A Heart for Rural Health Care

Leslie Luke receives School of Nursing and Health Studies Alumni Achievement Award
leslie luke headshot

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni with an awards celebration. The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies is honoring Leslie Luke (M.S.N. ’00) with its Class of 2022 Alumni Achievement Award.

For Leslie Luke (M.S.N. ’00), independence, family, rural health care and getting to know her patients have been the driving forces behind her unique health care career.

You’ve forged your own way in nursing opening your own practice, what drove you down this unique path?

I was inspired to form my own practice, the Care Clinic in Maryville, Missouri, after several years working as a nurse in hospital settings and private clinics. I earned a master’s degree in the UMKC Family Nurse Practitioner program, which helped provide me with the breadth of experience needed to run a comprehensive clinic.

Through the Care Clinic, I’m able to provide a wide variety of services to the rural community. I treat infants to seniors for any number of health care concerns from diagnosing sore throats and ear infections to anti-aging and nutrition options.

Your practice is in rural northwest Missouri, why was it important for you to provide more health care options to that area?

It was important for me to provide my rural community with an independent health care option outside of the larger group networks that were available. In a rural area, you need to be able to see anyone that walks in the door. I wanted to bring that option to patients in my area.

It’s the closeness I have with my patients that makes rural health care unique for me. You really get to know the patients, their families and lifestyle.

What are your proudest accomplishments and what challenges have you encountered along the way?

The longevity of the Care Clinic is one of my proudest accomplishments as a practitioner, with the clinic going on 15 years providing care to the Maryville community. I also appreciate being my own boss, but that didn’t come without its challenges.

My greatest challenge was learning the business side of things. But my greatest reward was the flexibility to stay involved in many of my children’s activities.

What words of advice would you provide other nursing students interested in following your path?

If you have an independent spirt and may want to branch out on your own as well, make the most of your education. Make sure to take some business classes and get a wide variety of nursing experience.

I enjoyed the flexibility of the online aspect of the program but it was also very meaningful when we were able to come to campus once each semester. That was one of my fondest memories about my time at UMKC. I loved meeting all the other FNP students with our in-person classes.

About Alumni Awards

Join us in honoring Luke and the other Class of 2022 awardees at an in-person celebration at 6 p.m. April 29, at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center. To register, visit UMKC's Alumni Association website. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate to student scholarships, contributions can be made online.

Learn more about School of Nursing and Health Studies

Published: Mar 3, 2022

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