Dr. Lila Karen Gunter was born on November 26, 1957, to the union of James and Eunice Gunter in Port St. Joe, Florida. She graduated from the Port St. Joe School System before beginning her nursing career at the University of Florida in Gainesville where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1979. In 1986, Lila received her Master of Science degree in Adult Health Nursing while working as a staff nurse at Sunland Training Center and Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville.
Immediately after receiving her MSN, Lila moved to Marietta, Georgia where she resided and worked at Grady Health System for 30 years. Throughout her three decades of dedicated service, Lila assumed many roles at Grady. She served as the Pain Nurse Specialist; Advanced Clinical Nurse Educator; Advanced Cardiac Life Support Faculty and Coordinator for the American Heart Association Training Center; Clinical Chairperson for new product implementation; Continuous Quality Improvement Representative for the Patient Care Department; Relief Clinical Supervisor; and an Advanced Clinical Nurse Educator for the 6B surgery unit. In addition, Lila mentored new nurses, and not only helped to write two HRSA Grants, but took on the implementation of the grants as an educator. In her spare time, Lila loved to work in the children’s ministry and women’s ministry at her church, jog, attend football games and dance whenever there was a party!
Lila served as an ambassador to Tbilis, Georgia nurses. In this role, she traveled numerous times to Russia working with the government of the Republic of Georgia to improve nursing care in the country.
Lila’s dedication and compassion for life-long learning and teaching led her to pursue her PhD in nursing from Georgia State University, which she completed in 2017. Dr. Gunter’s dissertation examined The Effects of Education Plus One-on-One Coaching on Nurses’ Pain Management Practices.
At the Commemoration of Lila Gunter, Chaplin Arnold Ogunmoyero offered a prayer while Ms. Sherlene Pue performed a musical selection. Tributes came from Dr. Rhinda Scott, of the Grady Health System; Dr. Jacqueline Herd, Division of Nursing; Dr. Rosiland Harris, Department of Nursing Education, Practice & Research; Ms. Indira Copeland, a colleague; and Mr. Randy McClain, Unit Director; Mr. Rodney Aldridge, Staff Nurse. Dr Nancy Kropf, of the Georgia State University Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing, presented Dr. Gunter’s doctoral degree. Dr. Nancy Kropf read A Nurse’s Prayer before the dedication of Dr. Gunter’s cap and gown which was followed by reflections of the Grady family. Mrs. Eunice Gunter, mother of Dr. Gunter, then offered acknowledgements.