Peter Losi CE '07 - ACCEL

Peter Losi '07 is a third-generation nurse, and a nurse anesthetist at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, but it took him several years before he finally decided to pursue that career.

"In high school I knew I wanted to go into healthcare and at the time I thought I wanted to be a physician's assistant. I started my career in PA school, I got into my fourth year and was in the operating room shadowing and realized I loved anesthesia. I ended up connecting with a nurse anesthetist at the hospital I was at and she mentored me. I decided that that's what I wanted to do."

Nurse anesthetists undergo some of the most rigorous training in the field because of the important nature of their work, and the independence they have - something that attracted Losi to the field.

"You don't realize what a nurse does until you become a nurse. I had lived with nurses all my life and when I started my job in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as a new grad it was like being hit with a freight train. All of a sudden I was responsible for somebody's life for 12 hours and if I moved a decimal the wrong way somebody died, or if I turned a stop clock the wrong way somebody died. So, I don't think the public necessarily realizes some of the responsibilities that nurses have."

Losi also believes that the work he and other nurses do will eliminate the stigma that nursing school is not as difficult as medical school.

"Doctor's definitely work hard, medical school is very hard, but nursing school is very hard too," Losi says. "Especially nowadays there's lots of science; there's pathophysiology, I took organic chemistry, physics, and pharmacology."

Losi believes there is another important distinction between the two. Medical school is focused on teaching doctors to diagnose and treat a problem, while nursing school offers a more patient-centered approach.

"It's more holistic, and looking at a person, at all their problems. I try to incorporate that even in my work today as a nurse anesthetist; something as simple as holding somebody's hand before they go to sleep, or just being nice. Whatever niche you think you want to be in there's a role for it. I think that's what the commonality of nursing is, that yes you're a nurse but you can wear all these different hats."

Losi's comments echo those of Professors Don Anderson and Susan LaRocco; that nursing is an incredibly diverse field with more opportunities than most people realize.

He also believes it's never too late to go back to school to become a nurse.

"All of your previous life experiences add to your nursing education and that was one the great things about Curry."

Losi remembers that classmates included those from diverse professions, including some EMTs and even an environmental scientist, ultimately enhancing classroom learning.

"Being with an adult group, our class was pretty tight and it wasn't competitive.  We all wanted to get through it together ...we would study together, work on papers together - it was a team approach."


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