ROSE BARRCKS, Germany – As National Nurses Week comes to a close, U.S. Army Capt. Trungviet [Joey] Nguyen takes a few seconds to reflect on his career as a nurse, quickly sips his energy drink, scans his emails and shoots out of his office door.
National Nurses Week celebrates the hard work and dedication of nurses in the United States and culminates with International Nurses Day on May 12, 2020. The week highlights how care giving and lifesaving techniques make everyday differences possible.
As the only nurse in the 2d Cavalry Regiment, Nguyen is always busy. He oversees the unit’s Soldier Readiness Program, manages staff at the Vilseck Health Clinic and trains combat medics and other professionals in maintaining their medical skills.
Nguyen hails from the suburbs of Chicago, Ill. and attended the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Nursing. Shortly after joining the U.S. Army, he found himself at Tripler Medical Center in Hawaii working on the cardiac floor.
“The first couple of years of being a nurse in the Army, it’s very challenging,” said Nguyen. “As a medical surgical nurse, you have to learn everything. It’s almost like drinking through a fire hose.”
The coronavirus pandemic has not made his life any easier. Nguyen tracks all individuals who enter Rose Barracks and handles all of the medical reports, to include the results of the coronavirus testing kits.
He advises the senior leader and staff officers so that the coronavirus does not spread on base. While life as an Army nurse is challenging, Nguyen enjoys the challenge.
“I follow over 5,000 people who go through screening and closely monitor their status,” said Nguyen. “When you come in as a nurse in the Army, you do three years of floor nursing then you get put into a charge nurse role. In the civilian sectors, you won’t be put into that role until you have 10 years of experience.”
When the challenge seems overwhelming, Nguyen relies a lot on his family to help him through rough times.
“I have a loving and supportive wife, Melissa, and wonderful children, Emmy and Landon,” said Nguyen. Melissa also served as an Army Nurse.
National Nurses Week has a special meaning for Nguyen as he thinks about his nursing mentors.
“They never gave an excuse on why they couldn’t help me or other nurses,” said Nguyen. “Because of that, we build a family bond as nurses.”