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Tom Ruffing

As a former chef with goals of becoming a nurse practitioner, Tom has always wanted to heal and improve the lives of others.

Tom Ruffing, in white and blue nursing uniform, smiling at a camera

One of the best tips for those who are deciding whether to change careers is to talk to people who are already doing the job you want. 

Tom Ruffing, an accelerated bachelor's student from Fairport, NY, tried this, and it led him to the School of Nursing. 

“I talked to several health care professionals in the area who were at points in their career that I aspire to,” he recalls. “I found a common thread in many: they had done the accelerated program at UR.”

The idea of completing a rigorous, accelerated program sounded exciting to Tom, who likes to embrace new challenges in life. 

Long before he considered nursing, Tom earned his first degree in culinary arts management at the Culinary Institute of America. After a 10-year career in food and hospitality that took him all over the world, he was accepted into the School of Nursing’s Fall 2022 bachelor’s cohort. 

“I love that one of the cornerstones of nursing is continuing education,” Tom says. “Human beings have a natural desire to improve and better themselves, and so while also being able to heal and improve the lives of others, there are countless opportunities for lifelong personal growth and improvement.” 


What have you enjoyed the most about your time at UR Nursing so far? 

The people at UR, whether administrators, faculty, or advisors, have been singular in their commitment to the personal, academic, and professional success of the students. This school also attracts a wide array of people from all over the country and the world, who share different backgrounds, but a common goal of becoming a nurse.


How has UR Nursing’s partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center been helpful to your student experience? 

Learning in the classroom is an essential to any academic pursuit, but with nursing, you need as much hands-on learning as you can get. Being attached and strongly affiliated to the URMC has provided invaluable opportunities to apply directly what has been learned in the classroom. This gives us students a chance to sharpen our critical thinking skills, clinical intuition, and start building the confidence needed to successfully practice after graduation.


What are your favorite things about Rochester? What places would you recommend to a fellow student who’s new in town?

Rochester is a great town. We have the Geva Theatre Centre, the Memorial Art Gallery, and tons of music venues that provide creative and artistic stimulation. There are really expansive trails like the Crescent Trail network, the Erie Canal footpath, and tons of hiking for those who love the outdoors. The Rochester Red Wings and Amerks are cool local sports franchises. The dining scene is really eclectic and fun too, so you can always indulge yourself in my favorite pastime: eating.


How do you spend your time when you’re not at school? 

I'm a proud husband and father of a beautiful two-year-old boy, with another little boy who will be born two months before graduation! While my family is the best thing that ever happened to me, a lot of my free time outside of school is occupied by cooking, cleaning, and shopping. The balance of my free time I really aggressively dedicate to self-care, be it meditation, exercise, or maintaining meaningful social interactions with my friends in the area. I'm a long distance runner, having just completed a 50 mile race around Canandaigua lake in October, I love to cook (and eat), and love to read and learn.

Connect With Us

Interested in becoming a nurse? Connect with us to learn more about the UR Nursing Scholars program or Accelerated Nursing Programs from the University of Rochester.

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