For most high schoolers, helping people is a good deed. For Chris Thomas, helping people remains a career goal. “Coming out of high school I knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare, so I read books about anesthesia because it was something that interested me,” said Chris, referring to what jumpstarted his career as a nurse anesthetist. Although Chris was already a minor league baseball player by the time he graduated high school, he still made time to explore his true desire to help those in need. “I got in touch with a current nurse anesthetist and had the opportunity to shadow him and that’s when I became more familiar with the nurse’s role compared to the doctor’s. As a nurse I had the freedom to make a difference in someone’s life with much less time in school.” And time spent in school is precious time these days.
When Chris started work as a registered nurse out of college, he already knew that he wanted to go back to school. “I knew that I wanted to get my masters,” Chris stated, “and I thought that the investment would be worth it when I started to make a steady income.” So Chris spent two and a half years following his dream in anesthesia and came out the other side with more than a diploma: he came out with student debt. “My student loans were going to take several years coming out of school to pay off,” lamented Chris. “Once I realized how substantial the interest rates were, I knew that I had underestimated the cost at the time I took out the loans.” Chris knew something had to be done. He and his wife lived on the basics for over two years as he pursued his dream. Now that the dream was within reach, he was ready to get rid of his clingy student loan debt. “I had student loan refinancing in the back of my mind for a while, but I didn’t know much about it,” Chris said. “It wasn’t until I received an email from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetics, or the AANA, mentioning Darien Rowayton’s refinancing options that I was ready to make the move.”
After he talked to DRB, Chris knew that he made the right choice. “My previous interest rates on my student loans were 2 to 3 percent higher than what DRB offered,” Chris explained, “and with the money that I’ve saved I’ve been able to tackle other debts that were piling up in my life.” Now Chris is living his dream and making a difference as a nurse anesthetist without the worries of debt hanging over his family’s head. To other registered nurses seeking their masters but not the chains of student debt, Chris offered some helpful advice: “I would encourage them to look into refinancing. I would say that’s the best way to make your loans less of a hassle.”