Kingdom Couple: APU Graduates Make a Difference as Nurses

by Abigail Reed

Behind several locked doors at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, in a softly lit room, Michelle Rosas ’15 glides to and from incubators housing newborn babies, soothing them in a hushed voice, gently repositioning them, and feeding the hungry. They are small—under 3 pounds or younger than 32 weeks old—and alarms signal Michelle to attend to the needs of the most vulnerable and fragile. Amidst the bustle, every sacred moment in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) holds value.

Across the hospital, in a fluorescent-lit room of the cardiothoracic unit, Tony Rosas ’15 takes the blood pressure of a worried, gray haired man with chest pain. Tony calmly explains the vital sign results and the upcoming process, as the elderly patient’s creased brow softens and his posture relaxes. He is in good hands.

Michelle and Tony Rosas share not only a life together as husband and wife but the same vocational calling. Whether ministering to patients just entering the world or nearing the end of life, they work with compassion and purpose, rigorously trained through Azusa Pacific’s Entry-Level Master’s in Nursing (ELM) program and wholeheartedly following the Lord’s guidance over their lives.

“Each and every day at work, we hope to make an impact on our patients' lives,” said Michelle. “Whether advocating for the helpless, practicing empathy, or instilling hope, we strive to bring the heart of Christ to the hospital.”

Michelle and Tony connected just a few weeks into the ELM program, chatting and laughing over burritos at a local Mexican restaurant, quickly realizing their similar outlooks on life. Before long, they began dating, not knowing the adventures God had in store for them.

Michelle, a Southern California native, received her bachelor’s degree in child and family psychology from Azusa Pacific—but nursing kept tugging at her heart. Tony studied exercise biology during his undergraduate career, but, much like Michelle, he experienced a growing interest in nursing: a career that combined relational skills with his scientific bent.

Built specifically for individuals with a degree other than nursing, Azusa Pacific’s ELM program made pursuing their callings possible. From clinicals in a hospital setting to afternoons discussing nursing theories in the classroom, Tony and Michelle gained experience and expertise. To culminate the program, they completed a 21-session internship at Huntington Hospital—their future workplace—giving them in-depth, professional training.

“In just 15 months, the ELM equipped us well and propelled us to begin our work as nurses,” said Tony. “We graduated with hands-on experience, job connections, and lifelong friends.”

Throughout their journey, Azusa Pacific prepared them to advance the work of God and reflect Christ through nursing. After graduation, Michelle and Tony excitedly began their careers at the now-familiar Huntington hospital, getting married just a few years later.

“Whether crying at a patient’s beside or laughing as we give a baby her first bath, my work in the NICU always points back to Christ,” said Michelle. “He met me where I was —why would I not extend that opportunity to someone else through my profession?”

Many long shifts, heart rate tests, and incubator visits later, light filters in on Michelle and Tony’s dining room table as they bow their heads and cry out to God—praying for the family of a lost patient, pleading for the life of a tiny baby, or praying for those who have yet to come through their hospital doors. Tracing back to their Christ-centered education at APU, this is a common practice in the Rosas’ household.

“We always debrief with each other in a way only fellow nurses can—discussing our disappointments, joys, and fears,” said Tony. “We are each other’s support systems, continually pointing each other to Christ and laying our burdens at His feet.”

As they look to the future, Tony dreams of one day teaching future nurses, following the footsteps of his own ELM professors and inspiring the next generation of health professionals. The Rosas are thankful for Azusa Pacific’s role in launching them on their trajectory and they look forward to impacting the lives of many more throughout their careers.

Abigail Reed is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a liberal studies major with an honors humanities minor.