Nursing is a Family Affair

Gullo family Greg. Jr., Joe, Erin, Susan, Greg, Sr.

Gullo family at Erin’s May 2018 graduation: Greg Jr., Joe, Erin, Susan, Greg Sr.

By Jeanne Leong

Erin Gullo was destined for a career in health care.

Her mother and brother are nurses, and another brother is studying to become a nurse.

Gullo, a May 2018 Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden graduate, always enjoyed helping others and had seriously considered becoming a physician, but chose to pursue nursing.

“I realized nursing gave me more time with my patients,” says Gullo, of Marlton. “Nursing gives you the opportunity to truly make a meaningful difference.”

Growing up, Gullo learned about nursing from her mother, who began her nursing career at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and now works at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

“Her relentless efforts to be the best nurse she could be was nothing less than inspiring,” says Erin Gullo. “I chose to be a nurse so that I too could hopefully one day make that same positive impact.”

Her mother, Susan Gullo, graduated with a degree in psychology from Rutgers University–New Brunswick in 1990, and then worked as a medical assistant at a pediatric office for years, before attending the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden and graduating in 2002. “My first exposure to the amazing world of nursing came from my Rutgers nursing instructors,” says Susan Gullo. “These women showed me a life of professionalism, discipline, brilliance, and the power of knowledge.” She went on to earn her master of science in nursing from La Salle University in 2017.

Gullo’s oldest brother, Greg, a 2013 Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden graduate, had considered becoming an architect or an English teacher. As a young boy, he was often treated for asthma attacks at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and became interested in providing care for others in the nurturing way his nurses cared for him. As an adult, inspired by his mother and his experience as a patient, he chose to major in nursing. “Since I was already acclimated to the hospital environment, it was a no-brainer to pursue the same fulfilling career path,” says Greg Gullo. He’s a progressive-care nurse, specializing in cardiology at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia.

At one time, her other brother, Joe, wanted to be a microbiologist. He’s also following their mom’s footsteps and is pursuing a career in nursing. “I grew up listening to stories from my mom after a day at the hospital and always found them to be interesting,” he says. “Being able to have the opportunity to help others is such a fulfilling privilege.” He is scheduled to graduate from the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden in 2019.

Gullo’s father, Greg (senior), a manager at a car dealership, is the only person in the family who isn’t a nurse. “He always tells us how much he appreciates nursing as a profession,” says Erin Gullo, “And that he’s grateful to have so many nurses in his family to do God’s work.”

During her education at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, Gullo participated in study-abroad programs that allowed her to see how health systems operate in other countries and to find new ways to work with patients. In the course Global Health and Healing Initiatives in Brazil, she worked at health clinics and made home visits with physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to patients in rural areas who couldn’t get to a clinic. During the Community Clinical Rotation to undeveloped regions of Jamaica, she and other students visited facilities to teach coping skills to young girls who had been sexually abused, worked with residents of a homeless shelter, and cared for children in an orphanage.

Erin Gullo with children at a daycare center in Brazil

Erin Gullo with children at a daycare center in Brazil

Outside of class, she worked nearly 40 hours every week as a nursing assistant at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. Under the supervision of a registered nurse or clinical nurse specialist, the experience gave her an opportunity to use her clinical skills to work in critical-care units and the emergency department, performing tasks including taking vital signs, administering CPR, and doing electrocardiograms.

The hospital’s trauma unit treats many patients with gunshot wounds, stabbings, and people injured in motor vehicle accidents—some of the most horrific and difficult cases to handle. Gullo finds the fast-paced and unpredictable environment exciting and rewarding.

“Being in the ICU is beyond scary to family members,” says Gullo. “The ability to sit down with the patient’s family and explain everything that’s going on, what the plan is, and see their worry lines disappear—those are the moments I live for.”

Despite her demanding work schedule, Honors College classwork, and fitting in time with family and friends, Gullo excelled and graduated summa cum laude.

In September, she will begin working at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in the trauma intensive care unit.

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