Lynn and John Horobin have not one – but three children enrolled in the nursing program at Southern Connecticut State University. They are all about to graduate in 2023.
The couple’s triplets are juniors at SCSU.
“We work well together,” Andrew Horobin, the oldest of the three, said. “We could have and would have gone our separate ways,” but wound up going into nursing for many of the same reasons.
Their father, John Horobin, is a Wallingford firefighter and longtime paramedic, while their mother, Lynn Horobin, is a dental hygienist. Both are proud of their three children, but they’re not surprised by their career choices.
“We are a health care family,” Lynn Horobin said. “The boys are caregiver kind of kids. They’re good all-around kids.”
They’re “modeling their father,” she said. Two of the triplets, Andrew and Luke, plan to become career firefighters and paramedics like their father after graduating from nursing school. The two are already volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMTs. They say nursing can be a part-time job if they were to get injured or burnt out as a firefighter or EMT.
John Horobin was all for that reasoning.
“It’s a great job to have. It’s a whole another family to be part of,” John Horobin said of the fire service. “I always taught them if you want a good, blue-collar job, that’s it right there.”
He said being a nurse will give Andrew and Luke the training they need to become a firefighter, since 75 percent of calls are medical. Zach is considering a nursing career that involves pediatrics or maternity, as he likes children.
“The triplets” — as they are often referred to in the community and at school — live at home in Wallingford, have most of their classes together, study with each other and hang out generally with the same broad group of friends.
Although they use the word “we” a lot, and their mother emphasizes that they have distinct personalities, different routines, and are very much individuals.
Horobin stated she and her husband stressed individuality in raising their sons by never lumping them together to be called “the triplets,” though sometimes referring to them as “the boys.”
“We all think in a different way,” Zach said.
All three are hard-working and determined, their parents said. The brothers defend and protect one another.
“We do a lot of things together. We’re very close,” Andrew Horobin said.
He said “we” became interested in the health care/helping fields just by “living it” at home. Their grandfather was a firefighter in West Haven, so the brothers grew up listening to nonstop talk about “the calls.”
In the spirit of John Horobin’s guidance, Andrew Horobin said there are many practical factors that rang positive about going into nursing: nurses are always needed, the field pays well, nurses can choose to work in different settings, and they can keep various hours.
“We wanted a degree that was meaningful, something very useful to help us in the future,” Andrew said.
All three were accepted directly from high school into the SCSU nursing program and it requires candidates to have a certain level of academic grades. The brothers all complete the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Lyman Hall High School.
At SCSU, the three juniors all are on the dean’s list.
Maria D. Krol, associate professor and director for SCSU’s Bachelor of Science Nursing Program, said about 88 percent of nursing students are women. In 1970, only 2.9 percent of nurses were men, she said.
Gender diversity in the nursing field is as important as racial diversity, for the same reasons, Krol said.
“The presence of more males as nurses ensures the males (patients) feel represented. They may be more likely to share more private information or less likely to be opposed to certain procedures like a catheter insertion if it’s done by a male nurse,” she said. “Having a diverse workforce is beneficial to the population in general. It is a different perspective and we all benefit from diversity.”
Krol believes that the Horobin men are the first triplets to attend SCSU’s nursing school, but there have been several sets of female twins. There are 203 juniors and seniors in the nursing program and 29 of them are male students. The Horobin triplets are among 16 men in the class of 2023.
While the twins say they get along great, it doesn’t mean they “don’t mess” with each other, as young men do. While there is some competitive spirit, it’s always overridden by each wanting to see the others’ success.
Zach Horobin said it was while doing his CNA clinical work at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare and Masonicare that he decided nursing would be a “rewarding” career.
As for being a triplet, Zach said, “It’s great, it’s the little things.”
He said “you’re never alone,” even during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when many people may have felt isolated. Zach said the nursing material is difficult so it’s great to study together (they also study with other friends) and have the benefit of a brother who can explain a difficult concept in a way that makes sense.
“Everything is pretty good about it,” Zach said of being a triplet.
He said people might wonder whether it’s more difficult to share with two siblings the same age, “but you can’t have everything yourself anyway.”
Luke said he was torn between going for firefighter, paramedic, and nursing, so he decided to get his nursing degree first because he didn’t think he’d get back to school once in the swing of a firefighter/paramedic career. Next, he will pursue a firefighting/paramedic career.
Luke said he thought that if there are two candidates for a job, having that nursing degree would be an advantage.
“A lot of firefighters I know have two jobs,” Luke said. “It’s (nursing) a good fallback in case you get hurt on the job.”
He also appreciates being a triplet.
“It’s never a dull moment,” Luke said. “You always have two buddies with you.”
Luke said of Andrew, “He sometimes levels me out and complements me.”
Andrew said he thinks having more than one profession is a good move.
“If I burn out on one thing, I can do another,” Andrew said. “For me, I want to help people. I’ve always looked up to people who help each other.”