When 2011 White Hall High School graduate Torie Dailey first started thinking about college, she had decided that she wanted to be anything in the medical field except for a nurse...or so she thought. But now, the 21-year old White Hall resident has accepted an R.N. position at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, one of the most respected research and diagnostic medical centers in the nation.
It all started in her junior year of high school when she had an opportunity to work at Jefferson Regional Medical Center as a Patient Care Technician. “I figured this would be a good opportunity to get my foot in the door and make some good connections. I figured what could it hurt,” says Dailey. It was her chance to be in a hospital setting around lots of medical professionals. Not to mention it would also mean she could make decent money. So she applied and was chosen. After about a year of working along side the nurses at JRMC and being told by several of the nurses she worked with that she would make a great nurse she switched her major from pre-pharm to Nursing. Not because of the money, but because she had fallen in love with the profession. “I loved working face-to-face with the patients and being there for each moment of their care,” says Daily. “I fell in love with the patients, the families, and my coworkers.” Never in a million years did she ever think that she would become a nurse. “But look at me now,” said Dailey. After working at JRMC for two years and declaring as a Nursing major, Dailey began her journey at the University of Central Arkansas to become a nurse. Her first year proved to the the hardest as she was under constant pressure to do really well to make sure she got into the nursing program. “It was tough, but looking back it made me stronger,” she said. During her time in school Dailey worked various jobs and participated in numerous activities. She worked for a nursing home in Conway for over a year, and then at the Little Rock VA as a Student Nurse Technician where she worked for a year on a med-surg floor. After that, she applied for a VALOR SNT position in the Intensive Care Unit and was chosen. The position would allow her to work along side a BSN RN prepared nurse to care for patients, a position that allowed her to gain a lot of hands on experience. Throughout her college career she also was an active participant of the Nursing Students Association, serving as UCA NSA's representative for two years and president for one year. She also served as the Treasurer of the Arkansas Nursing Students Association.
Last year, Daily was recognized as the Arkansas NSA's Student of the Year. All the while she was participating in numerous extracurricular activities and working, Dailey still managed to maintain a 3.0 grade point average receiving recognition from numerous honor societies including National College Scholars, Alpha Chi Honors Society, and Who's Who of American Universities 2015. In her senior year she completed two research projects. One with a group of students titled "Sleep and Healing in the Intensive Care Unit" and then one on her own entitled "Reducing Test Anxiety in College Students." During her last semester she was awarded the Graham Scholarship for Medical Professionals. That was when her journey to Mayo began. Students that were considered by the scholarship committee were those in the medical profession and nominated by their department. Each medical profession department was allowed to nominate one student. “Dr. Ashcraft with the help of Dr. Gatto nominated me from the Nursing department. I was honored, but I thought there was no way I would be picked,” said Dailey. However, just a few short weeks later she received noticed that she was awarded the scholarship. She was then prompted to meet with a representative who explained who Dr. Graham was and of his influence at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The meeting sparked her interested in the Mayo Clinic. Soon after Dailey attended the Nursing Students' Association conference in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met with two nurse recruiters from the Mayo Clinic who encouraged her to apply for a position at Mayo. “Its hard to explain, but I just felt like everything was falling into place,” said Dailey. Once home from the conference Dailey began applying for positions at Mayo and within a month she was called for an interview. Two weeks later she was notified that she had received a position as an RN in the Thoracic Vascular ICU. “I couldn't believe it!” exclaimed Dailey. “I had never thought that I could be a nurse at the Mayo Clinic. It is my dream job.” Having lived in White Hall her entire life Dailey says she has always wanted to move and explore other places. Now that dream is coming true. Just a few short weeks ago, Dailey got to visit Rochester, Minnesota for the first time in her life. “It was beautiful,” she continued. Intrigued by the town and the hospital which she describes as both stunning and full of history, Dailey is excited to start her new life and her career in Rochester next month. “I have had a very blessed life and I have so many people that I can thank for supporting me along this journey, but mostly my mom Rhonda Dailey, my adoptive dad John Dailey, and my grandmother Paula Dailey,” While she says that she has lots of friends and teachers she could mention, the list would be forever long. “I have to say Mrs. Deaton from White Hall High School always inspired me to become the best me possible,” she added. “She is an amazing woman and throughout our relationship has continuously shown me how to be a Godly woman and to strive to be the best you can. I believe that she has been an influential part of this journey,” said Dailey. While she would like to go back to school to obtain her Doctorate of Nursing Practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, she also has dreams of one day being able to settle down and start a family.