Former Firefighter Pursues Nursing Career


Austin Caldwell is a former fire fighter from California that decided to pursue nursing. Unfortunately, he faced a multiple-year waitlist for nursing school. Not wanting to delay his education, he moved to Tampa and enrolled in Arizona College of Nursing. We are so glad he did!

Watch below as Bay News 9 visits the campus.

BY TAMPA. Originally aired 12/15/2022 on Spectrum News Bay News 9, your source for local and breaking news in the greater Tampa Bay area.

TAMPA, Fla– Nursing students at Arizona College of Nursing are ready to help fill a nursing shortage gap.

What You Need To Know

  1. Nurses are seeing a shortage of staff
  2. A local is going into the field
  3. More shortages are projected

Research released by the Florida Hospital Association projects an already-struggling nursing field could face even greater crisis if changes are made. FHA says nurses are needed now and will be well into the future. The survey projects a shortage of almost 60,000 nurses by 2035.

Male Nursing Student in Tampa College
Austin Caldwell, Arizona College of Nursing – Tampa student

Twenty-seven-year-old Austin Caldwell, a former firefighter from California, is considering treating students in the emergency room and aspires to be a nurse practitioner.

He wants to be a nurse to make sure people get the care they need.

“I’ve been through some troubling times with my family members and I saw what they did for my family members.”

Caldwell, inspired by those nurses who took care of his relatives, recognizes he’s entering a field facing a shortage, where nurses say they are experiencing burnout. “Not only did we see a huge shortage of nurses, but there was also a pandemic going on when we all started nursing core together,” said Caldwell.

Students at Arizona College of Nursing in Tampa are learning how to help prevent that burnout and Caldwell wants to help inspire that change. “It sounds cliche’ if you can’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else, but it’s really true in the medical field,” said Caldwell.

It’s part of what Professor Jose’ Gomez teaches his students.

“Make sure they’re exercising, we tell them mediation helps a lot, spending time with their families, doing their hobbies that they most enjoy,” said Gomez.

An ICU nurse for seven years, Professor Gomez experienced some of that burnout himself. Now, he’s combined his passion for nursing and teaching in a new role as a Professor.

“One of the best things I love about teaching is when a student comes to me and they say, hey professor Gomez, I went to the hospital and I was actually able to take care of this patient just because of what you taught us in class so that really makes me happy,” said Professor Gomez.

Also inspiring, is sharing his passion, with hopes others consider a career in nursing.