Kimberly Metz grew up idolizing her grandmother, a dietitian for a nursing home. “I remember helping her at work sometimes and watching her make life easier for people,” says Kimberly, who grew up in the small farming and timber town of Mossyrock, Washington. “From that point on, I knew I would become a teacher or nurse.”
Kimberly started out as a CNA and an LPN, and earned the ADN in 1997. She joined the organization where she had completed her clinicals and preceptorship, Capital Medical Center. A 110-bed, full-service hospital that is part of RCCH HealthCare Partners, the organization serves Olympia and its surrounding communities.
Building a career
At Capital Medical, Kimberly had many opportunities to try new things. She started in the intensive care unit and after about a year, began picking up additional shifts in the emergency department and as the administrative supervisor. After several years, she began to manage the ambulatory, endoscopy, and pain management clinics and develop and open a bariatric surgery program for Capital Medical. In 2004, Kimberly became Capital Medical’s director of medical/surgical/oncology and cardiopulmonary and cardiac rehab services. She also served as director of education for one year.
Education to secure her future
Along the way, Kimberly had completed a specialization course in critical care, but knew she needed to further her education to ensure she could compete for management positions. She earned a BSN and an MSN in leadership and management at Walden University in 2013 and 2015, respectively. In the meantime, she had become the director of the intensive care unit.
After graduating from the MSN program, Kimberly started thinking about getting a doctorate. When her friend and colleague at Capital Medical completed her MSN at American Sentinel University, Kimberly convinced her to do so together. “I basically told her she was doing it with me!” Kimberly laughs. The friends did independent research on Doctor of Nursing programs at each of their MSN alma maters and decided that American Sentinel was the best fit. Kimberly started the DNP Executive Leadership in August 2015.
A personal ambition
Admittedly, Kimberly says a doctorate wasn’t a requirement for her job at Capital Medical. “It is a personal goal of mine to get a terminal degree,” she says, adding that she was the first person in her extended family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. “The DNP gives me a different perspective. I’ve worked in an administrator role and have been exposed to a lot of what I’m learning in classes, but this is giving me such a broader outlook on why things happen in a healthcare organization and the process behind them.” Kimberly will graduate in February 2018.
A new year, a new job
Kimberly spent almost 20 years at Capital Medical Center, but an opportunity to do something different came her way in the fall of 2016. As of January, 2017, she is a nurse consultant for the Washington State Department of Health, a role in which she completes state licensure surveys and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services surveys throughout the state’s hospitals.
“I was ready to challenge myself,” Kimberly says. “Healthcare is in a state of flux right now and resources are right. I believe that as a surveyor, I now have the chance to help ensure that patient care provided is safe and of the highest quality. Kimberly now travels around the state surveying hospitals.
Taking a long-term view
One day, Kimberly would love to teach. “I serve on the boards of two nursing colleges and it’s something I want to do down the road,” she says. Pursuing the DNP has been very worthwhile. “The DNP at American Sentinel has helped me change my practice and understand why I do what I do,” she says. “The university cares about me personally and really does want students to succeed. I’ve enjoyed the capstone, the chance to meet people from all over the country through the residency, and the opportunities that the DNP will bring. I don’t know what those will be, but I now have the credentials to move forward.”
Inspired by Kimberly’s story? A DNP with a specialization in executive leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in the healthcare system. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.