News & Stories
Gavin Duncan
April 4, 2024

Nursing Major Commits to Service at Home and Abroad

Gavin Duncan ’24 — who is starting his career in AdventHealth Redmond’s cardiovascular intensive care unit in Rome, Georgia — found his calling at an early age. His mother experienced a traumatic injury that required multiple brain surgeries and months of recovery. He says, “I helped my grandmother care for my mom for a couple of months while at home, and I knew ever since then that I had a passion for serving others through medical care.”

Choosing Berry came easily to Gavin: “I loved the idea of very small class sizes, being able to meet with professors easily and the close relationships with students. As a high school student interested in nursing, the simulation lab at Berry is what sealed the deal for me.”

He went on to help supervise the lab as part of his student work. “The simulation lab in Berry’s nursing department is top-notch,” Gavin explains. “Before performing any skill in the hospital, we must first be ‘checked off’ in the sim lab, where we are taught a skill and then observed return-demonstrating the skill. This is where we first learned how to assess a patient (full head-to-toe); start IVs, catheters, nasogastric/orogastric tubes; perform wound care, tracheostomy care and so much more.”

The high point of Gavin’s training extends beyond campus. In 2023, he participated in the nursing program’s annual trip to Kenya for an immersive cultural experience to gain insight into another country’s health-care approaches and reinforce connections with fellow students.


Gavin says, “We toured hospitals, met with nurses and nursing students, and hosted a two-day free medical camp in a rural village. During this medical camp, we assessed and treated over 1,400 patients.”

After the trip to Kenya, he interned at a small medical clinic in the rural village of Ekitangaala, Uganda. “We treated patients for malaria, flu, sickle cell, and many other illnesses,” Gavin recalls. “I had the opportunity to speak to nearly 1,000 children about puberty and sexual health. I have never experienced the amount of joy that I feel as when I am in Uganda.”

A return trip to Uganda is already in the works for summer 2025. He says, “I am hoping to host free medical clinics, like the one that we hosted in Kenya, in the capital city of Kampala and in Ekitangaala.”

Even as Gavin moves forward with plans, including the goal of one day becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist, he looks back with appreciation for those who guided his way: “Dr. Carolyn Reilly, director of nursing, served as my advisor while also being a mentor. Whenever I met with her, she began by seeing how I was doing mentally and physically before ever diving into anything academically related. She is such a positive part of Berry nursing and will continue to do great things in the future.”

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