CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Whether you are a doctor or a nurse, both professions can claim the ultimate goal is not only to care for a life, but to save one. Islander alumna and current registered nurse Jessica Gibbs has made a difference in the lives that need her even before receiving her official nursing license. Gibbs who graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s nursing program in 2015, often reflects on the moment she sprang into action and first put her nursing education to use.
Back in October 2015, Gibbs paid a visit to a local post office to mail off her nursing license application to the Texas State Board, when she noticed an elderly woman in distress sitting on the floor of the post office. In that moment, Gibbs checked the woman’s vitals, comforted her, and called 911.
“When I think back to that day, the one thing that sticks out most is that nobody else stopped to help her before I saw her in distress,” said Gibbs. “I honestly don’t feel like my actions where heroic, I just did what I was trained to do, and what I thought any good-hearted person should do.”
The woman saved by Gibbs’ actions, Johnnie Ray Seale, took such appreciation towards her efforts that she wrote a letter to Dr. Don Albrecht, Vice President for Student Engagement and Success at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“Jessica was a true blessing to me,” said Seale. “The Island University possesses fine students, not only for their academic skills but also for their compassion.”
Compassion plays a large part of Gibbs’ daily life and profession as an RN at a local hospital, and she credits her skills in patient communication to her professors at the Island University. Her mentors, Karen LaNasa and Julie Fomenko, Clinical Assistant Professors of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, encouraged Gibbs to never give up on the road to higher education. Gibbs also credits her mother for giving her patience and understanding.
“Before my mom passed away she always used to tell me, ‘sometimes you have to meet people where they are at because they can’t always meet you half way,’” said Gibbs. “It’s important for me to make my patients feel comfortable and up-beat. I’d like to think I’ve never met a stranger in my life, just a friend who’s name I don’t quite know yet.”
Gibbs, who has remained close to Seale, says that fateful day in the post office helped her decide to one day to specialize in geriatric care.