Maria N. Kayondo graduated from Truett McConnell University Rielin and Salmen School of Nursing (TMURSSON) in May, 2019. Expecting to serve somewhere on the mission field in medical missions, Ms. Kayondo began to wonder where God would place her as graduation drew near. During her four years of study as a student-nurse at TMURSSON, Maria served on short-term mission trips in six different countries. Where would God place her to serve? Would it be back home in Uganda, or Haiti, Zimbabwe, or perhaps India? As the international medical mission opportunities gradually diminished, and then denied, Maria began to think about graduate school and perhaps the pursuit of a Masters in Psychology or a Nurse Practitioner degree. Finding she needed more experience within the nursing field before graduate school, she applied to NGHS in Gainesville, GA.
Less than one year into her nursing career, Maria recalls, “I didn’t know that 7 months into my career as a brand new nurse on the oncology unit, we would be facing a pandemic. I mean, nursing school didn’t teach me how to be ready for this, neither did state boards. I was still trying to figure out how to hang IV antibiotics and then, boom, a pandemic! It’s real and it’s raw. There’s no way you could do this alone or on your own strength. It’s exhausting. I mean, you go from seeing normal “healthy people” to seeing people on the highest flow of oxygen and still not breathing well, or some needing ventilators, some needing intubation. I have never seen anything like this before.”
Then Maria heard a sermon from a local preacher where she was reminded about the greatest tragedy. “The greatest tragedy I can think of is someone who comes through medical care and survives a scare of COVID 19, and goes back to a life that is without hope and without God and without a purpose, only to die in another season and another day, without the creator.”
The thought of individuals entering eternity without a personal relationship with Jesus is, indeed, heart-breaking and tragic. Maria has a new perspective on her career, “So what’s my role right now you may ask? It’s to not only meet my patients physical needs/medical needs, but to be the awkward, new, nurse girl who writes letters to her patients, or loves on them a little extra, tries to scribble Spanish words about Jesus over their bed frames, or plays them some hymns if they’re going for an invasive procedure. I would rather be remembered as awkward… as for me to not have loved my patients a little bit more or asked some hard questions. It doesn’t even have to be complicated. The Lord just simply calls us to love others… and it may look different for every nurse. To some nurses, that might look like a hug for those patients because they are all alone; or to another nurse it may be bringing them their favorite pudding to cheer them up, or organizing a video call so they can see some familiar faces from home. I believe that any act of love is never wasted.”
At Truett McConnell University (TMU), nursing is a ministry of compassionate care in which faith and learning are integrated. We challenge nursing students to become compassionate, patient centered nurse-leaders who will impact their communities and transform nursing care. Consistent with the mission and purpose of the University, our mission is to prepare competent, professional nurses to integrate Christian faith and instill Christian values with compassionate care to fulfill the ministry of the Great Commission.
Maria exemplifies what TMU is preparing other nurses to do, be the arms, and hands of Jesus.
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Dr. Gary Jarnagin is the Director of Advancement at TMU.Return to News Archive