PITTSBURG, Kan. — Amy Hite was the first in her family to attend college, and she didn’t come from a family of healthcare providers. Today, however, she holds four degrees related to her career as a nurse practitioner and educator, and is working on a fifth.
“I’ve always considered it more of an honor to be a nurse than a job, and my reason for being a nurse is closely tied to my faith,” Hite says.
Although she can’t pinpoint a specific incident or moment when she decided she wanted to go into nursing, by the time she started college at Pittsburg State University she knew it was what she wanted to do.
Today, Hite teaches full-time at PSU and works part-time as nurse practitioner at Ascension Via Christi’s emergency department. By working with both the university and the hospital, she is able to provide real world experience to her students — which she says are her favorite part of teaching.
“You know, they come to us and they know they want to be a nurse, and we help them reach those goals,” Hite says, “or when I’m working with the graduate students who are already nurses who want to become nurse practitioners, seeing them advance their knowledge, and then the benefit in our job is we get to see them in the clinical setting also, and seeing them take care of patients and interact with patients, and the growth from when they start with us to the time they graduate.”
Once her students graduate “it’s just exciting and it’s rewarding to see and hear what they do when they leave us,” Hite says. “They use that knowledge that we give them here, the skills, the experiences to build their confidence so they can go out and do amazing things.”
When she is not working, Hite is actively involved in her church, Our Lady of Lourdes, among a variety of other community groups.
“I believe it’s very important to give back to the community that you live in,” Hite says, “so whether it’s the YMCA or Lord’s Diner, I’m active with my PEO group — it’s a women’s sorority that supports education for women.”
Hite also likes to go running, and enjoys gardening and fishing, spending time each summer at the Lake of the Ozarks with her family, as well as traveling to various other destinations around the country when she gets the opportunity — often when going to nursing conferences where she gives presentations and gets continuing education.
“We do simulation with our nurse practitioner students, so we’ve done lots of presentations on that topic,” Hite says, “and I’m with a national council on professional identity in nursing, so we’ve been presenting on that. I’ve done research on altruistic reasons to do kidney donations, so we looked at some studies and presented on that at several conferences.”
Even when she’s not doing it for work, Hite likes to spend time learning new things in her free time.
“I love to learn, I love to read,” she says. “I hope it motivates my kids to see the importance of education and even our students here [at PSU] that you never quit learning in healthcare.”
Although she is originally from the Kansas City area, Hite decided to stay in Southeast Kansas after moving to Pittsburg to get her first degree at PSU in the 1990s, where she met her husband Stu Hite. Today, after earning two master’s degrees and a Doctor of Nursing practice degree, Amy is still in school in an education doctoral program where she is working on her fifth degree. Her children, meanwhile, are now teenagers attending St. Mary’s-Colgan.
When Hite got a call from the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce this fall about the Women of Distinction calendar, she first thought she was being asked to serve on a panel to review candidates, not that she had been selected as a 2021 Woman of Distinction herself.
“I was kind of blown away,” she says. “It was a complete shock and surprise to me, and I was very honored for this distinction because I know several of the ladies who’ve been selected in the past, so it was very shocking and humbling to get this kind of recognition.”
Hite says she doesn’t know who nominated her, but she wants to thank them.
“I appreciate the nomination,” she says, “and I hope to continue to do good work in our community.”