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School family inspires Raven Gray to want to help others

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Applied to Raven Gray, a popular saying might read, “It takes a village to make a nurse.”

Gray, a senior BSN student at UAMS College of Nursing, has overcome long odds to get to this point, a journey that probably wouldn’t have happened at all had it not been for the investment of her instructors and mentors.

“UAMS College of Nursing was the best decision I ever made, and I would make it again in a heartbeat,” she said.

Gray originally set out to become a doctor before discovering her true love was nursing. By the time she got started on that dream, however, life had become very complicated. She entered nursing school 18 weeks pregnant while working full-time night shifts and, with no family in Arkansas, was doing it alone. Alone, that is, except for the professors who rallied around her.

“My instructors at UAMS worked with all my doctor appointments, ensuring I would not have clinicals the days I saw my OB,” she said. “During my first semester, my dean and my instructor created a clinical schedule that would have me finished with my required hours two weeks prior to my due date.”

Even after Gray gave birth to her son, her school family worked together to help her stay on track.

“There were days when the daycare would be closed and I didn’t have a backup for my son, so my instructors who were free kept him in their office so I could take my exam,” she said. “If I couldn’t make it to class because my son was sick, my instructors always corresponded with me through email. One even offered to come to my son’s room at Arkansas Children’s Hospital to go over what I missed.”

Her goal now within reach, Gray sees many people like herself studying to become nurses. She looks for opportunities to provide them the kind of help she received and that made such a difference in her journey.

“The number of minority nurses is growing every day! It makes me so proud to see more people who look like me doing something I dream of doing right next to them,” she said. “It gives me confidence and I hope other young minorities who think they can’t do it can see me and know that they can.”

 

 

Nursing Notes

“Be aware that you don’t know very much when you start out and that as you work, the book learning will begin to link to the patient and his or her needs. Continue learning, ask questions and be gentle with yourself.”

Lori Murray, DNP, RN-BC, assistant director undergraduate studies Eleanor Mann School of Nursing
Years in Nursing: 10

 

Lori Murray, DNP, RN-BC
 
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