True Success: Valedictorian Dan Pitman Chooses Associate Nursing Degree to Get the Best Out of Life

Dan Pitman – a loving son and father, dedicated to his family and living his life in such a way to spend as much quality time with them as possible. For him, choosing to pursue an Associate Nursing Degree from Carrington College was his path to orchestrating his life to devote as much time equally to the two things he is most passionate about: his family and a career in medicine.


Tell me about yourself.

I grew up in Reno, Nevada in a family of medical professionals – my Dad was an anesthesiologist specializing in chronic pain and my mom was an ICU nurse. My sister graduated two years ago from Carrington College and is a float nurse now.  And in my own family, my wife is a nurse practitioner.


Any children?

A son and a daughter.  My son Owen is five. My daughter Waverly is 2 ½ .


Do you see yourself in them?

My son is sensitive, kind, and he’s bright. He tells me he wants to be a nurse, a doctor, and a policeman. I think of my daughter as this little quiet genius…I’m terrified of her, she’s so much brighter than me!


With all that family in medicine it sounds like a lot of pressure to go into that field!

My family never pressured me to go into the medical field, and my grades in high school didn’t reflect that it would be a possibility. I was lost and aimless coming out of high school. I didn’t have much of an interest in anything, nor did I have any level of self-confidence to find any conviction in my choices. I went to college because I got in and that’s the path I knew. I performed moderately and left college in my junior year without a degree.


So what did you do then?

I bounced around – between jobs, opportunities, and states looking for something I could find success in. There were many failures. I eventually returned to college with the aim of attending law school. My cousin, a lawyer in Las Vegas, encouraged me to pursue real estate instead. I quickly became a top producer in the area. I gained a lot of confidence as a result, but in time I found very little satisfaction in the work, and it took too much time away from my family. The best things in my life are my wife and children.  So, once I experienced success in real estate, I took that same approach toward nursing and went for it.


How did you find your way back?

It took years to decide to leave real estate. It was my pair of golden handcuffs. Eventually I realized how much I missed the surface-level medical discussions in my household growing up. My wife and sister suggested I try for the Associate Degree in Nursing at Carrington College. It finally clicked and I was drawn to nursing’s quick entry options, and high level of practice in the advanced fields. I took the test in April 2022, started in May and graduated last month. There are paths from here to reach my goal to be a Nurse Anesthetist.


You found your own way to success; that’s wonderful. How would you describe the way you did it, specifically I mean, through studying in the ADN program?

It was tough. But there were two specific things: my thirst for knowledge, and at the end of the day, being with a bunch of wonderful people struggling together. Being able to give your effort to help each other was the most rewarding part.


And were there many men in your group?

They are definitely in the minority, but it seems there are a growing number of men. I think it’s because they are realizing with an Associate Nursing Degree you can start working as a nurse and have a very tangible opportunity to pursue further education to work in whatever specific field you want. I’m going for a CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.  In the end, you don’t have to sacrifice as much from your personal life as doctors do and still reach a high level of practice.


I understand you were the valedictorian for your class. Congratulations!

Thank you. Two years before I watched my sister give her valedictorian speech. I’m looking back at that now and realizing, for me, how much choosing this path came down to the spirit of adventure. I don’t mean fun – that’s for children. Adventure is for adults. It isn’t always fun; it’s risky. I think most people crave adventure, though not everyone has the self-confidence or enough wins under their belt to pursue it.


(Excerpt From Daniel Pitman’s Speech):

“Two years ago, the people in this group each sat down at some point and decided that nursing was their path. It may have been because they wanted to care for people at a high level of competency; it may have been an opportunity to improve the quality of their life and their family’s; it may have been a pathway opening up the opportunity for higher levels of practice in the future, or it may have been the rectification of someone’s failure to meet their abilities earlier in life. No matter the reason, we all took this adventure together. 

I say adventure because that’s what we did. Of course, we had fun in some parts, but I wouldn’t refer to the last two years as fun. Fun is for children, and adventure is so much more. We dealt with long nights, mental, emotional, and physical struggles, overwhelming loads of work and tight timelines, wins, losses, and the lessons of our mistakes. We voluntarily chose a hard and demanding path. Maybe we didn’t realize how hard it would be, but we were willing to undertake and shoulder that burden and sacrifice to arrive at something very real. Something meaningful. Something transformative. Something we all felt walking away from campus on our last day and something we feel again today. We have earned this elated feeling of accomplishment.

It’s an honor to have experienced this adventure with each of you.”

You couldn’t have said it better. Is there anyone from the faculty you would like to thank?

“Let’s go forth and take the best of what Carrington gave us. Let’s take the analytical skills required by Prof. Gilley, the comprehensive and detailed knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology gifted to us from Dr. K, the sass and enthusiasm we received from Dr. Smith (with or without the expletives), the overwhelming kindness of Prof. Neely, the actual applications of the nursing process from Prof. Sabol, the expert knowledge of Dr. Oki, the experience and hands-on examples from Prof. Currasco, Dr. Catlin’s ability to command attention and respect, the critical thinking demanded by Dr. Ralleca, Prof. G’s genuine encouragement and belief, and Dean D’s kindness, professionalism, and her ability to strike fear in most students.”


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