Planning for employment in the current economy can be difficult. It requires a good vision toward the future and an organized plan. Normandale Community College has many opportunities to provide both for an incoming student, and there is no better example than Andrew Sampson.
In 2011, Sampson became a full-time nurse at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital at the age of 20. He was the youngest nurse on staff, had many options in front of him and very little debt thanks in large part to a well-organized career track that he put together at Normandale.
Sampson gives a lot of credit for the planning of his path to his parents. He says that they had planned to try to push him toward a Postsecondary Education path since junior high to set him up for an easier path once he started college.
"Since junior high, my parents had the idea of pushing me to do Postsecondary Education at Normandale Community College," said Sampson. "When I was a junior in high school, I started taking some Postsecondary general classes at Normandale. My senior year, I focused on some pre-requisites for the Nursing Program.
"During my final two years in high school, I collected all the credits I needed to graduate and set myself up to start the Nursing Program when I arrived at Normandale. In my last semester of high school, I applied for Nursing School at Normandale and found out I was accepted. From that point, I finished my classes in two years and graduated in the Spring of 2011."
Sampson made up his mind early in high school that he was going to pursue Nursing at Normandale. The majority of nurses in the nation are female so the demand and opportunity as a male nurse is high. It was a decision that was suggested by his parents, but also embraced by Sampson.
"Neither of my parents are nurses, but they helped me make my decision because they figured there would be a lot of opportunities and options for me in the field," said Sampson. "Whether you want a desk job, a floor job or to be in management it is a well-paying and very flexible field. I am glad my parents helped guide me in this direction."
Sampson found out during his time at Normandale that only about six percent of the nurses in the nation are males. This underscored the fact that this decision would give him a lot of opportunities going forward. Sampson, who attended Burnsville High School, decided that getting a quality and affordable education at Normandale would set him up better financially for the future, and give him as good of an education as similar tracks at different schools.
"I liked Normandale, because it was a good affordable program and was very close to home," said Sampson. "The price for what you get at Normandale is hard to beat. I took loans out for two years of Nursing and ended up owing around $8,000 instead of the $40,000 it could have been at a four-year state school.
"When you get out of the program, you are able to have the same license and practice in the field regardless of if you have an Associates or Bachelor’s Degree. There are also a lot of hospitals and health care systems that reimburse tuition if I want to go back to get my Bachelor’s Degree."
For Sampson, his decision to go to Normandale was an easy and practical one financially. He feels like attending Normandale and getting started in the Postsecondary Education on track has put him ahead of some of his peers and given him a variety of options.
"In a bad economy, you have to save your money and be smart with it," said Sampson. "I feel like my decision to go to Normandale was a smart and forward-thinking financial decision. When I talk to other nurses on my floor and tell them the track I took they almost all agree it was a very smart move. They say if they could have done it that way in hindsight, they would have. When I started, I was the youngest nurse on the floor, and had little to no debt."
On top of the fact that the decision was a very practical one, Sampson also points out that he thought the Normandale Nursing Program really prepared him for the professional world. He also remarked that there was a great deal of hands-on training, and instructors were consistently available.
"Al l of my instructors were amazing, I have nothing but great things to say about them," said Sampson. "They were always there and I was always able to reach them when I had questions. The hands-on training at clinical sights was really good, and they taught us a lot of different things that are very applicable in the field.
"You hit the ground running right away when you start the program. I had to work very hard in the program to succeed. Overall, it was a great program because they give you training that you will need in the real world."
Sampson wants to continue to establish himself in the field before going back to school. At some point, he would like to go back to school to finish his Bachelor’s Degree. Eventually, Sampson wants to become a flight nurse, which would most likely include working on a helicopter or responding to trauma. Whatever he decides for his career, he has a lot of time to map it out because of the decisions he made about his education.
He is excited about his professional future and the choices he has in front of them. Sampson also acknowledges that Normandale played a big role in his path and enjoys telling people about his career track.
"The path I took worked perfectly for me," said Sampson. "If more people took advantage of the setup and used the resources available to them, they would not be in debt for so long. I encourage it to anyone I talk to when I can. Overall, I feel like I made a very good decision to go to Normandale."