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Nursing student to receive second degree from UA Little Rock

Ja'Marvin Elliott

Nursing proved to be a popular profession within his family, so it came as no surprise when Ja’Marvin Elliott, a graduating student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, decided to continue the family legacy by pursuing a career in nursing.

After graduating from Camden Fairview High School in Camden, Elliott joined the Trojan family at UA Little Rock in 2010. As an undergraduate, he served as a Chancellor’s Leadership Corps scholar and later became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

“Ja’Marvin as a student can be described as a great mentor to those around him and always focused on his studies,” said Amber Wolf, scholarship coordinator of the CLC program. “He has always had a kind heart and a passion to help others.”

In 2016, Elliott earned his Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from UA Little Rock and returned to the university to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“I view nursing as a career rather than a job, and because a career involves advancement, I decided to further my education to receive my bachelor’s,” he said. “I’m very ambitious and furthering my education has molded me into a more knowledgeable nurse, which will allow me to provide a higher quality of care to patients and families.”

According to Elliott, working to obtain two degrees brought on several challenges, but he chose to face them head on. During his first few years at the university, Elliott found it difficult to balance his social life with his school work. His role as the president of his fraternity seemed to take just as much attention as his educational goals. While working toward his second degree, however, maintaining a social life seemed to be a thing of the past.

In pursuit of his bachelor’s, Elliott began working full-time as a registered nurse at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, giving him the opportunity to apply what he was learning in the classroom to people and issues in the real world.

“It was a great feeling to accept my first job offer,” Elliott said. “It was weird because I accepted a job offer before taking the National Licensure Exam for nurses, which is not uncommon.”

Elliott was also later selected to be preceptor for UAMS’ new graduate residency program.

“I’ve always been a very compassionate person who takes pride in helping others and has an unselfish concern for the welfare of others,” Elliott said. “I like to believe those characteristics show in my work.”

As new opportunities unfolded before him, Elliott leaned on his parents and sister for support. As they reciprocated the love and encouragement he needed, he was fortunate to find similar energy in the nursing department.

A lot of professors encouraged me during my time at UA Little Rock, but I would like to thank the entire nursing staff for believing in me at times I didn’t believe in myself and pushing me to reach my highest potential,” he said.

Looking back on his many years as a Trojan, Elliott can find nothing that he would change about his experience.

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I’m embracing the position that God has placed me in, so I’m grateful for the adversity I faced to reach this point in my life,” he said.

In the summer of 2018, Elliott hopes to begin a doctorate of nursing practice program to assist in fulfilling his dream of becoming a family nurse practitioner. Until then, he’s more than excited to graduate from UA Little Rock for a second time with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The Fall 2017 commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, Dec. 16, at the UA Little Rock Jack Stephens Center.