Adrian Gonzalez ’21 landed his dream job as a neuro-trauma nurse one month prior to graduating from Neumann University. Now Gonzalez is checking off another life goal by enlisting in the United States Navy Reserve. He was sworn in on September 20, 2021, as a medical officer.
Gonzalez had been working at Reading Hospital in the neuro-trauma ICU. There he found his passion and immersed himself in his work. He was such a stellar employee that the hospital has agreed to hold a position for him when his six-month training period with the Navy ends.
As a reservist, Gonzalez will be required to serve one weekend a month for eight years. He will begin his initial training in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Gonzalez, who came to NU when he was 27 years old, had already received a degree in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. After working for a few years in the medical field, he decided to go back to school for his nursing degree.
“I had heard that Neumann University had one of the best nursing programs, and it was my first choice,” he said. “I always wanted to be a nurse, even when I went to UNCW. Nursing has always been near and dear to my heart. My mom is a nurse, and so is my aunt.”
The NU nursing program was a perfect fit for Gonzalez. He said it prepared him for many things, most notably to become an advocate for his patients. He credits the nursing professors with setting him up for success and giving him confidence in his nursing skills.
A life-long learner, Gonzalez plans to continue his education while serving in the Navy. He will be studying to become a nurse anesthetist.
As a teenager, Gonzalez was kicked out of high school his senior year. As he tells it, he was floundering and had given up on himself. The school administrators told his mother that he would never be successful in life. He is incredibly proud to have proved them all wrong.
“It’s all falling in place for me, and I am thrilled because I have worked very hard to get here. I grew up in the hood in Wilmington (Delaware). My mom is a single mother. I have a little sister and brother, and I’m like the father of the house,” explained Gonzalez. “I had a dark past, but I never allowed any of that to define me."