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Celebrating Health Care Week - It's all in the Family

Celebrating Health Care Week – It’s all in the Family

May 08, 2023 Posted in: Patients & Providers  4 minute read time


When Raven Melson was a little girl, she’d sit in her mom’s home office and read her nursing school textbooks. Her mother, Connie Charles, MSN, RN, director of nursing at Saint Joseph Hospital, had gone back to nursing school and that sparked an interest in Raven, who was in the second grade at the time.

“I think seeing how hard she worked and she always had an interest in health care field,” Raven said. “I think that rubbed off on me at a young age because she would come in and talk about what she was studying in school.”

That early interest opened the career path for Raven, who joined her mother at Saint Joseph Hospital last semester for a clinical rotation in her third year of medical school at the University of Pikeville.

CHI Saint Joseph Health offers four clinical rotations for UPike students. “She asked me if I knew that Saint Joseph offers clinical rotations for our program, and asked me how I would feel if she applied,” Connie said. “I said I would be ecstatic and told her I know people. She said, ‘no, I want to earn it on my own.’”

So Raven applied and was thrilled when she was chosen for one of the slots.  She completed her rotation in April, with two internal medicine rotations at the hospital and other rotations in practices at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group. 

Connie has been at Saint Joseph Hospital for 17 years. She entered nursing as a second career, but had always been drawn to nursing. “I consider myself tender-hearted and I always wanted to help those who are vulnerable,” she said. “My faith is important to me and I’ve let that guide me and it guided me here … into health care and ultimately to Saint Joseph.

“My why is I do believe in our mission statement to help those who are vulnerable and that we extend compassion and include everyone.”

That is a lesson Connie shared with her daughter at a young age. Raven also learned a lesson about health disparities in Kentucky when her grandmother, Connie’s mother, came to live with them. 

“She realized quickly that mom was in a small town (Beattyville) and didn’t have a lot of access to health care resources,” Connie said. Raven helped to make sure her grandmother made it to her appointments. “She started realizing even when she was young that she could make a difference.”

Raven attended Eastern Kentucky University for her undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in chemistry. For medical school, she wanted to stay close to home and had immediate acceptance at University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Medicine.  She’s thinking about residency and would like to stay in Kentucky. Her goal is to ultimately practice medicine in central Kentucky.

While their paths in medicine have been different, mom and daughter have enjoyed any time they have crossed paths in the hospital. “She will have her own career; even though maybe I was an influence, she is making her own way,” Connie said. “It’s obviously a great sense of pride because she gets to see what I do every day. She sees it from the nursing side. We have the conversations that, when you become a physician, respect your nurses. Know that a good nurse will help you take great care of your patients.”

Connie is also proud that the ministry that she has called home for 17 years have played a role in training her daughter. 

“I think just having her in the building where I know we have quality people that are teaching her … I think that’s the biggest thing for me, that I know here with us the quality of her rotations are superior,” Connie said. “Taking myself away out of the employee mix, as a parent that’s just phenomenal that she’s getting that quality rotation from those people that I get to see every day take such great care of our patients.”

Raven said having Connie in the building helped make her transition into residency a little easier. 

“I’m still new and I’m still learning,” Raven said. “Even though she’s not physically with me, knowing she’s here and if I need something is really comforting for me. She’s always supported me no matter what I’ve done so I think just transitioning that into my career in medicine it’s really comforting to have her support here too.”

Celebrating Health Care Week this year is a little more special. For Connie and Raven, it’s all in the family.

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