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Will Morrow joined the U.S. Coast Guard after graduating high school in Austin, Texas, thinking that he would become a military doctor. “My goal was always to work in medicine or healthcare in some capacity,” says Will. He started out as a search and rescue aircrewman, providing transport and care for critical patients. As an aviation technician, he performed many helicopter search and rescue missions in the ocean, working with medical professionals and emergency medical technicians.

A Change of Plans

About a decade into his career—during his last tour of duty—Will met a flight nurse who told him to consider going into nursing. “As a physician, you choose your path and follow that specialty area but if you want to change later on, it’s difficult to do,” he says. “I really liked the idea of having more latitude as you do with nursing.”

Will left the military in 2016 and enrolled at Tompkins Cortland Community College in New York. He earned the ADN and became a Registered Nurse in 2019. By then married and living in Syracuse, Will started working as an RN in the peri-anesthesia unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital for both inpatient and outpatient.

Back to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In April 2020, Will’s hospital—like many—cancelled all elective surgeries and he was laid off. He retrenched and started researching BSN programs. “I’d been thinking about getting the BSN eventually anyway, and it seemed like the right time,” he says.

He found American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences and felt the BSN Powered by SIMPath® checked all the boxes. “It looked like a great program and a good way for me to better myself while healthcare was suddenly so impacted by the pandemic.” Will also joined a digestive disease clinic part time to build his experience.

Graduated May 2021

In May 2021, Will graduated with the BSN from American Sentinel. In February, he worked at a mass vaccination site in the Syracuse area, vaccinating more than 10,000 area residents.

“It’s been a very busy year!” Will says. “I was working 12-hour shifts five or six days a week doing vaccinations and finishing up school. The best part of the SIMPath® program was that I could earn a great education at my pace.” The knowledge gained helped give Will new perspective to become a leader one day too. “I feel more aware of what I need to pay attention to if I want to step into a leadership role.”

Joining the Veteran Administration

Will has accepted a position working at Syracuse’s Veteran Administration Hospital. He will work in inpatient gastroenterology. “It’s perfect given my experience in the post-anesthesia care unit and the digestive disease clinic,” he says. As a veteran himself, he’s excited to serve his country in a new way. “I’m excited to work with veterans.”

An MSN One Day

Down the road, Will would like to pursue the MSN, though he wants to get experience before deciding on a specialization. “I would definitely return to American Sentinel to further my career as an advanced practice nurse,” he says. “Because I didn’t start my nursing care until my 30s, I’ve got some catching up to do and COVID-19 definitely disrupted things. But I’m really looking forward to my future as a nurse.”