Leanne Cates

Leanne Cates

Leanne Cates works twelve-hour night shifts three times a week in the intensive care unit at North Kansas City Hospital. During her shifts, Leanne typically cares for two patients, but life as a nurse means each day if different from the last.

“Every shift is different depending on the needs of my patients. I take care of people with all different diagnoses,” Cates said. “The best part about nursing is every day is different.”

Leanne graduated from Belton High School in 2017, where the foundation for her interest and achievements in nursing began. Belton High School prepped her for nursing school by allowing her to earn college credit and take AP classes. She enrolled in the University of Central Missouri ahead of the game.

“Belton has a lot of teachers that genuinely care about each student as an individual, which is very encouraging.”

After graduating nursing school in May 2021, Leanne entered a field reeling from the stress of COVID-19. She started her career in the intensive care unit (ICU), which was also being used as a COVID ICU at the time. It was a challenging first year that led to many lessons learned and an assessment of why she pursued a career in nursing.

“I feel like many nurses want to help people on their worst days. That is originally why I pursued nursing. But as a new nurse, I realized it was so much deeper than that,” Cates said. “I could be the last person my patient talks to, or I can provide the worst news to a family. While this can cause a lot of heartache, being graceful and kind to a patient and their family encourages them to keeping going another day. It is important to remember our ‘why.’ It will help you get through challenging days as a nurse.”

Leanne’s journey to becoming a nurse was partly supported by Cass Community Health Foundation donors and contributors. She received a health care scholarship from the foundation all four years of college. The scholarships helped her focus on her education rather than the stresses of paying for school. Now that she has kickstarted her career, Leanne can reflect on what those scholarships meant to her.

“Donations to potential health care workers are such a blessing. School is very challenging and scholarships like these have such a positive impact,” Cates said. “I am beyond thankful for the donors who contributed to my scholarships. My gratitude will never be enough.”

Cass Community Health Foundation provides scholarships to individuals from Archie High School, Belton High School, Midway High School, Drexel High School, Grandview High School, Harrisonville High School, Heartland Christian School, Pleasant Hill High School, Raymore-Peculiar High School, Sherwood High School or Training Center Christian School interested in nursing or other health related degrees. The deadline to apply is March 1. Visit for more information about the scholarship program.