Four nursing students received awards from area health care providers during a Recognition Ceremony honoring more than 200 College of Nursing spring 2009 graduates.

The students were selected and honored for their compassion and commitment to excellence in academics, leadership, and community service during their undergraduate careers at UCF:

Meredith Maher (BSN ’09), Florida Hospital Student Excellence Award recipient

During her time as a UCF nursing student, Meredith Maher went well beyond the requirements of the clinical setting, demonstrating strong critical-thinking skills, a pleasant and mature demeanor, and admirable leadership skills. She also served as a College of Nursing senator for UCF’s Student Government Association (SGA). As senator, she played an instrumental role in petitioning the SGA for funding of Student Nurses Association (SNA) outreach activities which totaled $3200.

Danielle Briggs (BSN ’09), Vitas Compassionate Heart Award recipient

In the hospital clinical setting, Danielle Briggs has consistently shown extraordinary compassion, not only for the patients she cares for, but also for her fellow students. When working with adults on a surgical oncology unit, she took the time to listen to patient concerns, speak with family members, and solicit spiritual support for patients in need. As a testament to her dedication, a family member of one of her patients wrote a letter to the hospital administrator, commending her on the time she took to truly care for their loved one. While at UCF, Briggs also donated much of her time to giving back to her community, serving as the community service coordinator for the UCF Orlando chapter of SNA.

Allison Hocking (BSN ’09), Orlando Health Student Excellence Award recipient

Allison Hocking is an excellent nursing leader, demonstrating passion and enthusiasm for the profession. Through her involvement with the Orange County Healthy Start initiative, Hocking began to live out her passion by providing at-risk infants with home visits and assessments. She served as the fundraising chair for the SNA Orlando chapter of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA). She also served as FNSA Executive Board liaison to the Florida Nurses Association (FNA), where she attended board meetings and relayed critical information to FNSA.

Laura Baker, Orlando Health Junior Leadership Award recipient

With a year left until graduation, junior Laura Baker has established herself as a promising leader by playing a pivotal role in shaping, representing and putting forth the interests of her nursing peers. As a member of a student group through the nursing service-learning course, she demonstrated excellent leadership skills by assessing and analyzing the needs of the community. She is currently a College of Nursing senator for UCF’s SGA and a Student Government Liaison for the 2009 Senior Student Executive Board of SNA.

The college’s Recognition Ceremony is held at the end of each semester, celebrating the passage of an undergraduate nursing student into the profession, and honoring graduate students for earning a master’s or doctorate degree.

Undergraduate students are pinned with the college’s symbolic BSN pin, a nursing tradition that dates back to Florence Nightingale, while graduate students are draped with a peach hood, another tradition symbolizing the attainment of an advanced nursing degree.