Ian Samuelson and family
Student Success | 4/19/2023

Mastering Multitasking: Student Juggles Learning with Nursing and Fatherhood

Ian Samuelson and family.

Ian Samuelson and family
Ian Samuelson and family.

A former athletic trainer, Ian Samuelson is now earning his Master of Science in Nursing at MCPHS.

Ian Samuelson, MSN ’23, BSN ’20, didn't think he was going to be a nurse. In fact, when he attended Salem State University to get his first bachelor's degree, he majored in athletic training, inspired by his interactions with the trainers he knew during a childhood spent playing all kinds of sports.

“I really enjoyed sports and I wanted to get into the medical field, not knowing I’d want to keep extending that further as I learned more about healthcare,” Samuelson said.

As he pursued a career as a trainer, he discovered that he loved interacting with patients. He began to consider the possibility of work that would allow for more engagement with them. A coworker suggested he go back to school.

That's how Samuelson ended up pursuing his second bachelor's degree at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS), through the 16-month Postbaccalaureate Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. It was just the beginning of his MCPHS journey—and a period of rapid personal and professional growth.

Expecting the Unexpected

Samuelson attended classes on the Manchester campus in New Hampshire, where he quickly felt at home.

“The faculty really get that in most cases, they’re teaching adult learners. Everybody that you have as a professor is still currently working as a nurse, so as they’re teaching the content, they’re practicing what they preach,” he said.

COVID-19 hit unexpectedly about a year into the program. Suddenly, Samuelson went from being on campus or in labs or clinical rotations every day to quarantining at home.

“I give the professors all the credit in the world,” Samuelson said. “They were totally caught off-guard too, but they kept things rolling and kept us motivated.”

He sees the advent of the pandemic as a lesson in expecting the unexpected. “A big part of learning how to be a nurse is being able to adapt, because nothing goes as planned—there’s a human element in everything you’re dealing with. Being able to think back to what you learned in school about how to react and remain calm in certain situations is super helpful,” Samuelson said.

Despite the setback, Samuelson completed his degree in December 2020. While working in an orthopedic clinic, he became interested in taking on more responsibility and working directly with patients dealing with complex health issues. So he decided to take his education even further. He’s now enrolled in the MCPHS Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online program,studying to be a family nurse practitioner.

Ian Samuelson
Ian Samuelson

Overlapping Roles

He enjoys the way that attending classes virtually enables him to meet people around the country from “all walks of life,” and finds that he can learn a lot from his classmates. Samuelson is set to graduate from the MSN program this May.

Another major change happened in Samuelson's life about a year ago: he became a father. As a caregiver in both his personal and professional life, he’s found the two roles have a lot of overlap.

“As a parent, your responsibility is to take care of the child you bring into the world, and as a nurse, you’re responsible for your patients. Sometimes it’s hard, but you have to ask yourself—if it was your parent, how would you want them to be taken care of?” he said. “You want to make sure you’re treating your patients as you would your parent or your own child.”

Clearly, Samuelson has a lot on his plate, so how does he manage his time? And does he have any tips for the rest of us?

He relies on his Google Calendar to stay on track. “As soon as I get a syllabus, I populate the calendar with every assignment and due date, work, and childcare. If there’s a big assignment, I’ll put two stars next to it so I know I have to really give it time.”

“My wife’s been super supportive,” he added. “As long as you let the people in your life know that you’re going to be, potentially, a little unavailable, and make sure they’re flexible with you, these kinds of programs are much easier. And you have to take time for yourself, too. Sometimes you’re going to get burned out, and you just have to go for a walk or put on a movie to give yourself a mental break.”

With graduation coming up, Samuelson is hopeful and excited about his career prospects. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what’s next. And the lessons he has learned from professors, classmates, and family members have prepared him for almost anything.