Brianna Parker, the spring 2014 Outstanding Graduate of the School of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University, recently was recognized at the Thank a Nurse Celebration hosted by the Palm Healthcare Foundation.
he reception, held at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, honored Palm Beach County’s nurses and was the culmination of the Foundation’s six-week campaign to recognize nursing excellence.
Parker, of Jensen Beach, was nominated by the faculty of the School of Nursing. The baccalaureate nursing student was one of 18 honorees, including graduate and undergraduate nursing students, registered nurses, school nurses, nurse mentors and other nursing professionals.
“It was definitely an honor,” Parker said. “It was exciting to be surrounded by nurses with so much experience. It shows you what you can aspire to.”
She has been hired at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce into the trauma neurosurgical care unit. While working, she plans to return to PBA to enroll in the School of Nursing’s new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. The program starts Jan. 15, 2015, and applications are now being accepted.
During her time at PBA, Parker maintained a high GPA while playing on the Sailfish softball team. She was active in the Nursing Student Association and Nurses Christian Fellowship.
Dr. Patrick Heyman, associate dean of the School of Nursing, said that Parker exceled in both her academic and clinical performance. He said that her time management was so superb that he would ask her to talk about her schedule to freshmen and incoming upper-division nursing students.
“The same time management that serves her so well academically and athletically is also the foundation of a first-rate nurse,” he said.
Furthermore, she consistently maintains a positive attitude, he said. “She is cheerful, outgoing and humble. Her presence brightens a patient’s room.”
She also found time to participate in community service projects, such as Christ Fellowship’s Thanksgiving Outreach, Quantum House, Gary Carter Foundation and SNAPP (participating in sports with autistic children).
Parker has served as an assistant coach for the Lightspeed Gold 14U softball team, and she went on a mission trip to Nicaragua with the PBA softball team.
She enjoys speaking to prospective students as young as middle school who are interested in healthcare as a career. She mentored two junior nursing students, and during her senior year she was a mentor to her teammate who was beginning the nursing program.
Parker said that when she came to PBA she, too, was mentored by a teammate who was a nursing student.
“It just helps you to know what to expect and to have someone there to help calm your nerves,” she said.