Nurse Practitioner Jonathan Briggs understands adversity. Growing up in northern New Jersey, he was only two years old when his mother died of leukemia. His father remarried when he was six, but his second mother died of multiple myeloma when he was eleven. His father remarried again when he was fourteen, leading to a large, blended family. He struggled trying to find himself and took a year off after high school. “I think the big thing that changed in that year I took off is I became a Christian. I found my faith, and that’s really what started me on the right track. When you face adversity, some people will be unpleasant people and make life difficult for other people because that’s the way they want other people to understand their adversity. For me, the way I chose to go, is to be compassionate, kind and loving, because I know what it’s like to have to face that adversity. I want to help people when they have to face those things. So, I have a very deep compassion and caring for people.”
He joined the rescue squad in town and then became an EMT. He says, “The door opened, and things started to click.” He decided to pursue nursing and completed an Associate of Nursing degree as an RN. After finishing his associate’s degree, he worked for eight years at a medical center in Burlington, Vermont in orthopedics. During that time, he completed a Bachelor of Nursing degree. That education certainly clicked with him. He moved to upstate New York and completed a Master of Nursing degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. He graduated with a 3.98 GPA and was recognized as The New York Student NP of the Year and received the University’s Graduate Student Excellence Award.
The awards continued as he worked as a nurse practitioner for the next 26 years in upstate New York with numerous recognitions for clinical excellence and patient satisfaction. He says the human contact is the best part of his job. “In primary care, you’re seeing the spectrum of humanity, both young and old. Plus, it’s the diversity of care. We see a little bit of everything.” He moved down south with his wife, they are both remarried, and they have a blended family. She has three daughters, and he has a son and a daughter. They have one grandchild.
Outside of seeing patients, the thing he loves to do the most is cooking. When asked what he cooks he explained with a smile, “Anything and everything. My wife loves that!” He also believes it’s important to stay active. “As a practitioner I need to set a good example for my patients.” He said it’s important advice for everyone.
“When you were younger maybe you could run a marathon. Maybe you can’t do marathons now, but you could do a 10K or you could do a 5K or you could still do a 20-minute walk. You can ride a bike; you can stay active. Someone once told me, ‘Growing older is inevitable, doing it gracefully is the trick.’ You see people who grow old gracefully because they let go of what they can’t do, but they hold on to the things they still can do.” And he says finding those positive things, despite any adversity, is what is important in life.