El Paso community leaders Bruce and Jackie Gulbas have partnered with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to create a new scholarship endowment to educate more nurses for the Borderland.
The Bruce and Jackie Gulbas Nursing Scholarship will help future Hunt School of Nursing students, the Gulbas family announced during a special Jan. 20 luncheon with current nursing students. TTUHSC El Paso President and Foster School of Medicine Dean Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., and Hunt School of Nursing Dean Stephanie L. Woods, Ph.D., R.N., were also present to welcome the Gulbas family.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gulbas family has been inspired by health care professionals, especially nurses. Bruce and Jackie Gulbas have delivered meals and treats to Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso clinics and TTUHSC El Paso’s partner hospitals as front-line nurses, physicians and staff worked tirelessly to care for El Pasoans. The scholarship endowment is another way they’ve shared their gratitude for generations to come.
The creation of the endowment comes as TTUHSC El Paso celebrates the Hunt School of Nursing’s 10-year anniversary and its contributions to higher education and health care in the Paso del Norte region and combating the critical shortage of nurses across West Texas. Just 10 years ago, El Paso County faced a 40% shortage of nurses compared to the national average. Today, and following the opening of the Hunt School of Nursing, the shortage has been reduced to 20%.
“Hunt School of Nursing students are some of the most dedicated you’ll ever meet. They’re working hard to graduate and join the workforce at hospitals across our region,” Bruce Gulbas said. “We’re proud to play a role in their journey to becoming our community’s trusted nursing heroes of tomorrow and helping to address the critical shortage of nurses.”
Supporting nursing students is a personal mission of the Gulbas family. Jackie Gulbas is a former school nurse and attended UTEP’s nursing school, formerly known as the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing. In addition to creating the scholarship endowment, Jackie Gulbas serves on the committee for the Hunt School of Nursing’s 10th anniversary.
Bruce Gulbas is the CEO/owner of National Restaurant Supply Co. and a member of the TTUHSC El Paso President’s Development Council. The council focuses on connecting donors with philanthropic opportunities to expand health care across the Paso del Norte region and prepare future nurses, physicians, dentists and researchers.
El Pasoan Paloma Romero is one of the Hunt School of Nursing students who has benefitted from other scholarships available to her and her classmates. She grew up in a low-income household, but thanks to the hard work of her parents, both health care workers, she and her siblings had a chance for a brighter future. Romero decided to go into nursing so she can make a difference in the lives of others.
“Often, the financial burden of school hinders many people from pursuing a degree. Scholarships, like the one created by the Gulbas family, are a much-needed relief to this burden because they allow not only myself but future students to pursue a career in nursing” Romero said. “The pandemic has shed light on how important nurses are, not only to the Borderland community, but to the world. It’s one of the most rewarding careers, as nurses not only heal people medically, but emotionally.”
To date, the Hunt School of Nursing has graduated more than 1,000 students, with a majority of those graduates staying in the region. The school of nursing currently has partnerships with every hospital in the El Paso community, which includes both clinical rotation opportunities and job placement post-graduation.
Currently, 87% of students from the Hunt School of Nursing are El Paso natives, fulfilling TTUHSC El Paso’s mission to create more educational opportunities for Borderland residents.