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“It takes a village to raise a nurse.”

Although Greg Montes’ mother was a nurse and his sister is a labor and delivery nurse, Greg thought he would go into medicine. However, that changed when Greg’s father became ill. At the age of ten Greg realized the real need for nurses. His father’s illness required that he reside in a nursing home the last four years of his life to receive care. This was a life changing experience for Greg. The role and significance of the nurse became his turning point.

Greg’s application to California State University, East Bay began with a real challenge. Submitting the many required documents in the required format, and meeting the required “deadlines” are critical to this very competitive process. Unfortunately, the application deadline was mis-communicated and Greg’s admission was in jeopardy or at best in the balance.

Most others would accept the fate of a delay in consideration for admission; not Greg Montes. He presented a case and advocated for admission and the university made an exception.

Greg attended two colleges concurrently to satisfy his nursing prerequisites. As a nursing student Greg’s National Guard Unit was deployed. This opportunity to serve required a one year absence from nursing school.

Today, Greg holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University East Bay (June 2005). He admits there were hurdles and he didn’t get where he is today without help.

So many people have impacted him along the way in so many different ways he says. “It takes a village to raise a nurse,” he says with pride. He received unconditional academic support from his instructors. “Even my fellow students motivated me and mentored me as much as any of my instructors,” says Greg.

Greg recently stepped down as the past president of the California Nursing Students Association where they always challenged him to make sure he continued to strive to do well. Pat McFarland of the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) mentored him during his presidency and Joann Kingsburg of ACNL was a huge influence as well. “Leading a board and facilitating was a challenge, but rewarding,” says Greg.

Linda Gregory of the Coalition for Nursing Careers in California (CNCC) was also a huge inspiration. “When I served as a non-voting member on the Board of CNCC, I watched her and listened to her,” he says. Actually Greg is no stranger to doing outreach work.

The Breakthrough-to-Nursing program run by the State of California allowed him to go to non traditional underrepresented groups in nursing to engage them and make them aware that nursing is a viable profession. Going to local elementary schools to present the slide shows using the CNCC downloadable, age-specific PowerPoint presentations were a big reward. The presentations were well-received and the students asked pertinent questions.

During his clinicals, Greg’s biggest rewards were the testaments he received from his patients or a family member. It was quite fulfilling to hear, “This is the best care my father has received since he arrived here,” one family member told him. He recalls the stroke patient who couldn’t speak and hadn’t been out of bed for two weeks. “I gave him a shave and put him in a wheel chair for two hours, and then he cried,” says Greg. “These experiences are moving, and humbling,” he says, “because it confirms why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Nursing is not easy and doesn’t appeal to everyone. However, Greg is convinced commitment, heart, and compassion for people are the elements it takes to become a great nurse. Greg Montes is on his way to becoming a great nurse.