Finding My Passion for Intensive Care Nursing

Justin Tran, NUR ’24, Portland, OR

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a Student Nurse Extern (SNE) at NYU Langone Health (NYULH). Going into this summer, I was not certain what type of career I wanted to pursue upon graduating nursing school. After working on a surgical/transplant intensive care unit (SICU), I can confidently say that I am passionate about critical care. Through this experience, I was able to learn more about critical care and the role as an ICU nurse.

As I reflect upon my time as an SNE at NYULH this summer, I am proud to see my growth and development as a future nurse. At the start of my externship, I lacked a lot of confidence in my nursing knowledge and skills. But since I followed a nurse’s schedule and worked 12-hour shifts, I felt that there was a lot more opportunity to learn and get hands-on. I became familiar with the treatment and care required for lung, liver, and heart transplant patients. I also got to work with patients who were under the plastic surgery service. Many patients that I worked with required support from medical devices such as ventilators, CRRT, Impella, VAD, ECMO, and more; it was fascinating to see how these machines worked and how it improved patient’s conditions. I had a ton of experience with conducting patient assessments, interpreting patient lab values, and monitoring patient’s vitals. Furthermore, I was able to learn and master my knowledge about the types of medications commonly used in the ICU such as pressors and antibiotics; I also have a better understanding of medication administration techniques, such as medications administered through an intravenous route.

Being at NYULH, I was exposed to the culture and excellence that a highly ranked hospital fosters. From being taught the best practices to learning personal tricks from the nurses, I found that I was surrounded by colleagues who strive for the best for their patients. Even beyond my nursing knowledge and skills, I developed great interpersonal skills, which are an essential part of nursing. I loved interacting with the patients and their families, and I enjoyed connecting with them despite the stressful environment of the hospital. I recognized the immense burden that is put on patients and families with being an ICU. I did my best to support the patient and the family through what could possibly be their hardest times.

I am deeply grateful for all the experiences I’ve had through being an SNE at NYULH. I am happy to say that I have a deeper appreciation for nursing after this experience, and I hope that one day I will find myself working on this unit again in the future.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services