Mavis Claytor

Mavis Claytor

Mavis Claytor, the first African American student to enter and graduate from the University of Virginia School of Nursing. 

"I stayed with my grandmother at night, after school. She was 85, and had some difficulty taking care of herself, so I assisted with that. Then, suddenly, she had a stroke, and I was so upset and felt so inadequate that I couldn’t provide the needed care, I decided at that point to become a nurse, so I’d never have that feeling again. I stayed with her all of those years, even after her illness. ... And it was really that that started me on my nursing journey."

 "I discovered there was so much more I needed to know about nursing. ... At that time, the [registered nurse] was really accepted and respected in my local hospital, but I understood to get higher supervisory and leadership positions, you had to have that B.S.N. or higher. So I returned to school again. I applied to Roanoke College, and enrolled there, but that was not an accredited school, so I transferred to the University of Virginia."

"My mother had borrowed a few dollars for me, and I’d worked as an LPN and made a few dollars, too, but when I arrived here, I did not get a room in the dormitory. So I had to live in a nearby hotel. I was told that there were no rooms available for me, so I stayed in the hotel until my money ran out. Thinking I had to go back home, I went to Dean of Nursing, Dean Mary Lohr, and explained my situation, and remarkably, that same day, there was a bed for me, and I did not have to go back home."

"I did a lot of studying, I prayed, I practiced mindfulness, did many things to help me conquer the stressors of school and the workplace. I’ve done a lot of wonderful things – and you will have wonderful contributions, too, and there will not be any limit to what you will do and accomplish in your career.”

Source: UVA

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