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Career Change Leads Former MLB Pro to MNU

Rings from Zach Kroenke's MLB days.
Student & Alumni Stories
Zach displays the championship rings from his MLB career.

Former MLB Pitcher Zach Kroenke changed his life and that of his family with a degree from MNU. 

The path of one’s life has a way of twisting and turning. For Zach Kroenke it has done just that.

Zach, a 2017 graduate in nursing, hung up his baseball cleats in 2015 to pursue something different. He chose nursing as the career to follow up his stint in Major League Baseball. That’s right; this former pitcher who played for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Marlins, and Nationals left the mound for a new calling. For Zach, it was all about family.

When it was just he and his wife Lindsey, the two could travel together. But when their first son was born, Lindsey felt the need to be settled. 
“I missed a lot of firsts being on the road,” Zach says. “Next thing I knew, a couple of years had gone by, and I had only seen my son a week here and a week there.”

Finally, after ten years in MLB, and with the arrival of his second son, Zach and his wife made the decision that he would be done with baseball. It was Lindsey’s turn to follow her dreams and pursue her own career.

This shift in family life brought the Kroenkes to the Olathe area. Lindsey had a connection in Kansas City because of a previous job, and she was able to take a position on the administrative side of nursing, something she had always dreamed of doing. 

Zach learned of MNU’s one-year accelerated nursing program from the supervisor on the surgical floor at University of Kansas Medical Center who was in the BSN program, and her boss who was in the Master of Science in nursing at MNU. Both of them had nothing but good things to say about the programs and the school. It didn’t hurt that it was ten minutes away from his house either.

When asked about why he chose the accelerated route, Zach admitted that he was just the type of person who enjoys a challenge.

“I have always enjoyed being pushed and testing my limits. That’s how I’ve always done things, like with baseball,” explains Zach.

Zach at his job at KU Med.

His work ethic paid off, and he graduated with his nursing degree in 2017. He was able to continue working at KU Med, and now serves as a nurse in the new Neuroscience and ENT building. In his current role, Zach works with top-of-the-line equipment used to explore the brain and how it is affected by seizures. He also monitors patients who have experienced a stroke or need special attention to maintain their airway. 

Zach’s experience at MNU prepared him well to step right into this role. Perhaps one of the most valuable tools in the MNU program was the simulation lab. It was here that Zach practiced handling patients presenting with difficult issues, something he faces often in the real world. 

“You will undoubtedly run into people who are difficult and upset at a certain diagnosis or are in pain, and you are the person in front of them. It was in the simulations that I got to use different techniques to help people when they were upset,” explains Zach.

Zach hopes to seek an advanced degree, either a Master of Science in nursing or a Nurse Practitioner. But for now, he is happy to be at home with his wife and three sons, enjoying his new career in nursing. 

Accent Summer 2020
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Summer 2021

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