Master of Science in Anesthesia

Student Profiles


Kayla Hickey
Kayla Hickey
Hometown: Blue Eye, MO
Class of 2019
College/University Attended: College of the Ozarks
Undergraduate Major: Biology and Psychology
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

I have always resided in southwest Missouri, so I was extremely interested in staying in Missouri. Looking at other AA schools around the country, I was attracted to UMKC based on the small class sizes. My hometown is one of the smallest in the state of Missouri, and I came from an undergraduate college that boasted around 1,200 students. A small class size means more opportunities for the students and more one-on-one help available. UMKC offers great resources available to all students in the medical school like the simulation lab and the health sciences library. While taking a tour of the school in college, I was introduced to these resources and was very impressed with the simulation lab, especially its ability to offer awesome, hands-on experiences before I even stepped into a real operating room.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I have enjoyed the overwhelming support offered by everyone at UMKC. All of the professors, preceptors, and faculty at UMKC always convey how much they are here for your success. It is a transition from undergraduate study to graduate study, but UMKC makes the transition seem easy. UMKC offers a great support system and always reminds you that you can and will succeed.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

I’m pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist assistant because I love the option of being a mid-level practitioner with a specialization in anesthesia after 2.5 years. I LOVE being in the operating room all the time, and I love the adrenaline rush that anesthesia provides. The fact that I can potentially have a balanced work and personal life is also an attractive aspect of this career.



Jason Laughlin
Jason Laughlin
Hometown: Waynesville, MO
Class of 2019
College/University Attended: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Undergraduate Major: Biology
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

Coming from a small town, moving to Kansas City for my undergraduate career was a big step for me. I did not really know anyone in the area, but quickly meshed with the city and the people here. Kansas City is very welcoming, and the people on and off campus are very friendly. I attended UMKC for all four years of my undergrad and really wanted to continue my education here. UMKC has given me so many opportunities to become involved and to get a great education. With that, I knew that I wanted to continue my education at UMKC School of Medicine for the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program. I really liked that the class sizes were small, giving more opportunity for hands-on experience. I also received some great advice from current students that supported my decision to apply for this great program.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I really enjoy the opportunity to be able to learn in the classroom and to take that knowledge to directly develop skills through skills lab and real-life clinical experiences. The didactic and clinical instructors are very supportive and put an emphasis on helping students learn and succeed in both settings to become great members of an anesthesia care team. I also enjoy that the small class size allows us all to come together and work as a team. It allows a comfortable setting when going through first year classes together. Everyone is very supportive and assists one another when any struggle comes along. In this program, everyone wants you to succeed and goes above and beyond to make sure that will happen.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

Coming to college, I was a pre-medical student. I shadowed physicians in many different specialties, but never really found what I was looking for in a possible career path. Around my junior year, a colleague of mine who was currently going through the MSA Program explained the experience and profession to me. I went and shadowed an anesthesiologist assistant for the first time and instantly knew that this was the profession for me. What really fueled my interest was the collaboration not only with the anesthesia care team, but with many other interdisciplinary teams in a surgical setting. I also enjoy the fast pace and ever-expanding advancement of anesthesia. Lastly, the knowledge basis, empathy, and professional skills I observed in the anesthesiologist assistants I followed was unprecedented. My goal was to find a program leading to a profession where I can continually improve myself both professionally and personally. I know that having a career as an anesthesiologist assistant will help me to reach my goals.



Elizabeth Gambill
Elizabeth Gambill
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Class of 2018
College/University Attended: Missouri State University
Undergraduate Major: Cell and Molecular Biology
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Science in Anesthesia?

The MSA program at UMKC really stood out to me because of the early clinical exposure, small class size, and 100% job placement and NCCAA pass rate. I am originally from Kansas City and the idea of coming home to further my education in a community that I love was very appealing. Ultimately, it was the glowing feedback from a former UMKC MSA student about the facilities and instructors that made UMKC the best choice for me.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

The Clinical Training Facility is a wonderful asset that UMKC offers to MSA students.  It exposes students to instrumentation, techniques, and situations that will be seen in the OR, but in a controlled environment. The instructors in this program are highly skilled and truly care about our success in our classes, skills lab, and the OR. The small class size is great because of the great support system I feel from my classmates and the personal attention we acquire from the instructors that has exceedingly enhanced my learning experience.

Why are you pursuing a career as an Anesthesiologist Assistant?

Throughout my undergraduate career, I knew I wanted to work in the medical field. I came across the occupation of anesthesiologist assistant by working in the surgery department and was immediately intrigued. Anesthesiologist Assistants have a challenging, yet very rewarding career. I liked the hands-on nature of the job and the idea of being part of an anesthesia care team in the OR. While surgery personnel are exposed to surgical and anesthetic circumstances every day, the patients that come in may have no experience in a hospital whatsoever, and may be scared or anxious. As an anesthesiologist assistant, I will have the opportunity to help make these patients feel more comfortable and confident that they are in good hands, while providing high quality care.