Kristen Ernsperger has been in the healthcare sector since 1999 after graduating with an associate degree in nursing from Mercy College of Health Sciences. She started her career as a registered nurse. In 2007, she became a nursing supervisor (Mother-Baby unit), and after five years in that position, she became a clinical resource nurse (Mother-Baby unit). In 2017, Ernsperger became the Director of Nursing (Mother-Baby and OB Flex units) at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. Throughout her years in the field, she continued to learn in the classroom, earning a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing. Where at the beginning of her career she was patient-focused, she says her job now is "to work for the nurses, make sure that they are supported and have what they need so that they can take care of our patients, because that is who we are here to serve."

Ernsperger has been a Future Ready Iowa mentor since May 2021. When the opportunity was presented to her, she knew she wanted to be involved. Ernsperger herself had a mentor, "[my mentor] made such an impact on my life. I wouldn't be who or where I am without her. There's no way. And I just felt super tugged to try to give back a fraction of what she gave me."

As a mentor, Ernsperger likes to let her mentee drive the meetings. She says, "We talk about whatever is going on in her world with school and work and life, whatever she wants to share." She says they set a goal for their next meeting, so they have a focus for every meeting.

Ernsperger says she most enjoyed meeting her mentee in person and getting to show her around. She comments, "she had the opportunity to see an operating room and a baby being born and just cool things that she had never gotten to see before, so that was really neat."

Ernsperger felt it was important to "step up and help guide that next generation of people who are going to be taking care of you and me when we need help."