By Alexandra Bassil

Sarah Tricarico

By Alexandra Bassil
With a career trajectory that included Pan Am flight attendant, non-traditional track nursing student accomplishes her dream career goal in only one year

Sarah TricaricoWhen Sarah Tricarico receives her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of Miami, she will have reached a milestone on the path to her true calling: to be a nurse. 

Tricarico is among a group of UM School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) students who accomplished their goal in just 12 months, thanks to the accelerated B.S.N. (ABSN) program. The fast-track program, with start dates in the fall and spring, is perfect for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and are committed to earning their baccalaureates in nursing.

Tricarico grew up in Connecticut. Her dad was a physician and her mom a social worker. “Early on I learned about the demands and rewards of a career in health care,” she said. Like many members of the boomer generation, her career path spanned from Pan Am flight attendant to Wall Street management consultant to social work.

“I was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Yale Medical Center doing crisis counseling with patients and families, which was important, and I loved what I did, but something was missing,” Tricarico said. She realized that missing element was the ability to provide hands-on patient care, so she began researching nursing schools. With fond memories of Miami from her Pan Am flying days, she looked into the SONHS’ accelerated program, as she was eager to begin her work as a nurse sooner rather than later. Her positive experience with the school’s staff during the application process and the program’s impressive NCLEX-RN (state licensure exam) first-time pass rates affirmed the quality of the program. She applied, was accepted and joined the non-traditional nursing track, as the ABSN program is known. Tricarico is a non-traditional student as she was over 50 when she began her nursing studies.

Surrounded with other, often much younger students, Tricarico is representative of the diverse demographics of the student body at the SONHS, where the only requirement to succeed in the program is to work hard at it. “I had excellent professors and each one came from diverse nursing experiences. And all the professors were always focused on teaching patient care. I’m all about providing a high level of compassionate care to patients and their families,” said Tricarico.

After graduation and passing the licensure exam, she plans to stay in the Miami area and would like to work at one of the major teaching hospitals. “I will seek a full-time position in a pediatric intensive care unit or a Neo-Natal ICU. I look forward to working on a hospital floor, and have already spent time shadowing one of my professors at a PICU for what was supposed to be an eight-hour shift and I decided to stay for 12 hours, because I was so engaged in the work,” said Tricarico.

Given the existing nursing shortage in the U.S., Tricarico will fill a critical societal need while achieving her second-career dream.