Celebrating Brenda K: A Shining Light in Patient Advocacy

DAISY Winners, Job Seeker, Travel Nursing, Traveler Stories

Brenda Keen Daisy Article cover image

By Tara Drosset

With over a decade of experience under her belt, Brenda’s journey is not just about the steps she’s taken in nursing shoes, but the imprints left on those she’s cared for. Recently honored with her second Daisy Award, this was more than an accolade for Brenda; it was a validation of her hard work and a reminder of her purpose.

Brenda Keen with friend
Visiting the East Coast with friend, Erin.

“Four months into my residency, I won my first Daisy award. At that time, I was more embarrassed by the attention than anything else. At that hospital, they presented a winner and sent out ALL the nominations to the nominees. I kept all of mine. They remind me why I do what I do and that I am an important piece of society. When I’m down on life or just need to lift my spirits, I read them.”

Nomination excerpt #1: “Brenda was so loving & understanding with our family. She explained the reality of my dad’s situation as his cancer progressed & was so patient with all of our emotions. Brenda walked us through the gravity of Dad’s situation with utter grace & always made sure he kept his dignity. She is a true angel and the angel dad requested to have as his nurse on his final day.”

Nomination excerpt #2: “Brenda went above and beyond the call of duty to advocate for me and put things into motion that would not have happened without her intervention. Thanks to her amazing persistence, compassion, and desire to see the right thing done, I now have a pacemaker and my life back—she’s one in a million.”

Brenda Keen with friend
Brenda, with her friend Kyra.

“My second Daisy Award was supposed to be a surprise, but I was accidentally included in that email!” (Whoops!) Brenda still felt some awkwardness with the attention but says she’s grown to value recognition when it comes. “I absolutely love the Daisy program because of this. All too often, people go through life or their careers being told what to fix or that they could do better with no positive feedback. As nurses, these Daisies are encouraging moments that warm our hearts. Because we take care of our patients and do what needs to be done, it’s nice to be recognized for our efforts and passion.”

An Unexpected Start

Brenda Keen at the Grand Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon!

Brenda’s venture into healthcare wasn’t an obvious path but rather a discovery made during her senior year of high school when a mandatory graduation project led her to shadow a NICU nurse. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do… I knew I liked babies and helping, and somehow, I came up with neonatal nursing,” Brenda recalls. This experience was enough to ignite a spark and guide her toward a career in nursing. “I fell in love with the entire thing,” she says. “So, I applied to schools with nursing programs, and that was that!”

But her initial interest in neonatal care took a dramatic shift as she started clinicals, “I realized I liked so much more than just working with babies. I wanted to start out broad and learn as much about as much as I could before specializing. Ironically, my passion is now cardiac nursing,” she laughs, “and I wanted NOTHING to do with the heart when I graduated. When I think about where I started and where I landed, it makes me chuckle.”

Embracing the Journey with Medical Solutions

Brenda Keen on a travel assignment in Guam
On assignment with Medical Solutions in Guam.

Brenda’s professional path took another adventurous turn in 2019 when she started traveling with Medical Solutions. This chapter wasn’t just about new locations but about finding a team that felt like home. “I love my team! All recruiters I have had over the years have taken such good care of me,” she shares—shoutout to Ed Maten, Jamie Davis, and Sarah Hollander!

Aside from a recent attempt with a different company, Brenda mentions that Medical Solutions has been her only travel nursing agency. “And based on my recent experience,” she says, “it’s going to stay that way!”

Lessons Learned and Shared

In Cape Town, South Africa, with fellow travel nurse Rachelle.

Brenda’s career has been both challenging and rewarding, teaching her the importance of resilience, curiosity, and compassion. “I’ve worked in a healthcare setting since 2010. I started as a Med Tech in an Assisted Living facility while in school, and then a nurse for 11 years. So altogether, I’ve been in healthcare for 14 years,” she shares.

“It’s not for the weak,” she says candidly, “You have to follow your gut and stand your ground more often than you’d realize.”

Her experience speaks to her passion for advocating for patients when unpredictable situations arise. “I came into this world of nursing simply wanting to help people. I question things that don’t make sense. I look for the explanations. It’s an ever-changing career. I don’t think I will ever get to a point where I won’t ask questions. I use “brain sesh” moments with coworkers to think things out, develop plans, etc. No person is the same, which means no diagnosis and treatment will be the same. EVERYTHING is subjective.”

Always Chasing Sunshine and New Horizons

Brenda Keen with niece
Caribbean cruise with niece Stella!

Brenda’s zest for life shines brightest in her love for travel, finding happiness in new destinations, and soaking in rays whenever possible. “I try to chase the sun. I am not a winter, cold, grey gal. Not me. I am all about the sun and heat! It makes me happy,” she declares. Her travels are not to escape but to explore—A way to recharge and bring pieces of the world to her loved ones.

But at the core of Brenda’s adventures is her profound love for her family. “I am a family gal! In my travels (all of them), I always try to bring back something for my kiddos. I love being an auntie! My bio kiddos and my bestie kiddos,” she says, also noting a special bond with her grandparents. “I’ve taken one of my grandpas on three cruises. I’m hoping to get the other one out of the country in the next year. I’m also adopted into multiple friend families, so I spend as much time as I can with those wonderful people when I am in their areas. When something is happening, I’m there.”

Brenda Keen ziplining in Jamaica with her grandfather
Ziplining with her grandfather in Jamaica. (He’s 91!)

Brenda Keen’s story is a beautiful mix of adventure and heart, reminding us that being a nurse is about more than just medical care—it’s about making real connections and being a beacon of hope for patients. Brenda may chase the sun; but she shines just as brightly for those around her, showing us that the journey is just as important as the destination.

Has your life been touched by an incredible nurse like Brenda? Share your story today and nominate a Medical Solutions or Aureus Medical travel nurse for a DAISY Award.

Tara Drosset is a content specialist for Medical Solutions.

Tara Drosset is a Tara Drosset is a healthcare staffing content specialist based in Northern Washington. She enjoys writing articles that dissect industry challenges and trends, inspire and uplift, and help healthcare leaders and clinicians navigate the forces shaping healthcare today.