Co-Op Stories: Student nurse Brianna Muffley ready to embark in chosen field

Graphic of Co-Op: Stories from the Field featuring Brianna Muffley

Brianna Muffley

Credit: Penn State

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series profiling internship experiences of undergraduate students participating in Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op. For more stories like Brianna Muffley’s, visit This series is written by Kacey Harper, a second-year Penn State Schuylkill student majoring in corporate communication.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — After sustaining two serious concussions while playing high school basketball that resulted in hours of treatment in physical and occupational therapy, Brianna Muffley discovered an interest in the health care field. She explored a number of possible career paths and found an interest in nursing. Muffley, now a second-year student nurse at Penn State Schuylkill, is completing a summer externship with Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Schuylkill Hospital in an inpatient unit with help from Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op.

Nursing is a dynamic career, requiring not only clinical competency but excellent bedside manner and people skills. Muffley’s motivation for seeking out Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op was to learn and refine her skills as a young professional in both clinical and non-clinical settings. A great supplement to Muffley’s academic and on-site clinical experiences, Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op opened her eyes to in-depth workplace knowledge and etiquette with interactive experiences — invaluable skills that she’s able to put in practice at her nursing externship.

“Co-Op helped me feel confident in my real-world skills and taught me that chasing the opportunities I want for my future career helps me build my professional development,” said Muffley. “All of the practicing done during the academic year really prepared me to interact in the workforce.”

Now confident in her workplace skills, Muffley is looking forward to experiencing many different specialties within nursing. Following her summer externship at LVHN-Schuylkill Hospital, she’ll remain with LVHN throughout the academic year. A very involved student, Muffley will be balancing a minimum of 16 hours per month at the hospital, her studies, as well as her involvement in clubs and organizations on campus, including Lion Ambassadors and the Blue and White Society.

Q: What is your best advice to someone interested in joining Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op?

Muffley: I would tell anyone interested in Co-Op to join. It’s a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience in your prospective career, regardless of what field you’re interested in. Nursing is an intensive program, and Co-Op has been a great asset to my intended degree — it has helped me cement my professional skills, whether that be networking, etiquette and more.

Q: Explain your daily tasks/jobs or projects that you will be working on.

Muffley: As a Nurse Extern 1 at LVHN-Schuylkill East, my primary responsibility is monitoring patient behavior and actions. In addition, there are times where I provide basic care for patients.

Q: Describe a specific project/event/experience you had that made this internship memorable.

Muffley: I was assigned one-to-one care with an older patient on dialysis, who kept attempting to get out of bed. When I had the opportunity to sit with this patient, I would talk to them throughout dialysis treatment so they could get their mind off being in the hospital. I even stayed by their side and cheered when they were at physical therapy, learning how to walk again. When it came time for this patient to be discharged, they began to cry because I would no longer be by their side. The patient emphasized that I had been there for them when no one else was. Before they left, they gave me a hug and thanked me for taking such good care of them. It was the first time this has ever happened to me, and such an honor to know I made a difference in someone’s life.

Learn more about Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op.