Carol Tuttas, Ph.D., MS ’02, R.N.
There was a time when Dr. Carol Tuttas’ entire world revolved around horses. While fully engaged in her career as a Standardbred race horse trainer, a serious accident on the racetrack left the then 23-year-old pinned underneath horses and sulkies. Having sustained multiple bone fractures, Dr. Tuttas was hospitalized for two months. While recuperating as an inpatient, Dr. Tuttas became keenly aware of the quality care she was receiving from the nursing staff. When she was discharged from the hospital, Dr. Tuttas resumed her career as a horse trainer, but she found herself shifting her professional goals and priorities, all the while gravitating toward the field of nursing.
“I never grew up with aims to become a nurse,” said Dr. Tuttas. “There were no nurses in my family. Yet, because of my own experience as a patient, I got to see the important role nurses play in the healing process. I wanted be a part of this process, and so I trained and then worked as a nursing assistant for six years in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Later, in 1990, I earned an associate’s degree in Nursing from Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology in Hamilton, and for the next two years, I was a staff R.N. at Hamilton General Hospital.”
Relocating with her husband to South Florida in 1992, Dr. Tuttas joined the staff of Boca Raton Community Hospital. Over the course of the next 10 years she served the hospital as a charge nurse, clinical coordinator and nurse manager. Dr. Tuttas also used this time to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Lynn University, and a Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership from FAU’s College of Nursing. While she was a graduate student, Dr. Tuttas had her first article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Tuttas directed Critical Care Services at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach. In 2006, Dr. Tuttas was hired by Dr. Franklin Shaffer at Cross Country Staffing in Boca Raton, where she was the Director for Standards and Certification. It was an administrative position that allowed her to draw from her wealth of clinical experiences in both acute care and long-term skilled nursing. Her passion for her profession led her to the University of Miami, where in 2013, she earned a Ph.D. in Nursing.
Since 2013 Dr. Tuttas has worked at CGFNS International, Inc. (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools), where she is the Chief Programs Officer. For nearly 40 years, CGFNS, a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, has remained a leading resource for evaluating the credentials and licenses of foreign-educated nurses and allied health professionals seeking to become eligible to practice in the United States and Canada.
Reflecting on her nursing career thus far, Dr. Tuttas is grateful for the many opportunities and experiences she has gained at local, national and international levels. “As a nurse I have come to better understand health as a status of the human condition,” she said. “More than a job or vocation, nursing is a calling.”