Tonya Terry Nursing Scholarship Continues Namesake’s Legacy of Caring

February 9, 2017

Paige Davis
Paige Davis

Paige Davis will graduate in May with her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Arkansas. A scholarship created in memory of another nurse helped her accomplish this milestone.

Davis is the 2016-17 recipient of the Tonya Joan Terry, RN Endowed Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarship. A registered nurse since 2013, Davis works part time at Mercy Hospital in Rogers while completing clinical hours for the degree. She formerly worked full time on the cardiac floor at Mercy.

DNP students in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the U of A who have at least two years of nursing experience can apply for the Terry scholarship by filling out an online application on the College of Education and Health Professions website. The deadline is midnight Feb. 15.

Davis met Terry’s husband, Bill Smith, who created the scholarship in 2012, and learned about the passion Terry had for her patients. Terry, a U of A nursing graduate, died in 2011 at the age of 43.

“He created the scholarship because he saw how loving his wife was and how hard she worked,” Davis said. “I have always known I wanted to be a health-care provider since sixth grade. My junior year at John Brown University, I felt the Lord call me toward nursing. I realized how much I loved people and how much I like caring for them. I wanted to go into a practitioner program so that I can provide more for my patients.”

Smith said the scholarship promotes two of Terry’s most cherished values: education and caring for others.

“There are many ways, of course, to care for others in this world,” Smith said. “Tonya chose to be a nurse professional and believed that decision enabled her to impact the lives of others in a very direct, personal and often critical way. She wanted to help save lives if she could.”

Davis also focuses on making an impact. For her capstone project in the graduate program, Davis developed a one-hour, one-on-one education session to teach heart patients self-care behavior before their discharge. Such education has been proven to reduce re-admission rates and subsequent heart failure, she said.

Davis has a bachelor’s degree in biology from JBU and a nursing bachelor’s from Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio. A native of Siloam Springs, she said the graduate program at the U of A has gone smoothly for her.

“If you have any issues or concerns, you can always go to the same people and expect a response the same day,” she said. “Some programs are too large you don’t know who to go to. This is a close-knit group of students and professors, who are open to anything you need.”

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