Temeaka Gray is a nurse with a lot of letters after her name. She obtained her nursing diploma in 1997 from the St. Vincent School of Nursing in Toledo, Ohio, USA, followed by her BSN from Lourdes College (now Lourdes University), also in Ohio. In 2008, she graduated with a MSN from the University of Cincinnati, and then became eligible to sit for the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Certification exam, for which she has maintained her certification ever since.
When asked why she decided to become a nurse, her answer is straightforward: “There was never anything else I wanted to be! I used to dress as a nurse for Halloween and, according to my family, often said I was going to be a doctor and a nurse. Now I am a nurse with a doctorate, so I guess I met that goal,” she says with a smile.
Today Temeaka works as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Toledo College of Nursing (UT CON). She currently teaches in both undergraduate and graduate programs, providing didactic training and clinical conferences for her students. She also serves as a preceptor for advanced practice nursing students, and committee member or advisor on scholarly projects.
Temeaka did not join Sigma Theta Tau International until 2012 when she was inducted as a Community Leader into Zeta Theta-at-Large Chapter. She confesses that she did not understand the benefit of membership as an undergraduate, but that STTI has since helped her immensely with building her leadership skills and self-esteem. Having now served her chapter as leadership succession chair, president elect, and currently president, she identifies plainly with STTI’s mission and vision. “It [STTI] makes me think of inclusiveness and reminds me of why I became a nurse … The history of STTI puts into perspective what nurses are able to accomplish when we put our collaborative efforts to it,” she says.
In 2016, Temeaka was selected to become one of 13 Scholars in STTI’s Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, an intense international leadership development experience designed to foster academic career success, promote nurse faculty retention and satisfaction, encourage personal leadership development, and cultivate high-performing, supportive work environments in academe. She met one of the earlier Scholars at the recent STTI biennial convention in Las Vegas and, after much consultation, decided to submit an application. Under the mentorship of Dr. Judy Didion, who supported her in becoming Zeta Theta’s president, Temeaka will research communication and shared governance. “I hesitated on hitting the submit button and was stunned when I received the invite,” says Temeaka. “I still smile as I think about it."