Sam Pentowski Making History at SPC

July 23, 2018

Public Information Officer


A St. Philip's College student is multitasking so much up to the moment he receives his pin for nursing in a ceremony at the college this week, don't be surprised if he picks you up if you call for an ambulance.

If he does, you are in good hands, as multitasking student and Navy veteran Sam Pentowski is also an EMT saving lives in San Antonio. St. Philip's College is a stop on his journey to becoming a nurse who works on a commercial ship that could be anywhere on the high seas of the Earth. His current vehicle is the college's LVN to RN/Military to RN Mobility Program class that graduates July 25 at 10 a.m. in the Heritage Room on the first floor of the college's Campus Center building at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive in the city's Denver Heights neighborhood. 

Realistically envisioning the day he becomes a medical officer on a ship, Pentowski studies in the emergency room environment of the St. Philip's College Dr. Frank Bryant, Jr., Patient Simulation Center and Nursing Laboratories Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m.-noon. At some point in the week, working in the Tier 1 Trauma environment at University Hospital is a treasured activity. And from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on other days of the week, Pentowski serves the Westside of San Antonio as a crew member on 13-hour shifts with Superior Care Ambulance. 

More than half the college's 120-year business lifetime---nearly 70 years of service---includes a Registered Nursing program that has undergone an entire revision of its curriculum. About one-third of the entire student clinical experience is in the sim center, with two-thirds in real-word/real-time at medical facilities in the local area. The core of the sim training is the eight-bed sim-hospital where the interview with Pentowski took place, surrounded by students who are experienced veterans of the medical world.

"Sometimes, my ambulance overheats as we travel during rush hour," Pentowski shared. "I am constantly in the emergency environment as I complete my final required license to become a medical officer, and I am excited," said Pentowski. 

"I arrived in San Antonio in 2014 after leaving the military in 2013. I decided to come back to school and I also become an EMT. My target is working in emergency departments. I'm a Merchant Marine. Once I get my RN license, I am going to sea---to Guam and then to London---with a ship that is laying optical cable. I'll work with a middle-aged male population on the ship, and I'm probably going to be one of the younger ones on the crew," Pentowski said while demonstrating the precise placement of a needle into the arm of a lifelike robotic arm.

"Studying for nursing at the college level was rocky at first, because the military medical practice is not quite the way civilian and private practice is done, but it's been a successful adjustment, and it's how you deal with the slightest failure once it arrives that counts," said Pentowski. "I have encouraged people I know to check St. Philip's College out for the affordable environment that's here for nursing," Pentowski said.

Valerie Moke and Amanda Sheffield are nursing faculty members at St. Philip's College, and Pentowski is one of their 19 graduating students.

"Every one of our students is going to make it," said Sheffield. "We are in a national nursing shortage and they can look forward to having jobs from the emergency room to flight nursing and airlife. A few have applied and some have been accepted into bachelor's degree nursing programs. They have been building resumes. We know what the industry is looking for. It's our students," Sheffield said with quiet confidence.

See Pentowski and fellow nursing students before they graduate at the  GreatDay SA  story by show co-host, reporter and associate producer Roma Villavicencio Start Your Nursing Career Now - St. Philip's College here. Find details on the college's nursing programs online at LVN to RN/Military to RN Mobility Program. For ceremony details, contact college LVN to ADN program director/chair Melissa Arthur at 210-486-2430,