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Air Force nurse gives back to thank U.S. for second chance

2019 National Nurses Week Profile of Air Force Major Phi Tran 2019 National Nurses Week Profile of Air Force Major Phi Tran

Air Force Maj. Phi Tran 

Student at Air Command and Staff College
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama


I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was in middle school, and my grandma was suffering from ovarian cancer. I visited her in the hospital and noticed the staff cared for and comforted her until the day she died. They also were really nice to my family and made us feel loved. I decided I wanted to do the same for others in their time of need.

I joined the military because I wanted to give back to the country that gave my family a second chance. We moved to the United States from Vietnam when I was 11. I became a U.S. citizen when I was 18.

The best thing about my job is taking care of patients regardless of their background, rank, or personal situation. When they come to me, they need help. I assist them. 

My most prominent memory of being a nurse is being able to comfort my patients, especially when they’re at their weakest.

I was most challenged when I deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2008­­-09 to train the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police nursing forces. I had to be creative in sharing my knowledge so the Afghans could treat their patients with the supplies at hand.

My most memorable patient experience was serving as a pediatric nurse in the 48th Medical Operations Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom. I loved taking care of newborns and reassuring parents.   

When I’m not in uniform, I’m volunteering with an organization that raises money and provides mentorship for young people to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics opportunities.

My nurse superpower is the ability to connect with patients and their family members so they feel at ease.

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