October 9, 2018

Like many students that come to East Central College, Miranda Pickens wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life. “I got my associate of arts degree in general studies,” she explained, “and then I transferred to Mizzou.”

She started in marketing. She moved on to fashion and design. Then, she went over to business. Nothing seemed to stick. “My advisor suggested nursing,” she said. “I wasn’t so sure. I couldn’t even handle the pain and panic of getting a splinter in my finger!”

Regardless, she gave it a shot. Even with the overwhelming smell of formaldehyde in her first anatomy class, she was intrigued about the possibility of learning something about the human body. She decided to officially pursue nursing, and she knew exactly where she wanted to do it.

Coming Back Home

“I went back to East Central College,” she explained. “I knew it was a great school with small class sizes.” She was accepted into the nursing program and hit the ground running.

In order to achieve success in the nursing program, a student is expected to spend an additional average of 20-30 hours per week outside of class studying, practicing and preparing. That didn’t stop Miranda.

“She was very engaged as a student,” said Instructor Judy Bieker. “She challenged herself on a daily basis.”

“My instructors were so phenomenal and were always willing to help,” Miranda said. “Judy stayed with me one day after class because I just did not understand the heart and its rhythms. She sat with me for nearly two hours until I understood the material.”

In The Field

Miranda graduated from East Central College and began working at Mercy Hospital in Washington.

“I love the patient interactions,” she said. “I get to spend a lot of time at a patient’s bedside and really get to know them and their families. Because I am able to create a strong, trusting bond with them, the patient feels more comfortable in an often uncomfortable situation.”

She immediately felt right at home in her new career.

“Every day, she embodies the characteristics of a highly skilled, compassionate nurse,” said Nancy Mitchell, Dean of Health Sciences. “Miranda is an amazing practitioner, and we are blessed she is serving patients in our community.”

Mitchell isn’t the only one with that opinion.

Award Winner

In August 2018, Miranda was honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. She was nominated for the award by the family of a patient who had been in her care.

“It was a very surprising and rewarding experience,” Pickens explained. “I take care of all of my patients the same, and I always strive to take the absolute best care of them.”

The DAISY Foundation was founded 16 years ago by the family of Patrick Barnes to recognize nurses and the extraordinary care that they experienced as a family. The goal of the award is to ensure all nurses know how deserving they are of society’s respect for the education, training, brainpower and skill they put into their work every day.

She was recognized in a ceremony at the hospital in front of patients and colleagues and received a certificate to proudly hang for all to see.

Congrats to Miranda! We are proud of you!





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