Jeffrey Parsons Joins Smith Center Memorial Hospital Staff


SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Soon, patients will see a new face around the hospital. Jeffrey Parsons joined Smith County Memorial Hospital staff this summer pending completion of his nurse practitioner program. He has since passed his board exam and is awaiting licensure. He will start seeing patients as soon as the paperwork is finalized.

“Jeffrey is an ideal addition to our team,” said Allen Van Driel, CEO of the hospital. “His experience in an emergency room and natural leadership abilities make him a good fit for the next step in our ER transition.”

Parsons earned an MSN-FNP from Simmons University in Boston while working as an RN at Hays Medical Center. He has experience in inpatient, outpatient and ER settings. Parsons worked in sales and owned his own business while his wife was in nursing school and it was while watching her that he became interested in a career in healthcare.

“My mother, who is an RN, told me even as a young child that I should be a nurse practitioner,” Parsons said. “I never thought it would be something I would do.”

When his wife completed school and began working as an RN, Parsons started his education to become a nurse practitioner.

“I worked as a CNA in inpatient care while becoming an RN and then worked in an ER during my master’s program,” Parsons said. “My wife has given me full support throughout the process.”

Parsons credits his wife and three children, ages 14, 10 and 4, with keeping him motivated. While working as an RN, Parsons got to know Perry Desbien who encouraged him to consider the opportunity at SCMH.

“I became aware of the hospital when Perry was interviewing,” Parsons said. “I wanted to see for myself what Perry was saying about Smith Center. I was inspired by the innovation and forward-thinking ideas of the staff. The providers made me feel welcome and I knew it would be a good fit to begin the next stage of my career.”

Hiring Parsons is the next step in the hospital’s transition to full-time nurse practitioners covering the ER.

“Hospitals who have moved to this model are seeing a lot of success,” said Ferrill Conant, the chief medical officer at SCMH. “It can reduce wait times for patients, give more satisfactory care to patients and support providers by giving them better balance between a clinic practice and emergency room needs.”

A change in the care model has been in the works for several months. Earlier this year, Desbien joined the staff and began providing emergency coverage and clinic support. A total of three nurse practitioners will be needed to fully complete the new model. Parsons is the second of the three.

“We are very excited by Jeffrey’s passion and what he brings to our ER,” Van Driel said. “As we work to improve and advance care for our patients, we want to bring the right people on board. Our providers are a special group and work as a team to take care of our patients. We take that very seriously when we consider a new provider.”

The providers share Van Driel’s sentiments, looking forward to what this means for patient care.

“ER coverage requires good communication both in the moment of an emergency and beyond to the providers who will see that patient at follow up appointments or in the hospital,” Conant said. “Trust between providers is so important and I know Jeffrey will be an asset to our team.”

Parsons is looking forward to the challenge of the new role.

“I have always enjoyed working in the ER,” Parsons said. “Meeting someone on what might be their worst day and helping them make it a better day has always been rewarding. I look forward to developing relationships with our patients and collaborating with the other providers to take care of our communities.”

Parsons and his wife have moved to Smith Center and their family of five has already started getting to know the area.

“My wife and I were drawn to Smith Center from the moment we visited,” Parsons said. “We felt like it could be home for us. We were instantly greeted by neighbors with open arms and we look forward to immersing ourselves into the Redmen culture and going to as many of the sporting and school events as we can.”

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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