd year at UNI in the Interior Design major. It hit me one day that I needed to do something that made an impact on people. Don’t get me wrong, having an aesthetically pleasing space impacts many; however, I needed something more. I was driving in my car and heard a radio ad for Allen College. I thought, “Huh, why not? Nursing would be impactful.” I was enrolled to start at Allen College fall 1994 and the rest is history.
How did Allen College help prepare you for where you are now?
Allen College prepared me to be confident, autonomous, and a team player. Without these qualities, I would not be in a leadership role.
Hobbies or interests?
I enjoy creating paper quilled art. I have learned that Color Street nail polish is an obsession of mine. I enjoy camping with family and reading fiction to help balance the non-fiction that I live every day.
What advice would you give to current Allen students?
- Work hard – compared to a life span, college is a short amount of time that could impact your entire career path. Give it your all.
- Nursing offers the most diverse options of any profession. Find your passion!
- Strive for your goals and don’t ever give up – your dream job might become available.