Like many non-traditional students, Karen Parrotte ’97 chose to attend Villa Julie College because of its evening and weekend course schedules. “At that time, other institutions were not offering flexibility in obtaining a nursing degree, which meant that adult students could not work full time and earn a bachelor’s degree.”
Parrotte received a bachelor’s in nursing and today works as an Informatics Nurse. She integrates nursing science, computer science, and information management into her daily work and is contracted by healthcare organizations to support their electronic health record projects and initiatives to improve patient care.
“More specifically, my role is to design, develop, implement, and evaluate electronic clinical decision-making and documentation tools. People always ask, ‘Do you miss patient care?’” she adds. “My response is that instead of taking care of one patient at a time, my work now supports patient populations today and tomorrow.”
Parrotte believes that a career in nursing is a natural fit because she genuinely cares about people. “My mission in life is to make life better for others by making dreams come true. My purpose is to engage, equip, and empower people.”
That mission can be seen in the social entrepreneurial side business she owns, Destinations by Parrotte Travel, in which she works between people and cruise lines and Disney Resorts to create a dream vacation. More than that, however, outside of operational expenses, 100 percent of the profits are donated to charity.
When asked why she manages this sideline, Parrotte says simply, “I am called to serve others and giving is one way I contribute to making life better for others. The supported charities have a direct family association or the organization mission aligns with mine.”
There are links to six different organizations to which Parrotte gives money—including Stevenson University. Now, she is supporting undergraduate nursing students via the Karen Parrotte Nursing Scholarship Fund.
“In everything I do I know that I am here to help others,” Parrotte says. “I don't have to worry about my own benefits because when you help others you will always be blessed.”