Two Palm Beach Atlantic University graduates were among the Palm Healthcare Foundation Nursing Distinction Award winners announced last week.
Alexandra Gropp, who graduated from PBA on Saturday, was chosen Student Nurse of the Year. Also, Daphne Jordan, a 2010 PBA graduate who now serves as chest pain coordinator at Good Samaritan Medical Center, received the foundation’s Rising Star Award.
The Palm Healthcare Foundation Nursing Distinction Award recipients were recognized for their dedication to excellence, commitment to the profession of nursing and sense of community. The awards presentation took place Friday at The Breakers in Palm Beach.
This is the second consecutive year in which a PBA student has received the Student Nurse of the Year award.
Gropp has spent the past year working in the trauma intensive care unit at Delray Medical Center. She and a fellow classmate, Jacqueline Muniz, were finalists for Student Nurse of the Year.
“She is equally if not more deserving in my opinion because of all the work she has done in the community,” Gropp said of Muniz.
“One of the things that makes PBA so great is the quality of the students we have. It makes you want to be better.”
Gropp holds a bachelor’s degree in business and previously worked in marketing in New York City before attending nursing school. She said she decided on the career change because she wanted to do something more fulfilling.
The Princeton, N.J., native said that the award came as a huge surprise, and that she was thrilled to be surrounded by family and her professors that evening. “I had the most important people in my life there,” she said. “That made all the difference in the world.”
Gropp plans to take her board examinations soon, and she plans to work in Palm Beach County.
Jordan began her career at Good Samaritan working on the oncology floor. Soon she went back to school to earn a master’s degree at Florida Atlantic University. She enrolled in the Emerging Nurse Leader Program in Administration and Finance, and she expects to complete her course work in August.
“I wanted to be a change agent to advocate for nursing,” said Jordan, who said that Good Samaritan Chief Nursing Officer Angela Prestia and Director of the Emergency Department Fred Mollica have mentored her during her journey.
In her current position, she coordinates the care between Emergency Medical Services, the Emergency Department and the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. She is helping to improve the care of acute coronary syndrome patients by working to gain chest pain accreditation for the hospital.
The 2013 Palm Healthcare Foundation Nursing Distinction Award recipients are, from left, Janice Vasallo, Mentor of the Year; Linda Staples, LPN of the Year; Eveth Guthrie, CNA of the Year; Margaret Neddo, Leadership Award; Rhonda Goodman, Educator of the Year and Nurse of the Year; Daphne Jordan, Rising Star Award; Alexandra Gropp, Student Nurse of the Year; Cynthia Lang, RN of the Year; Sheila Wilson, Hands & Heart Award; and Pamela Laing, Extra Mile Award. Photo by Bill Carley Photography.
In addition, she said she keeps in close contact with her professors at Palm Beach Atlantic and enjoys helping them in any way she can. She also mentors some of the nursing students at PBA by giving them encouragement to succeed, she said.
“I have certainly come a long way from the painfully shy nursing student I was when I began the program,” she said. “The mentorship and encouragement of the professors have helped me to be where I am today, and I will never forget what they have done for me. The Palm Healthcare Rising Star Award is such an honor to me, and I am so proud to have my accomplishments recognized.”