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James Miller '15 awarded Circle of Excellence Award

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Working in the healthcare field requires knowledge, compassion, and determination. James Miller encompasses all of these qualities while also striving to raise the bar for himself. Miller ’15 is currently a registered nurse and was recently awarded the Circle of Excellence Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Only 15 nurses across the country received the award this year. Recipients of this award are honored for their commitment to achieving excellence in the nursing profession while also showcasing exceptional leadership skills.

Along with his passion for healthcare, Miller is also a proud military veteran and served in the Army National Guard of Louisiana. Throughout his career so far, Miller has focused on one key goal: chasing his standard of excellence.

Originally from Lafayette, Miller decided to join the military after graduating from high school. He joined the Army National Guard of Louisiana and was deployed to Iraq during his years of service. While in the middle east, Miller worked alongside many doctors and nurses that sparked his interest in healthcare. “It was very inspiring,” said Miller. After returning home, Miller decided to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to pursue a nursing career.

Though his curriculum as a nursing student was rigorous, Miller still found some time to enjoy life as a student on campus. He was a member of the University Honors Program and a member of the UL Lafayette ROTC. Miller’s nursing professors ultimately left the most considerable impact on him as an undergraduate student. “The biggest thing for me was when they would talk about their personal [nursing] experiences,” said Miller. Each of his professors gave Miller the foundation needed to succeed as a nurse. Miller took the education, training, and skill set that he learned at the University and dove headfirst into nursing.

After graduation, Miller accepted a position as a medical ICU/IMC registered nurse at the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas. He learned so much working in this position, but he also knew that he wanted to push himself further. So, Miller applied for a position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and landed the job. Miller worked as a cardiovascular surgery and transplant ICU registered nurse. What made this experience so special for Miller was that he worked with healthcare professionals who were innovators in his field. It was here that he was nominated for the Circle of Excellence Award.

His fellow staff members nominated Miller at the Mayo Clinic for this incredible honor. Miller’s application had to go through a review board before discovering that he was one of the 15 people selected across the country for this award. For Miller, this wasn’t just an accomplishment for himself, but also a testament to the people who helped him get to this point. “I couldn’t do it alone,” said Miller.

Currently, Miller uses his nursing skills to travel across the country and helps facilities that are explicitly treating COVID-19 patients. In the future, he plans to attend graduate school to further his education and become a nurse anesthetist. “You must have a vision for what things can and must become,” said Miller. As Miller progresses to the next steps in his career, he plans to make his vision a reality. Most importantly, he intends to continue to be a positive influence on his community and alma mater.

Photo Caption: James Miller

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