TAMC Nurses Week: Meet Capt. Esther Lee

By Hugh Fleming and Amelia DicksonMay 7, 2023

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Meet Capt. Esther Lee, a staff nurse in our Adult ICU. She has been in the Army for almost five years after commissioning via ROTC at the University of Virginia. Before coming to Tripler, she was a staff nurse at Walter Reed Bethesda on different medical surgical wards for more than two years. Lee is a second-generation Korean American, first-generation college graduate and the first in her family to join the military. Born and raised in Virginia, she is also a proud Virginian.

Learn more about Capt. Esther Lee in the Q&A below!

Q: What inspired you to become a nurse?

I want to say I initially applied to nursing school because of my values, greater purpose, etc., but it was not really that. I initially applied to nursing school because of its practicality. In high school I was focused on finding a major that had a stable job prospect and nursing seemed to fit. I will say I have zero regrets.

Q: What are five reasons to become a nurse?

1.     Flexibility in location. You can be a nurse practically anywhere all over the world.

2.     Flexibility in career. Nursing isn’t just bedside nursing, there are also nurse case managers, nurse practitioners, etc. The opportunities are endless.

3.     Stability. It’s a way to have a stable income.

4.     People. You will meet all sorts of people from all walks of life and it’s kind of exhausting sometimes, but also so much fun.

5.     Impact. As cheesy as it may sound, nurses can make a big impact in someone’s life. You are the one who the patient sees all day. You are the one people see and look up to for what may be his or her worst day. It’s an opportunity to make a monumental impact for the good in a stranger’s life.

Q: What Advice would you give to a student interested in becoming a nurse?

If you have an interest, just go for it — unless you don’t have compassion or patience.

Q: How do you inspire future nurses?

I know I said I initially started nursing because of its practicality, but genuinely, there is nothing as beautiful as seeing a person go from being so sick to walking out of the hospital healed. I mean yes, that’s not every case. Being a nurse means sometimes you are involved in someone walking out of the hospital in a better medical state or sometimes you are the last one holding someone’s hand while they move on from this world. There is just something raw and special about being able to help someone during usually his or her most vulnerable state.