“There’s no limit to what you can do”: Keiser University Tallahassee nursing graduate supporting next generation of healthcare workers

Barbrielle Ray graduated with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from Keiser University Tallahassee in 2019. The moment of earning a diploma should have felt like crossing a finish line. Instead, the road ahead was just beginning.

“That’s when Covid started, so I went right into Covid. I actually worked on a Covid unit,” Ray said. “Every day I went to work I felt as if I heard my instructors in the back of my head telling me, do this, do that, this is right, trust your gut, you know this.”

Just months into her career as a nurse, Ray was battling the pandemic on the front lines and protecting the healthcare needs of the community.

But before enrolling at Keiser University Tallahassee, Ray says a future in nursing was hardly in sight. That all changed when her father fell ill in 2015.

“My dad went into cardiac arrest and had a stroke. He was not supposed to make it. Just realizing how the nurses cared for him, he was their first miracle is what they said,” Ray said. “The ICU nurses were amazing that cared for me dad. He was discharged, he’s able to walk, talk, do for himself. Just seeing how well they cared for my dad really inspired me.”

Committed to provide the same life-saving care to other families, Ray began attending Keiser University. The education she received, she says, prepared her to step onto the hospital floor with confidence.

“I could not have made a better decision of where to go to school. Our nursing program is fast paced, so you have to learn your stuff. You have to understand the foundation and the fundamentals in order to move forward,” Ray said. “I had the best instructors who not only cared about us becoming nurses, but they cared about us as people. I believe that’s what sets Keiser apart, because they pushed us. They saw the potential in me that I didn’t quite see in myself at the time.”

The success instilled in her by the instructors is coming to fruition. Ray is now working at HCA Florida Capital Hospital as Director of Tele-Neuro, Transition Unit and Nursing Inpatient Rehab.

Ray is also helping guide current Keiser University Tallahassee nursing students as they navigate through clinicals at HCA Florida Capital Hospital.

This position, Ray says, is the best of both worlds because she has the opportunity to interact with patients, but also fill the shoes of her own past instructors.

“Tap into that potential and let people know, you can do this, it’s okay,” Ray said. “People always say the sky is the limit, but I always tell them there is no limit to what you can do. The only thing that stops you is your mind.”

As her career and leadership roles continue to reach new heights, Ray says the inspiration of her father’s nurses are never far from her mind. Sharing his story, she says, helps encourage others and lets them know they’re not alone.

“As long as you’re here with me I’m going to be here if you need me to hold your hand, give you a hug, whatever it is,” Ray said. “Just letting them know that they have that support, because when you have that support it makes things easier.”

Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associate to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in providing Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Report in 2023.

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