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David Parrett TCUDavid Parrett played on the 2016 College World Series winning team, Coastal Carolina University. Parrett's transition from professional baseball to nursing was an act of combining practical thinking with strong passions, a channel where his selflessness and career stability intersected. If the game taught him anything, it was to be a person of action.

I’ve always felt called to help people improve the quality and longevity of their lives,” Parrett said. “Nursing seemed like a solid way to scratch that itch.”

Transitioning to nursing school posed initial challenges, but he adapted quickly, finding his footing through effective study habits, clinical experience and the support system around him. Capitalizing on his urges, he decided to elevate his nursing career and become a nurse anesthetist.

Coastal Carolina David Parrett TCUThe Diamond's Legacy

"Performing anything in front of thousands of people will give you perspective and expose you to plenty of criticism," Parrett explains. “Playing baseball has helped me handle high-pressure moments that I can apply in my nursing career.”

The high-stake baseball games cultivated his capacity to thrive under pressure — an attribute seamlessly transposed into the realm of health care. Moreover, his humbling experiences on the sidelines gave him a profound feeling of humility and camaraderie — qualities that are extremely valuable and applicable in the nursing field.

The months leading up to the College World Series prepared me for much more than the World Series itself,” Parrett said. “My perspective deepened that year, largely in humility and an ‘it’s not all about me’ mentality. Nursing is also a field that will humble you, and it is certainly not about the nurse, but the patient and those around you.”

Parrett easily can connect the camaraderie among his nursing classmates and the bond he shared with his baseball teammates. Just as in baseball, his classmates in school are deeply committed to their shared goal of helping others. Whether it is working together in clinicals or late-night study sessions, the community in the program helps foster a sense of unity and support.

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Transitioning from the cutthroat domain of athletics to the obstacles of nursing school posed its share of challenges. "The transition was rapid," Parrett acknowledges. "Yet, once I figured out how to properly study, the classroom became less daunting."

Clinical rotations, however, presented a distinct set of obstacles. In baseball, physical ability remained supreme. In nursing, Parrett found himself engaging with individuals — suffering individuals, strangers in need. Yet, surrounded by tenacity and mentorship, Parrett quickly acclimated to this unfamiliar terrain.

“I was excited to have the opportunity to learn without going to a six-hour practice after class every day,” Parrett said. “I was so used to being an athlete first and a student second that this was a whole different learning experience for me.”

Parrett's jump into nurse anesthesia was catalyzed by an eye-opening moment in a pharmacology class during his undergraduate studies. As Parrett reflected upon encountering CRNAs, he formed a passion for the field, specifically the topic of neuromuscular blocking drugs.

“Our professor told us a little bit about CRNAs, what the job entails and the challenging path it takes to get there,” Parrett said. “I remember thinking to myself, that sounds like something I’m going to do.”

Taught and guided by mentors and fueled by his experiences in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CICU), Parrett's conviction solidified. His time at TCU further inspired his dedication, enveloped by kindred spirits from classmates and supportive professors and mentors.

TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia“What stands out the most to me about Harris College is the quality of person this program attracts,” Parrett said. “It is great comfort to know that your professors and mentors care deeply about you, not just as a student but as a person.”

Harris College has provided Parrett with many opportunities to grow as a person. From showing up to class everyday Monday, Wednesday and Friday to taking challenging nursing courses, Parrett has found mentors who care deeply about what they do to push him to be the best student and person he can be.

It is obvious to me that the faculty at Harris College are in the business of developing not only excellent health care providers but excellent men and women,” said Parrett. “I’m beyond proud to be a Horned Frog.”

Balancing Act

Juggling the demands of academia, clinical rotations and personal obligations created unwavering discipline and dedication. Parrett underscored the importance of routine, physical activity and introspection in preserving balance amidst life's craziness.

Parrett has grown as a student through his countless experiences and conversations with mentors throughout the program. His experiences in the ICU played a huge role in that.

“I grew to love the complexity of the heart surgeries and all that went into taking care of those patients,” Parrett said.

As Parrett approaches his final year in the program, his nursing ambitions expand with the vastness of the anesthesia domain itself. While still undecided what the future holds, Parrett feels confident and prepared to take on new opportunities in the field and grow his knowledge to become the best anesthesia provider he can be. Though the specifics of his trajectory remain fluid, one certainty prevails — Parrett stands poised to effect profound change in health care.

“The world of anesthesia is big, and I have a few ideas of what I want to do that are starting to take shape,” Parrett said. “I am focused on first learning the skills and knowledge I need to be a great anesthesia provider and exploring what the profession has to offer.”

Lessons from the Journey

Looking back, Parrett shares some valuable advice for anyone thinking about changing careers: Take the lead, find someone to guide you and see challenges as opportunities to learn and improve. His athletic background trained him to be a master of any trade as he explored passions no matter how ambitious, and developed a critical thinking mindset that has helped with his nursing triumph — a philosophy mirrored in his ethos of patient care.

“Be active in your exploration of something new,” Parrett said. “Resiliency takes time and a lot of failure to cultivate. Somewhere along the way, setbacks stopped looking like setbacks and started looking like opportunities for improvement.”

Understanding and acknowledging that failures will happen and that he will grow from them, encourages him to approach school and working in health care with a growth mindset and the ability to adapt quickly.

For David Parrett, the transition from the diamond to the operating room symbolizes not just a major pivot, but a testament to the impact of passion, perseverance and purpose. As he embarks upon his next chapter, Parrett carries with him the valuable lessons learned from the baseball diamond — a strong determination to make a difference, one patient at a time.

“People often see the bigger things like winning the College World Series as the most valuable moments but those by themselves have not changed my life much at all. It was the unseen parts like bits of wisdom gleaned from coaches and teachers or knowing that your team or your classmates are united,” Parrett ended with. “Perhaps those are the things that have impacted my life the most.”

TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia