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CU College of Nursing student Andre Pacho, MS, RN, AGCNS-BC, CEN, TCRN

Students

Military Legacy Pays Off

Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 10, 2021

Coming from a military family, it’s no surprise that Andre Pacho, MS, RN, AGCNS-BC, CEN, TCRN, joined up as soon as he graduated from high school. The surprise is that he chose the Army, while his father, uncles, and brother are career Navy men.

Originally from the Philippines, Pacho’s father “saw an opportunity to do something bigger and joined the U.S. Navy,” said Pacho. That decision allowed the family to become American citizens.

Benefits of Military Life

Born in Hawaii and raised in San Diego, Pacho saw the “benefits and stability that the military could provide.” In high school, he joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and during his senior year he started talking to recruiters. Interested in medicine, he envisioned himself in healthcare. His father suggested applying for an ROTC scholarship and he was offered one in nursing, which allowed him to attend the University of San Francisco. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he was commissioned into the Army as an officer in 2005. As one of only three men graduating with a nursing degree in a class of 50, he felt part of a very small club. But once out in the field, he discovered that “there are a greater number of male nurses in the military than in civilian practice.”

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Andre Pacho and husband Alex McGhee

Next Steps – Personally and Professionally

During his 16-year career as an Army nurse, “I have truly developed a passion for nursing and made it a priority to mentor young nurses.” In 2018, Pacho decided he was ready to take the next step in his personal life and career. He moved to Colorado from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist track at CU Nursing. He chose the degree because he felt “it would maximize my abilities as a leader, mentor, and clinician.” Excited to learn with and from his peers in the civilian sector, Pacho embraced the opportunity to expand his knowledge and gain new skills.

After moving, he married his husband, Donald (Alex) McGhee who is also an Army nurse. Fortunately for the couple, there is a program in the Army that focuses on coordinating assignments to ensure that married couples remain together and are not separated. The two – both Majors – have landed positions in the D.C. area. McGhee will be a head nurse at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Pacho has a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital lined up. Hooah!