For someone in pain or discomfort, the competent care provided by a nurse offers special comfort. Mother Teresa said, “Do small things with great love,” and nurses live out that motto every day, making the world a better place as they look after their patients.
Southern Adventist University has been equipping nurses for more than 60 years; in fact, 5,855 have graduated from the School of Nursing. Of those, 3,105 currently live in the Southern Union, changing their communities for the better.
Ashley Gomez, who earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Southern in 2015, currently serves at Florida Hospital Orlando. Working in the high-risk obstetrics unit, she has the opportunity to offer more than physical care to her patients.
“I try to form friendships with them because many of my patients are on my unit for a long time — sometimes for a few months, depending on how their diagnoses affect their pregnancies,” Gomez said. “I also share Jesus with them, either verbally or through my actions. After they deliver, I try to stay in contact with them.”
Gomez is confident that God led her into her profession.
“I always knew I wanted to take care of people, but I didn’t decide on nursing until I took a year’s worth of pre-med classes,” she said. “I wasn’t happy; I prayed a lot that summer, and I felt God was calling me into nursing. He opened the door for me to get into the program fairly quickly, and the rest is history.”
Now Gomez is pursuing a doctorate of nursing practice/master of business administration through Southern’s online program, continuing to follow God’s purpose for her life.
Shawn Collins, D.N.P., Ph.D., also prepared for his calling at Southern, earning his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1991. He went on to specialize in anesthesia. He and his wife, Beverly (Keyes) — who also graduated from Southern with a degree in nursing, in 1989 — now live in North Carolina, where he works at Western Carolina University as director of the nurse anesthesia program and interim associate director of the School of Nursing.
“My wife and I are both very strong proponents of education, and also caring for those who don’t have the resources to care for themselves,” Collins said. “This lifelong love for education and lifting others up in a positive manner grew out of my experiences at Southern.”
That passion has led him and Beverly on multiple mission trips with students. They have taken several groups to Africa, where they partner with Adventist Health International to offer care. Last year they took a group to serve in the Republic of Palau, providing anesthesia during surgeries.
In Alabama, Shirna Gullo, D.N.P., shares that passion for education. The first to graduate from Southern’s master of science in nursing program in 2002, Gullo served at Oakwood University as director of Healthy Campus 2020 for several years. Her goal was to inform, educate, and empower the campus as well as the community at large by teaching, role modeling, and integrating the eight laws of health.
“God’s health message has not changed; He is just using different methods to share and disseminate the same truth given to Ellen White more than 100 years ago,” Gullo said. “God is reaching outward and inward with the health message, which is the right arm of the Gospel, to prepare us for His soon return.”
She also finds fulfillment in tutoring nursing students and finding other ways to give back. This heart of service is a common denominator among Southern nursing alumni, who often echo Gullo’s words: “I chose nursing because I wanted to help others. It is my goal to use all of my gifts for God’s service and glory.”
is editorial manager at Southern Adventist University, where she graduated in 2005 with a degree in mass communication, and Natalia Perez is a senior mass communication major.
Southern Adventist University | September 2018