Paula Graling, BSN '82, MSN '96, was awarded the 2013 CHHS Distinguished Alumna of the Year on behalf of the College of Health and Human Services Alumni Chapter Board.
Ms. Graling is a two-time Mason alumna, earning a BSN and a MSN. Paula also completed her doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Her education and her doctoral research on the connection between culture, communication and perioperative outcomes, prepared her for her current position as the Clinical Nurse Specialist of Perioperative Services at Inova Fairfax Campus.
In 2006, Paula served as president of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and is currently the President of the AORN Foundation. Her commitment to perioperative nursing and her ability to effect change in the healthcare industry is reflected by her multiple presentations and publications. Her latest AORN involvement has been developing an evidence rating model for the AORN Recommended Practices.
Comments from Paula:
Visiting the George Mason University campus for the recognition events of the last few weeks and being chosen as the Distinguished Alumna for CHHS gave me a chance to reflect on what a 'Mason education' means to me.
As a native Washingtonian, I wanted to attend a local university with a nursing program that could provide me with the fundamentals to secure a nursing job. The Mason nursing program was well respected and provided clinical learning opportunities at local hospitals. I recall the welcoming nursing faculty who stimulated learning across the nursing specialty rotations; enabling me to develop my professional practice.
After years in the operating room, I returned to George Mason University to pursue an MSN. I once again experienced a broad curriculum with engaged faculty who were critical to the success of an adult learner and provided an environment where inquiry was welcomed.
Now, with over thirty years as a nurse, one of the most rewarding opportunities in my daily practice is to precept Mason students. I am helping them see the exciting connection between academia and clinical practice, just like I experienced. Northern Virginia is such a vibrant community and the partnerships Mason maintains with the local healthcare systems will continue to shape the delivery of healthcare for all community members.
I am Proud to be a Patriot!