Mega Doctor NEWS
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Texas Southmost College alumnus Julio Gonzalez has worked in the nursing profession for the last two decades, but never forgetting where he started, he is also giving back by mentoring the future generations of nurses.
The 48-year-old is the director of Infection Prevention, Clinical Operations and Assisted Living for Spanish Meadows in Brownsville where he has worked since 1998 and also serves on TSC’s Nursing advisory committee.
“We all start somewhere, and I believe that it is our responsibility to understand the challenges they (students) face and be ready to help them,” said Gonzalez. “That’s why it’s important when students are in our facilities that I take them under my wing to shape and mold them to be the best nurses they can be.”
The Brownsville native earned a certificate in 1995 and an associate degree in 2001 from TSC’s Vocational Nursing and Registered Nursing programs, respectively.
Yet, Gonzalez’s journey in health care began in high school. It was after taking a health care class, that he was hooked on the idea of promoting health and helping others.
So, while completing his nursing programs at TSC, he decided to work full-time as a certified nursing assistant with local home health care providers caring for adults and pediatrics.
“Nothing about college or nursing was, or is, easy,” said Gonzalez. “The program is demanding, and instructors are strict. As a nursing student there are high expectations. Looking back, I’m thankful for that, because that is what prepared me for the successful career I have today.”
There were times when Gonzalez said he felt like giving up because the pressures of work, nursing school and family would become too much, but he knew this was the only way to make his dreams come true, so he stuck with it.
“I have never forgotten the competitiveness of the program, how it felt to finally get accepted after a rejection and how it felt to juggle school and life, and that’s why I embrace students and mentoring so much,” he said. “Mentoring is my way of giving back to TSC and my community.”
Gonzalez has even presented stethoscopes to TSC nursing graduates at their pinning and commencement ceremonies.
As a TSC Nursing advisory committee member, Gonzalez said TSC can count on him to keep its programs up to date and to continue allowing students to complete clinical rotations at Spanish Meadows, in addition to hiring the top TSC Health Profession graduates.
“I accept all TSC Health Profession program students at Spanish Meadows. I have nursing, respiratory, radiology…the list goes on,” he said. “And I hire the students who leave a lasting impression. I know that at TSC, they have received the best training possible.”
Gonzalez said overall, nursing has been a rewarding career for him and has positively impacted him emotionally and spiritually, and he hopes that nursing students realize how their service affects others.
“From patient care to helping students succeed, my career has been fulfilling and rewarding,” he said. “And I’m fortunate that TSC gave me this opportunity. Now, I am able to give back to an institution that gave me so much.”