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Small School, Big Impact: Marc Gombio ’23 talks about his experience in PLU’s School of Nursing

Small School, Big Impact: Marc Gombio ’23 talks about his experience in PLU’s School of Nursing

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PLU nursing student wearing dark gray scrubs and a name tag faces the camera and looks up and smiles. The student is standing in front of a hospital. It is sunny outside.

Image: Marc Gombio ’23 (PLU Photo / Sy Bean)

May 15, 2023
By Lisa Patterson
PLU Marketing & Communications Guest Writer

“I moved from Guam (a U.S. territory) … I felt the need to continue that momentum of a smaller population moving to the U.S. mainland. PLU nursing not only offered my preferred class size, but also had a mission of empowering new nurses to become skilled leaders and scholars.” -Marc Gombio ’23

You could say that PLU reminds nursing major Marc Gombio of home. Gombio transferred to PLU from Green River College and spent a quarter several years ago at Washington State University. In addition to being a full-time student, he also serves in the Navy Reserve. We talked to him about his experience at PLU and what’s next after graduation.

Why did you choose nursing?
In fact, I did not want to pursue nursing, believe it or not. There has always been a stigma that “all Filipinos are nurses,” and I did not want to fall into that stereotype, in all honesty. At Washington State University, I was initially pursuing pre-pharmacy with the intent to become a pharmacist. I left after one semester thinking that college was not for me. So, I enlisted in the Navy, and while still serving today as a hospital corpsman, working with outstanding Navy nurses, I realized that I have a strong affinity for nursing and absolutely love this line of work.

Tell us more about how your experience in the Navy helped lead you down the nursing path?
I truly believe I am entering the profession that I was made for — as cliche as that sounds. That feeling of being thanked never gets old. It is hard to convey in words alone, but it leaves you with a feeling of not only grace but solidifies the notion that nurses really bring forth good in this world.

How have you balanced your Navy career and school?
Balancing duty while being a full-time nursing student proved to be a substantial feat on its own. I was being pulled to mandatory duty (both in-state and out-of-state), and it conflicted at times. But it was a matter of time management … I was able to pull through with the mentorship and guidance of both my military superiors and civilian mentors. I wouldn’t have been able to push through without their support.

What were some highlights of your PLU experience?
The biggest highlights of my PLU experience were definitely building close-knit relationships with my professors, my peers and with the people I had the pleasure of helping care for … One other highlight is pushing through the nursing program with my peers. The thought of nursing is already daunting, but the reality of one day having other people’s lives in your hands is surreal.

Tell us about your involvement with the Nursing Tenure Track Search Committee.
The Nursing Tenure Track Search Committee is made up of members from the PLU community tasked with identifying and recommending nursing professors for the tenure track at PLU. I agreed to the position of helping bring into PLU bright individuals to uphold the standards of our school of nursing — when I graduate, I’ll be leaving PLU with a sense of accomplishment knowing that the future of nursing is bright here at PLU.

What’s next for you?
After graduation, I plan to commission back into active duty as a Naval nurse officer. I have always known that I wanted to be a military officer, and because of this degree, that is a goal that I feel within my bones to pursue. Serving people, my country and ultimately doing something bigger than myself has been a goal that I’ve always held dear to my heart.

What else would you like to add?
Congratulations to the Spring Class of 2023. Mabuhay! This means long-live in Filipino (Tagalog). I hope to meet you all down the road.