Caring college professors help local nursing student complete clinical training and graduate

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — As part of her college training, Autumn Burgess spent a lot of time in metro area hospitals. First as a nurse, then as a patient.

“All I could think about in the ER was, not that I was getting a pacemaker. Not that my husband wasn’t here. It was like, I’ve worked so hard in nursing school. I can’t ‘not’ graduate,” Burgess said.

Burgess was in her last semester at Georgia Gwinnett College and in the middle of her clinical training, when she suddenly had to deal with a heart condition.

Getting that diploma when she planned was now in doubt. But her professors came to the rescue.

“We get to hear their stories. We get to find out what happened when they’re not in class,” Dr. Laura Madden said.

Madden said it’s one of the many great things about a smaller college — it’s personal.

She and her colleagues made arrangements for Burgess to complete her clinicals, because they care.

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“As nurses, that’s part of our DNA,” Madden said.

Burgess did not need the pacemaker. She’s doing just fine now — she completed her training and this week, she graduated.

She’s very grateful to those who helped her.

“It made me feel so good and so cared for. I don’t feel like you find that everywhere. All the compassion and caring we have here at GGC … I’m just overwhelmed by the love,” Burgess said.

Burgess will now join her husband, who is in the Marine Corps.

She hopes to join Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

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