Dr. Stuart Pope was the pastor of a small church in Georgia when he sought a career change. Dr. Pope received his initial nursing education at Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia. He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1988 and then a master's degree in 2000 and a doctoral degree in 2009, both from Samford University. Dr. Pope joined the Auburn University faculty in 2009 and teaches psychiatric-mental health nursing and animal-assisted therapy. He previously worked for the State of Alabama in the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; Searcy Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Alabama; and Greil Psychiatric Mental Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Pope has additional nursing experience in critical care and emergency nursing.