Nurse Practitioner, Lung Transplant, Penn Transplant Institute

Christina Taing Vo headshot

"My oldest son was a preemie and spent two and a half months in the NICU. That gave me a chance to see nurses in action up close. It inspired me to pursue a career in nursing. Before becoming a nurse, I owned a grocery store in Southwest Philly with my husband. I didn't go to college until I was 24 – so don't ever say it's too late.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a nurse, to want to be at the bedside of patients who are suffering. You're there to help when they're at their absolute worst. The patients I care for need a transplant or they'll die – it's as simple as that. But still, there is nothing simple about it. Making it through the transplant journey is complex, and it takes grit on their part and ours.

I primarily work with patients who have advanced lung disease like cystic fibrosis or interstitial lung disease. A lot of pre- and post-lung transplant patients, too. I never get tired of seeing patients who were once close to death walk out of the hospital and into a new and renewed life. We all love when a patient comes back to visit us on the floor. It's amazing seeing how healthy they look compared to when we first met them.

My life now is completely different than it was when I owned the grocery store. Was the store profitable? Yes. Was it good for my family? Yes. But having that business didn't bring me personal satisfaction. Being a nurse can be exhausting and stressful, but at the end of the day, I get to help so many people. I help keep the patient alive. I get them closer to a transplant and going home to the life they are fighting so hard to live."

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