Olivia LaHaye is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Master’s Graduate.
Following your dreams requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Alumna Bianca Cook knew that with all of these qualities, she could accomplish her career dreams as well. Cook ’16 is currently an Administrative Nursing Fellow at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. Through this prestigious position, Cook has had the opportunity to explore all different aspects of the healthcare system. Before receiving this position, Cook worked as a registered nurse at Lafayette General Medical Center.
Along with working full-time, Cook never stopped challenging herself and received her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Texas Tyler in 2018. Cook has been setting herself up for success to one day become a healthcare executive. Before she was rising through the ranks in the healthcare industry, Cook started her academic journey at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Originally from LaPlace, Louisiana, Cook grew up surrounded by family and friends in the healthcare industry. “Seeing how much they loved their jobs made me want to go into healthcare,” said Cook. After deciding that she wanted to pursue a career as a nurse, Cook spent endless hours researching the best nursing programs in Louisiana and ultimately chose to attend UL Lafayette.
As an undergraduate student, Cook was extremely involved on campus. Some of the organizations that she was a part of include University Program Council, Peer Mentors, The Big Event, and countless nursing organizations. Out of all of UL Lafayette’s traditions, Cook’s favorite was Homecoming Week. “It’s [always] so nice seeing all of the alumni come back,” said Cook.
Before graduation, Cook had researched all of the career possibilities that you can obtain with a degree in nursing. She knew that she eventually wanted to get into a healthcare administrative fellowship program to help her achieve her ultimate goal of working in healthcare administration. After graduating, Cook accepted a position as a labor and delivery nurse at Lafayette General Medical Center. This opportunity allowed her to get hands-on experience working as a nursing professional. However, she knew that she wanted to further her career even more. After about six months of working full-time, Cook started getting her MBA online while continuing to work as a full-time nurse.
This commitment to her future is what gave Cook an edge when applying for healthcare administrative fellowship positions across the country. After applying to several different fellowships, Cook was ecstatic to find out that she had been accepted into the Administrative Nursing Fellowship at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. “I was very excited,” said Cook.
Throughout her fellowship, Cook has been able to experience all different aspects of the healthcare system from an operations standpoint. Her fellowship is even more unique because she is getting to learn how a healthcare system operates under crisis due to COVID-19. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see first-hand how decisions are made in real-time,” said Cook. Cook is currently focused on an employee engagement project, working to make sure that all front line employees feel appreciated during this challenging time in healthcare.
As Cook finishes up her fellowship, she hopes to continue with Ochsner Health System in a managerial role. When asked what her long-term dreams are, Cook has set the bar high for herself and hopes to one day become a healthcare executive.
Cook is extremely grateful for her time as a UL Lafayette student and believes her experiences on campus led her to where she is in her career today. Each person that she has met has helped shape her into the professional that she has become. “Everything happens for a reason,” said Cook. Through her career path so far, Cook has found that with the right amount of effort and research, any dream you have can ultimately become a reality.
Photo: Headshot of Bianca Cook