Alumna Melissa Emerson: Leaders who are Building Tomorrow’s Health Care Workforce

Melissa Emerson Florida Atlantic University alumna Melissa Emerson, MBA ’18, BSN ’04, is the Chief Nursing Officer at Broward Health in Coral Springs. She is responsible for the hospital’s clinical operations, quality, safety, patient experiences and clinical education. Together with the CEO and director of business development, Melissa works to implement strategies at the hospital to grow its services for the community.

In January 2023, Florida Atlantic and Broward Health announced a partnership agreement that would provide academic medicine to Broward County with opportunities to collaborate in the areas of education, clinical training and practice, and health services administration and research. Students enrolled in health sciences at FAU will also have access to physicians and clinical facilities within Broward Health.

“It is promising to see these two great organizations with a common vision and purpose explore how, together, they can provide exceptional medical care,” said Melissa. “This partnership will allow students to expand their exposure to different health care delivery models, conditions and patient populations, providing them with a more holistic view of health care. It also opens opportunities for possible scholarships.”

Melissa added that with the projected physician shortages pending for our region and the nation, “It is imperative that hospital systems and academic medical centers have programming in place to train a new generation of primary care physicians and specialists.”

As a CNO, Melissa gets nostalgic every time she meets FAU nursing students during their orientation. She shared that it didn’t seem that long ago when she was in their shoes and nervous to be in a hospital.

“New grads have a special place in my heart — they are a great mixture of excitement and nerves,” she remarked. “Hiring new grads allows us to get fresh perspective on our initiatives and build the next generation of nurses that will be making impacts at our hospital for years to come.”

During her time at Florida Atlantic, Melissa expressed her gratitude to faculty in both the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the College of Business for their guidance on her academic journey. Both colleges, she said, provided her with foundational knowledge and skills that she was able to build upon in her career. Additionally, they offered opportunities she may not have discovered on her own.

“Receiving my BSN prepared me to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and begin my career as an RN. I believe the nursing program helped me to be open-minded in my field and remember the ‘why’ behind everything I do as a nurse,” she explained. “The Executive MBA Program helped to bridge my clinical expertise with business knowledge, so that I could effectively communicate and execute strategies at the ‘C suite’ level.”

As an alumna of the university and a new advisory board member for the College of Nursing, Melissa stressed why giving back matters: Florida Atlantic helped her to grow as a person, and now it’s time to grant another student that same experience.

“In life, relationships are one of the most important connections we can make,” Melissa shared. “By contributing to FAU’s Transcend Tomorrow campaign, you are giving back to the university that enabled you to be where you are in your career. In turn, you are assisting the next generation of students to be successful.”

To learn more about how Florida Atlantic is supporting bright scholars like Melissa, as well as how Transcend Tomorrow: The Campaign for Florida Atlantic University is working to address the growing need to train more health care workers, create a healthier environment and provide scholarships to propel access to higher education, visit

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