Marva Riley is a Jamaican-born and raised registered nurse living in the U.S. She is a successful nurse and recipient of the Daisy award for extraordinary nurses which honors nurses internationally. Marva is also an educator and author of a holistic health and wellness book and memoir titled: “Eat, Sleep Meditate – A Nurses guide to Health”. Though raised in Jamaica, she immigrated to the U.S at the age of 26 with her husband and 2 kids in search of better economic opportunities. Right from an early age, Marva had always been intrigued about nurses, having witnessed how neighbors often sought them for medical assistance when they were ill or due for delivery.
Despite being raised in a low-income family, Marva remained true to her dreams and was one of the first persons in her family to attend high school while working as a receptionist in a reputable company (Alcan Jamaica). Nevertheless, Jamaica offered limited opportunities for advancement in education and career; thus, prompting her and husband to consider immigrating to the U.S. Marva immigrated first and stayed with her sister in Florida, but was later joined by her family from Jamaica. Eventually, they successfully moved from Florida to Chicago where some of her husband’s relatives lived. Marva tells a funny story about being so new that they thought that they could drive to Chicago by just driving north and were saved from ending up in Canada by a gas station who gave them a map and pointed them in the right direction..
Though the journey toward becoming a nurse for Marva was not an easy shot, it all began upon Marva’s relocation with her family to Florida a few years later. Here, she met a registered nurse who was helpful in explaining the process of beginning a career in nursing. Marva began her nursing career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) before continuing her education to become a Registered Nurse. In Marva’s words, “Whatever it is that we dream of being and doing and becoming, that dream was dropped into our spirit and our heart by God; that’s who placed that deep passion and desire and yearning in our spirit.” Marva emphasized the importance of focus and determination toward one’s dreams or goals.
Marva not only believes in resolute determination, but also in excellence. Upon her return to Florida, not only did she obtain her license as a Registered Nurse but she received numerous scholarships and grants, graduating as the top 1% in her class. Having worked for over 22 years, Marva explained that her nursing career has provided opportunities for her to venture into other things like real estate, gardening, and book writing given the flexibility of either working part-time in the hospital or doing research without feeling overwhelmed or stressed since she enjoys what she does.
Lastly, when asked if she considered herself a success, Marva said:
“Success for me is not necessarily having a million dollars in the bank or being able to carry a Louis Vuitton or the most expensive Gucci purses or whatever it is that people measure success by. Success for me is being healthy mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually”.
Furthermore, she considers success as a holistic concept having suffered from a heart disease in the past due to stress from overworking and not eating healthily nor exercising sufficiently. In her new book due this fall, Marva attempts to capture the essence of living a successful life through the lenses of the human spirit, mind, emotions, and body.
As an educator, Marva provides relevant resources on healthy living for women on her website: