Andrew Tabussi didn’t become a nurse until the age of 30, but he now feels he ended up exactly where he was meant to be. “After a couple of years of college and never really knowing what I wanted to do, I became a roofer,” says Andrew, a native of New Jersey. When he and his wife had their first child, however, he started thinking about job stability and health insurance for the family. “A friend was graduating from nursing school and it just seemed like a cool field. I started looking into associate degree programs in my area.”
Andrew enrolled in Ocean County College’s nursing program and graduated with an Associate Degree of Nursing in 2006. He got a job in the coronary care unit of Community Medical Center in Toms River, New Jersey, and later moved into the medical intensive care unit. He also worked as a per diem nurse for two different endoscopy centers.
A unique opportunity
In 2011, Andrew wanted to try something new and applied for a job with the occupational medical team of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Air Marshal Service. He was fortunate enough to get the job. “We ensure all federal law enforcement officers meet the medical and physical requirements for their jobs and we also provide on-call medical triage responsibility around the world,” he says. “It’s such a unique position, which is what I enjoy about it. I also feel lucky to work with such a great team.”
When Andrew’s boss decided to pursue a BSN, he became convinced that he should do the same. “My boss and my coworker who I work closely with both wanted to get the BSN, so we talked a lot about how important it is to hold a bachelor’s degree in our profession,” he says. “It’s where nursing is headed. I knew it was important to keep doors open.” Andrew did his homework and chose American Sentinel—as did his coworkers. He enrolled in 2012 and graduated in 2013. The experience was so positive that Andrew decided to keep onward for the MSN as well.
On for an MSN, Nursing Education
As an ICU nurse, Andrew says one of his favorite aspects of the job was mentoring newer nurses. “I always liked that teaching aspect, and during my BSN program I thought a lot about how much I might like to teach one day, either online or at the nursing school I attended,” he says. He pursued the MSN nursing education specialization and graduated in August 2016. “I highly recommend American Sentinel. The school offers great flexibility, current curriculum and an easy-to-use, organized structure. It’s been a very good experience.”
An eye on the future
Though he’s happy at the TSA—and at Community Medical Center, where he has worked weekends since 2011—Andrew hopes to eventually teach part time. For now, he’s excited and proud about his achievement. “I’ve got two boys, and I’m proud that I’m showing them through my actions that you should never stop learning,” Andrew says. “It’s one of the greatest things about nursing: you can do anything you want to do, and you’re always learning and growing.”
Inspired by Andrew’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.