Nursing Dean First Georgian to Win National Award


           ATLANTASusan S. Gunby, dean of Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, was the first Georgian to ever be recognized with the National Student Nurses’ Association’s (NSNA) Leader of Leaders award at the group’s annual convention in Baltimore last spring. Winners of this award, which is only given once annually, must provide motivation and generate enthusiasm for NSNA involvement and for the nursing profession, exhibit and teach professionalism, and encourage students to continue their education and professional involvement after graduation.

            Gunby was nominated by her students, who greeted her with a standing ovation at the convention. She has been at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing for the last 38 years, where she has taught her students to dispel stereotypes about themselves and their patients, and has inspired them to embrace organizational leadership in order to make a difference.

Melissa Goodbread, president of Georgia Baptist Association of Nursing Students (GBANS) and one of the students who nominated Gunby for the award, found her to be a role model of motivation and enthusiasm. In her nomination of Gunby, Goodbread wrote, “Sometimes it is difficult to put into words the way that one person might influence another or put such a strong passion into their souls that it wrenches their path like a pitchfork and changes one dream while on the way to another … Being a nurse, it is importance to understand and almost put yourself in those patients’ shoes and do whatever it takes to make them feel better. [Dean Gunby] was the first person who taught me that.”

Gunby earned her Ph.D. in nursing education at Georgia State University, where she also received a bachelor of science in nursing degree. She holds an M.N. from Emory University, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and received a diploma at the Georgia Baptist School of Nursing. She has published many well-received research papers and among her many other accomplishments, was inducted into the Georgia Baptist School/College of Nursing’s Hall of Honor in 2002. She worked closely with NSNA and GBANS to successfully attain total college enrollment in NSNA for Georgia Baptist of Nursing.

“Dean Susan Gunby has outstanding leadership abilities. She is such an effective leader because she leads by example and treats everyone with respect and dignity,” said H.W. “Ted” Matthews, vice president for the health sciences at Mercer University.

The Leader of Leaders Award, sponsored by Elsevier, publisher of Mosby and Saunders nursing titles, is presented to an outstanding dean, faculty advisor or state consultant who has provided exceptional commitment to his or her students and to NSNA. The winner receives an all-expense paid trip to NSNA’s Annual Convention.

About Mercer University: 

Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Macon and Eastman. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 16 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South.