Caring for the sick is the “calling” that nurses hear when embarking on their careers. Sam Moldo, RN, first heard that call at a young age after his mother was seriously injured in an automobile accident.
“The nurses were really impactful in her care,” he says. “I got to see a good team of people – doctors, nurses, and therapists – help with her recovery. It made me think ‘this is something I could do for a good amount of time.’”
Raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Moldo attended the University of Buffalo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational science and an accelerated bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.
“It was a good place to grow up,” he says of his hometown. “People really bond over the Bills and the Sabres.”
As the only child in what he describes as a “pretty Judaic Jewish family,” Moldo says many of his current values were instilled in him by his parents.
“Even if religion isn’t a huge part of my everyday life, education and family are still really important in Judaism and those things are really important to me as a person,” he says.
Moldo’s parents moved to Cheyenne, Wyo. where his father got a job as a rabbi at a synagogue, but Moldo remained in New York. He worked as a registered nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center with plans to advance his education. He found working as an RN everything he hoped it would be.
“What I really like about nursing is that it’s a relatively hands-on, on-your-feet profession,” he says. “You really are impacting patients’ lives every day, and there’s always something to learn in medicine. That’s a big draw for me at least.”
But when his father was diagnosed with stage 4 gallbladder cancer, Moldo decided to move to Colorado to be near his parents during his father’s final months.
“It’s almost crazy how quickly I left, but when he got the diagnosis, I came over to see how he was doing and he wasn’t looking too good,” he says. “I just knew I needed to be closer to family. It was quite a change, but in the end, I know that I made the right decision.”
Transitioning to the Anschutz Medical Campus
Moving west, Moldo secured employment as a nurse on the medical-surgical progressive care unit at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. He also enrolled at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, where he is working on his master’s of science (MS) with an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) specialty.
“When I came to Colorado, I knew I had to go back to school at some point,” he says. “The program at CU Nursing looked good on paper. When I talked to (CU Nursing Assistant Professor of Clinical Teaching) Angela Pal, (PhD, RN) she was really excited about where the program was headed, and she got me excited to apply.”
The 48-credit-hour AG-ACNP program equips participants with skills to assist patients with acute and often chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension.
Though most NPs work as family nurse practitioners, there is a growing and urgent need for practitioners in adult-gerontology acute care.
“There are a lot of different avenues you can explore by becoming a nurse practitioner,” Moldo says. “The AG-ACNP program is really enticing for me. I like the challenges that comes with taking care of these more acutely ill patients. It’s really neat that you can see a patient as kind of a puzzle, and how a team can come together to solve that puzzle and see how the modalities you are doing really come together in real time as the patient’s health improves.”
Moldo says the program, which uses simulation labs and other innovative approaches, is well-organized with great faculty.
What’s next for Sam?
While Moldo is still earning his academic credentials and working, he’s keeping his options open for the future.
“I’ve still got some rotations of clinical settings I’ll be in,” he says. “I want to get comfortable in a nurse practitioner role and see where it takes me. But I also have my mind on potentially working in internal medicine.”
In his personal life, Moldo says he is helping his mother adjust to being a widow. His father passed away in 2019.
“She’s got a good community up there,” he says. “I visit her quite often, but it works well for me to be here and for her to be there.”