Emily Gray is the honored recipient of the Barbara L. Tate 2021-2022 scholarship. Emily received her undergraduate BSN degree from Azusa Pacific University. She is now in her second year in the Dual Acute and Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at University of California, Los Angeles.
In high school, Emily was with her great-grandfather as he passed and, days later, witnessed a live birth. She felt tremendous honor and privilege during these experiences. Subsequently, she decided to pursue a career in nursing, where she hoped to aid in these moments and holistically serve others. In addition, it has been Emily’s hope to work in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. This intention was formed while she worked as an English teacher in Ukraine, as a student nurse in an underserved community clinic in Mexico, and as a student nurse in a study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa. It was in Cape Town’s under-resourced clinics and hospitals where she yielded her first evidence-based practice project (EBP), a study on the barriers to HIV treatment adherence in pregnant women. During her time in South Africa, she worked with the community to develop an action plan to mitigate these barriers. Overall, this experience left her feeling empowered by the impact an educator, advocate, and nurse scientist could make by being innovative and employing strong leadership, especially in diverse, underserved communities.
In pursuit of her passion for serving the disadvantaged, she accepted her current position as a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). This job has strengthened her zeal for excellence, advocacy, and diversity. Ultimately, she chose to become a dual certified pediatric nurse practitioner because she intends to work in a PICU in a medically underserved community while volunteering internationally on medical mission trips.
In addition to her current position, Emily is dedicated to promoting culture change in her workplace. Emily is a member of multiple unit-based committees and professional organizations, including Sigma Theta Tau and her local chapter of AACN. She precepts nursing students and is involved in the One Legacy Organ Donation and Procurement council at CHLA. She worked through the pandemic, and as a trained member of the Emerging Infection Disease Team, played a key role in providing education and support in the pandemic. Additionally, in collaboration with two nurses and a social worker, she developed an evidenced based practice (EBP) to alleviate compassion fatigue with cumulative stress debriefings (CSDs), or regularly scheduled peer support sessions. This project is on-going and has expanded through the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the hospital; her team continues to train and steward a team exceeding 100 multidisciplinary facilitators across eleven clinical units. She intends to use the knowledge from her education to expand this initiative, as she believes supporting the wellness of healthcare professionals is essential to promoting stronger teams. Further, she is the first reverse mentor for CHLA’s Chief Clinical Officer (CCO). In this program, emerging leaders from Generation Y are paired with executives from Generation X to improve workplace culture and increase multigenerational collaboration.
Emily is eager to leverage the momentum of her career, scholarship, and achievements to advocate for the wellness of healthcare professionals, equip the underprivileged and future generations of healthcare workers, and fervently serve children in the critical care and public health arenas. She is thankful to her family, friends, work mentors, colleagues, and Nurses Educational Funds for making the privilege of furthering her education a reality.
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