Student Spotlight: Hyun Ju Oh, Senior DNP student, Nurse Anesthetist specialty

Feb. 12, 2020

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Hyun Ju Oh
Hyun Ju Oh (Left)

Senior Doctorate of Nursing Practice student with Nurse Anesthetist specialty, graduating in May, 2020. Originally from South Korea.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?

I decided to become a nurse because I was an international student when I first came to the United States about 13 years ago. When I came here, I thought nursing would be the best work pathway to get a green card or maybe citizenship. That was the very simple reason I chose nursing, but when I started working as a nurse I felt like I had made a really good choice in my life. Nursing is a really worthy profession. Whenever you see your patients get better, you feel so awesome.

Why did you choose to pursue nurse anesthesia in particular?

When I was researching the prerequisites for the nursing program and learning about best practices, I found out that nurse anesthetists can have much more independence to make decisions about what medicine they can give patients. They’re highly trained to deal with difficult situations like Code Blue. They have to manage everything, they’re very educated, very close to the work that anesthesiologists do. That really appealed to me.

"Nursing is a really worthy profession. Whenever you see your patients get better, you feel so awesome.” ~ Hyun Ju Oh, Senior Doctorate of Nursing Practice student with Nurse Anesthetist specialty

Why did you choose the UArizona Nurse Anesthesia program?

I was impressed by the online hype about the program. I found only a couple of programs that offered nurse anesthesia school and I found that the UA program provides a hybrid program that only requires me to travel to Tucson a couple of times per semester. That was a really big advantage for me since I’m based in Southern California. For the first half of the program, we focused on theory and then after that we started doing some clinical work. When we were winding up the first part of the program, I was actually able to work as a part-time nurse while I was taking some classes, so that was really nice for me. That flexibility is a big reason I chose UArizona to pursue nurse anesthesia.

What features of the UArizona program are you especially passionate about?

I actually love pharmacology. I love to learn about different drugs, so those are my favorite subjects in the anesthesia classes. I was already interested in pharmaceuticals while I was working as a nurse, because when you give patients medicine you see the results right away.

Share a favorite memory from your time at UArizona Nursing.

One of my favorite experiences in Arizona was during the Resident Intensive Summer Experience (RISE). As juniors, we took one day with the senior students in the Simulation Lab. Senior students came into our classroom and actually became our instructors for that day, so it was one-to-one instruction. Another favorite memory, now that I’m a senior, is when I did the same exercise with my junior students. I came down to the sim lab and taught them. It was a really interesting and rewarding experience for me to share my knowledge with up-and-comers.

During your final year, you’re immersed in your clinical rotations. Are you working as well?

Actually, no. Right now, I’m working four to five days, day and night, doing my clinical rotations at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino County, so I’m pretty tied up with that. But I’m looking for some jobs already. Some of my classmates have already found jobs, so I’m going to start applying.

What are your plans and goals for the future?

Even though English is my second language, and I have some language barriers, I love teaching. I see myself teaching in the future. Even in my current clinical rotation, I have taken some medical students into my room and taught them, and I love it. Within five years, I would like to be a preceptor for newly hired CRNAs. Or maybe I’ll look for an opportunity as a clinical instructor for a nurse anesthesia program.

Do you hold any other degrees?

I studied nursing here in the United States, but back in the past in South Korea I was a kindergarten teacher and I had a degree in education.