I was born in San Diego, Calif., as the youngest of five children — and only girl. My parents are immigrants from Cambodia. We moved to Columbia, Mo. on my 6th birthday, and I’ve been here ever since. I received my ADN from Moberly Area Community College in 2009, my BSN from Central Methodist University in 2013, and CNOR certification this year. I married my high school sweetheart, Kyle, in 2011. We have three amazing kids — Drake, 10; Jackson, 9; and Amelia, 4. And I can’t forget about our fur baby, Eva, a 5-year-old golden doodle.
Why did you get into the health care field?
I was introduced to the field in high school when I took an Introduction to Healthcare Professions course. I was very interested from that moment on. Upon completion of that course, I received my CNA license and got a job at Boone Hospital as a tech on the Surgical Specialties floor. I pursued a health care career because it’s all so interesting and always changing for the better.
What interested you in your particular specialty?
Surgery is all I know! I worked on the Surgical Specialties floor for 4 years before a friend recommended me to the Operating Room. I took a job as a circulating nurse, and I’ve never looked back! I have been in the OR for 13 years. My particular role is unique: I am the on-call nurse, which means I get called in after hours for the emergent surgical cases. I absolutely love being involved in the intraoperative phase of surgery from start to finish. I am my patient’s advocate while they are under anesthesia. Everything I do in the OR is for their health and safety.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
My job is rewarding in several ways. I get to meet so many people and be a part of their care team. Being able to work alongside with several top-notch surgeons in the region and maintaining a professional relationship is also rewarding.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
As the on-call OR nurse, the most challenging aspect of my job is not knowing what I’m supposed to do until I get that urgent call. I have to be ready to go and capable of circulating all specialties, including orthopedic, vascular, neurosurgery, eye, plastic, gynecological, and general surgery to name a few. My resources are limited in the middle of the night, so I just have to figure it out!
What has changed in your field since you started practicing?
Heath Care is constantly evolving. Since I’ve started practicing in the OR, robotic assisted surgeries have been on the rise. The newest robot to join our OR is the Mako – will be used for joint replacement surgery. I’m eager to learn all about it!
What do you see changing in the next 5 to 10 years?
Changes in technology will affect charting systems, medical equipment and tools. In the operating room, these changes will be good and simplify surgical procedures for better patient outcomes and faster recovery.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Our family spends a lot of time doing everything together! We love to travel, enjoy the outdoors, and attend Chiefs and Cardinals games. Our kids’ sports currently keep us busy, including travel baseball, golf, basketball — and our youngest will start tee ball this year.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a nurse?
My advice to someone looking to become a nurse is that you will never know everything. Be ready to learn something new almost every day. Be proactive, prioritize, and remember that communication is the key to success.