PreCheck Celebrates National Nurses Week 2020 with Phong Nguyen
This year marks a special time for the nursing profession. Beginning today, National Nurses Week—an annual event held May 6-12 to honor the late Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing—will not only recognize the critical role nurses play in our healthcare system, but it will also celebrate Florence’s 200th birthday. Her innovative ideas and contributions helped to shape the way nursing is practiced today.
In celebration of this event, and with our sincere gratitude in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re sharing the story of Phong Nguyen, a Nurse Practitioner at Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, CA. Phong recounts his journey toward nursing and explains his passion for the healthcare profession.
Here’s what he had to say.
1. What do you love most about nursing?
For me, nursing involves a holistic approach, meaning we look at the patient as a whole. I enjoy the interaction of working and building rapports with my patients and ensuring they’re in a comfortable environment. In my role, I get to work with post-transplant patients and see their road to recovery; it’s rewarding to be able to discharge a patient knowing that I was able to play a significant role in their healing and recovery process. It reminds me why I chose to be a nurse in the first place.
2. What made you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
Before nursing, I was in a high-pressured corporate job that was financially driven and had very little regard for clients or those that were impacted. I was burned out and complained every day about my job. This may sound cliché, but I wanted a career in which I can actually make a positive impact in someone else’s life. I started volunteering at a hospital to get a taste of nursing and I never looked back.
3. How has the nursing profession changed you as a person?
Nursing involves advocating for patients, others, and myself. Good change doesn’t happen without listening to the opinions of others. To get things done, I learned that it’s important to stand up for what I believe is right and voice my own thoughts or concerns.
4. What is your best advice for nursing graduates starting their career
Listen. Remember, as nurses, we are treating the patient. It’s important to listen to the patient to know how to respond to their needs and involve them in their own care. You’ll want to provide them guidance on how to manage their own health when you’re no longer at their bedside. Knowing how to listen (and fully understand) applies to anyone who wants to succeed in their career.
5. Have you always worked within the same environment in nursing?
At the beginning of my nursing career, I worked on the hospital floor as a staff nurse and then a charge nurse where I provided leadership and care for both patients and staff. Later, I worked as a wound care consultant at various nursing homes in which I directed care for various types of wounds.
6. How has the nursing profession changed over the past years?
Nursing is evolving with technology and resources. For example, patients that are in isolation due to an infection can now use a tablet to video chat with their families at home. Newer hospitals are moving toward private rooms for patients that help reduce stress and falls. Nursing will continue to evolve and change, but it will always remain patient-focused.
7. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you think it will shape the future of nursing?
I think that this pandemic will help us be more prepared for the next outbreak in regard to staffing, processes, and supplies. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak here in the states, there seemed to be a lot of confusion with what was necessary and how to prepare to prevent the spread. A pandemic like the Coronavirus is an opportunity for all of us to learn from our mistakes so we can better prepare for the future.
8. What do you believe is the largest misconception about nursing?
I believe the largest misconception is that all nurses do is distribute medication and clean up after patients. Yes, that is a part of the job, but there is much more to nursing. Nurses are at the front lines of patient safety and care; it’s important to be able to think critically and respond rationally to any sudden changes because it’s easy to become emotionally charged in tense or dire situations.
9. What is it like being a nurse at Sutter Health CPMC?
I love being a nurse at Sutter Health CPMC because it's a very family-oriented atmosphere. The hospital isn’t too large, and I don’t feel like just another number. Our hospital system is very nurse-driven and they advocate for their nurses. I truly feel like I’m at the front lines providing quality patient care and making a difference.
10. Studies continue to show that there's an increasing shortage of nurses in the U.S.; what would you say to those who are considering nursing as their career?
Not only is there job security, but there are several different career paths you can choose from. From an ICU nurse to a home healthcare nurse to a labor and delivery nurse, the opportunities are endless. If helping others is your passion, I’d say go for it because the nursing profession can be rewarding in so many ways and you can truly make a meaningful impact on someone else’s life.
Whether you’re a nursing veteran or new to the field, please share what made you join the profession and what you’d like upcoming nurses to know. We’d love to hear your story!
Again, we’d like to send our sincerest thanks to all of our healthcare professionals who are at the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic saving lives and providing hope for everyone who’s been impacted by this deadly disease. You truly are our heroes.