Q&A: Thomas Geraghty, A Second Degree BSN Student

Thomas Geraghty is a father, military veteran and a current student in Duquesne University’s Second Degree BSN program.

headshot of smiling man

Thomas, an Austinburg, Ohio native, earned his first bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Westminster College. After discovering a passion for medicine while serving in the Navy, he knew he wanted a career in health care performing direct patient care. To achieve this goal, he enrolled in the 12-month track of Duquesne’s Second Degree BSN program. This accelerated program enables students to leverage their educational backgrounds and shorten the time it takes to become a registered nurse. 

In the following Q&A, Thomas shares his military and student experiences.

Could you provide a brief overview of your military service?

I served in the Navy and was active from 2011-2019 with Special Boat Team 22. I am currently in the Active Naval Reserves and attached to Seal-Team 18 in Little Creek, VA.

There are multiple jobs and components of the Navy, just like any other branch or specific job field. I am a member of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) and a member of the Special Boat Teams, also known as SWCC (Special Warfare Combat Craft Crewman). I am currently an E-7 Chief Petty Officer with concerns to the Navy.

One of my primary jobs outside of being a special operator was as an NSW Special Operations Comat Medic. We specialized directly in emergency care — specifically trauma and basic sick call (bacterial and fungal infections) — and participated a lot in disease prevention concerning infectious disease (malaria, dengue fever, etc.).

Did your military experience help prepare you for nursing?

Yes. Because of my military service, I have experience caring for patients and in different areas of medicine such as triage, trauma, intubation placement/management, fluid resuscitation efforts, basic sick call and infectious disease. We had minimal equipment and learned to concentrate on the patient and really listen to them while doing an assessment or interview.

Why did you choose Duquesne University?

The smaller school environment and Catholic-based principles were big factors for me. I looked at other schools within the region, but Duquesne has the oldest nursing program in the state. It seemed fitting for me to continue with this tradition.

Can you describe your experience as a Second Degree BSN student?

My experience has been good. Regardless of which pathway you choose, whether it is the 12- or 16-month track, it is going to be vigorous as the program is very time consuming. Any issues that have come up regarding an emergency or something else in my life have been met with great facilitation in order for me to accomplish what needs to be done.

What is it like to be a nursing student with a young family?

I have three children. I have three-year-old twins, and my wife and I just had another baby boy in November 2020. It definitely presents its own set of challenges, but it is doable. As most individuals who have children know, you learn to take advantage of the limited free time and utilize these little moments for studying.

Any advice for prospective and incoming Second Degree students?

Stick with it. If this is your goal, then pursue your goal. The time spent on schooling is going to be shorter than you expect and worthwhile in the end.

What are your plans after you finish the program?

I want to try to get a position in either an ICU or emergency department. I am interested in becoming a flight nurse, but my true goal is to earn an advanced practice degree, such as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

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