Switching Paths, Finding Success: Samantha Bigornia ’19
“I had a passion for helping and educating people on how to live healthier lifestyles.”
When Samantha Bigornia graduated from the University of Florida in 2018 with a degree in kinesiology, she was excited to begin her career in the fitness industry.
“I had a passion for helping and educating people on how to live healthier lifestyles,” she says.
But it wasn’t long before Bigornia realized that her work was limited to those who had access—and the physical ability—to work out in the upscale recreation center where she worked. It was then that she began researching a new career path in nursing.
“I decided that a career in nursing would enable me to serve people of all levels of health and different backgrounds, and care for people from more than just an exercise perspective,” she says.
After searching online, she discovered Utica College’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which would not only allow Bigornia to earn her degree in just 16 months, but would make for an easy commute: UC’s St. Petersburg campus was just miles from Bigornia’s home in Tampa, Florida.
“The hybrid nature of the program allowed me to set my own schedule and still pursue fitness as a hobby,” she says.
In the program, students complete clinical rotations in the BayCare Health System, UC’s clinical partner in Florida. Bigornia found she thrived in the fast-paced medical setting. “My clinical experiences really helped supplement my learning beyond the classroom,” she says. “They gave me the chance to practice my hands-on nursing skills.”
The practice paid off. In October 2019, Bigornia was offered a position in Vanderbilt University’s Nurse Residency Program in Nashville, Tennessee. She will start the program on the hospital’s Adult Acute Surgery Track in February 2020—less than two years after making that fateful decision to switch career paths.
“My hope is that I am able to take the knowledge, passion, and skills I have learned in Utica’s ABSN program and further develop these skills through taking care of post-operative patients at Vanderbilt.”
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