PreCheck Celebrates National Nurses Week 2022 With Judy Pham
This week is National Nurses Week, an annual event held May 6-12. In 1954, the first National Nurses Week was celebrated to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s time in Crimea. Nightingale is widely recognized as the founder of modern nursing, after managing and training nurses during the Crimean War,
This year’s National Nurses Week theme, “Rooted in Strength,” recognizes the resilience and growth of nurses everywhere, through the pandemic and beyond, and “how beauty in life can rise from destruction and darkness.”
In celebration of this event, we’re sharing the story of Judy Pham, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Judy shares what she loves about nursing over her 14-year career, how COVID-19 impacted nursing, what advice she would give to graduates entering the profession, and more. Here’s what she had to say:
1. What do you love most about nursing?
What I love the most about nursing is the ability to help others during one of their most vulnerable times in their lives. It is important for me to be their voice and advocate and help them feel as comfortable as possible, especially in a stress-inducing environment and situation.
2. What made you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
My initial interest in nursing stemmed from opportunities to help others and the versatility that a career in nursing could provide. It served as an open-door launching point into healthcare with many different facets and avenues of medical specialties.
3. How has the nursing profession changed you as a person?
Nursing has helped me practice more compassion, kindness, and understanding. It has taught me that the health of the community is important, and that when people feel their best, we can all make a positive impact on each other.
4. What is your best advice for nursing graduates starting their career?
My best advice is to hone into your passions and imagine yourself in a role that brings you joy and purpose. The nursing profession provided me with the opportunity to explore many different specialties in healthcare, which in turn led me to realizing and pursuing one of my biggest passions in life – nurse anesthesia.
5. Have you always worked within the same environment in nursing?
I have not. My career started off working in the Pediatric ICU at Texas Children’s Hospital for several years prior to pursuing a career in nurse anesthesia. In the PICU, I was a member of a team that provided care for the sickest population of kids in our community. We implemented research-based protocols to treat and help kids feel better and achieve their optimal health. After obtaining my masters, I began my work at the University of Washington as a nurse anesthetist. Here, I collaborate with an anesthesiologist to come up with a plan, considering the complexities that each patient uniquely presents, in order to provide the safest and effective care to patients receiving an array of surgical and procedural cases.
6. How has the nursing profession changed over the past years?
The nursing profession has transformed into obtaining higher education and supporting research evidence-based practice. We continue to strive for providing the utmost safe and effective care to patients as the world and our surroundings continue to evolve over time.
7. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you think it will shape the future of nursing?
While there are still a lot of people who don’t understand the sacrifices that nurses make to keep our communities safe and healthy, the pandemic has showcased to the world the value and impact the nursing profession has on our collective success in achieving and living in a happy and healthy environment.
8. What do you believe is the largest misconception about nursing?
The largest misconception about nursing is that we just “follow doctors’ orders.” A nurse’s role includes observing, learning, and recommending plans as a part of the medical team to achieve the best treatment approach for patients.
9. What is it like being a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center?
Nurses are respected and valued at my hospital; we are recognized as being integral members of patients’ healthcare and outcomes. By working at a research hospital, I have the opportunity to give back by teaching and training young professionals.
10. Studies show that there is an increasing shortage of nurses in the U.S.; what would you say to those who are considering nursing as their career?
In recent times, the nursing profession has been difficult and challenging, but continue to pursue it if it aligns with your passions, goals, and values. It is also very important to set boundaries and give yourself adequate time to rest and take care of your own health.