Edna Brisco on the Future of Nursing at Emory Hillandale Hospital

Date: May 23, 2022

Edna Brisco, MSN, RN, says that it’s important to find your “why” and understand your purpose. “When you’re able to do this,” she says, “you will love the work that you do, and your career will flourish.” She was born to be a nurse, she says, and after 28 years, she’s as proud as she was the day she graduated from nursing school.

At Emory Hillandale Hospital, Brisco uses the qualities she learned from her mother – hard work, compassion, and self-confidence – daily in what she calls her “second calling” as a nurse leader. “It is my job to support, empower and motivate our phenomenal nursing team to provide our patients with kind, compassionate, high-quality care.”

Invested in the Community

In 2005, Emory Hillandale Hospital opened as part of DeKalb Medical Center, and it joined Emory Healthcare in 2018. The hospital offers a wide range of treatments and services, including radiology, surgery, and emergency care. It also has a broad range of physicians and specialists on staff with expertise in areas such as cardiology, endocrinology, hematology, orthopaedics, and many more. The facility contains updated technology and equipment, including digital imaging machines for CTs, 3D mammograms and MRIs. Whether it’s a serious medical procedure or an ongoing treatment, our highly skilled team stands ready to walk with each patient through their unique health care journey.

Brisco serves as the vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for Emory Hillandale Hospital, a role that acts as the voice for nurses and patients at the organization, she explains, and works with them to deliver the mission, vision, and values of Emory Healthcare. “It’s important to create an environment that empowers the nursing staff and allows them to provide the very best patient care with all of the appropriate resources and support,” she says.


As a nurse leader, Brisco also places great importance on mentoring others and helping them advance their skills and careers. Investing in her staff is an important part of achieving her vision of Emory Hillandale as a hospital of choice for its community. She says, “I believe in patient- and family-centered care and I want to earn the respect and trust of the community and work to meet their needs.” Accomplishing this goal requires a team who are the best version of themselves, Brisco says, and she’s enthusiastic about her team. She says, “I want our staff to understand how important they are and I want them to feel like their efforts make a difference.”

Daily Inspiration

“Emory Healthcare’s response to the COVID pandemic has been nothing less than amazing,” Brisco says. “From day one, the organization worked to keep its employees safe while providing our patients the best care. The level of detail that goes into each and every decision is amazing – and I’m honored to be a member of this phenomenal team.” Although challenging, she also found inspiration in this experience. Brisco explains, “I’m truly inspired by all of the brave healthcare heroes that showed up even when they were exhausted to provide our patients with kind and compassionate care. This certainly inspired me to be a better person, nurse, and nurse leader.”

And Brisco will never forget the day she was honored with a DAISY Nurse Leader Award, which was established to recognize nurse leaders who create an environment where extraordinary and compassionate nursing practice can flourish. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses was established in 1999 to honor nurses for the acts of kindness and sensitivity they demonstrate every day. Nurse leaders, who often do not typically work directly with patients, are nominated by their staff, who describe the impact leaders like Brisco have on their ability to provide quality, compassionate care. “What an honor!” she recalls. “I was smiling for the entire day and month, and my heart was full of joy.”

After 28 years, Brisco knows she found her “why.” “I absolutely love this wonderful profession and the phenomenal people that I work with.”

Looking Forward

“I’m really excited about the future of nursing at Emory Hillandale Hospital,” Brisco says. One of the goals she’s looking forward to accomplishing is achieving a Magnet® designation at the hospital, which is a recognition awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for demonstrated excellence in clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and nurse satisfaction with the workplace. She says, “We know that benefits of a Magnet® designation include being able to attract and retain top talent, improved patient care, safety and satisfaction, and an enhanced culture of collaboration.”

To date, four hospitals in the Emory Healthcare system have received this award. Emory Hillandale Hospital is just getting started on this journey, says Brisco, but she’s confident they’ll join their sister hospitals and reach their goal.

Find Your Nursing Opportunity

Our Nurses Define the Highest Standard of Care

Every member of our Emory Healthcare team makes a difference in the lives of our patients and our communities. Our core purpose – improving lives and providing hope – guides our work every single day.

Whether it’s caring for the most complex patients, which includes our world-leading 93% COVID survival rates, or celebrating new moms and dads as they welcome the newest members of their families, each member of our Emory Healthcare team is committed to our patient- and family-centered care model. We are dedicated to improving the health of our community and continuously innovating to discover new treatments, new therapies and new care models.

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