Tarunjit (TJ) Singh grew up in India with a pharmacist father. TJ’s experience learning from his father greatly influenced his decision to pursue medicine, which ultimately led to TJ to becoming a Neuro Critical Care Nurse at Swedish Cherry Hill.
Roots in India
“My father worked in a very underserved, rural area where the doctors would visit once a week,” shares TJ. Even though he was a pharmacist, TJ’s father would help serve the community in the times between the doctor visits.
TJ remembers a time when there was an infection in India that people in the rural community falsely believed was spread through human contact. He says his father was the only one in the small community who knew the facts and did his best to educate others.
“There was a man who caught the virus, and no one wanted to touch him. He was left alone—no one was even taking care of him until my father went to his house and got him. He brought him to the city, fed him, got his checkup done and got him the medications he needed. My father wasn’t getting paid to care for this man; he was selfless. His compassion for other people drove him to do it. That’s what made me want to go into the medical field—to be like my father.”
The move to America
TJ’s grandmother applied for a visa in 2003; he and his family came to the United States in 2014. TJ says his initial impression was that the United States was beautiful—and more “organized.”
Once here, TJ immediately enrolled in school and began working on his prerequisites. He also shadowed two family friends who were nurses.
“I was thinking of becoming a doctor, but I actually loved the patient-care aspect of nursing. That’s what made me decide to pursue nursing.”
A new home at Swedish
TJ says he applied to the Swedish Nurse Residency Program because he heard it was the best one in the area. “Only a couple of hospitals invest so much time and money into creating ICU nurses out of recent graduates.”
According to TJ, through his residency and working in Neuro-ICU, his managers and teams have all been incredibly supportive. “That was a big relief for me, because if you need to figure out everything by yourself it gets really hard. You don’t have to worry about anything but doing your best and preparing yourself to be the best nurse possible.”
Advice from a Neuro Critical Care nurse
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Neuro-ICU or other critical care nurse, TJ offers the following advice. “Just be ready for challenges. ICU is not easy. You need to know your thing. Know your stuff. Be prepared to put in work outside of work. That was important. Personally, I studied on my days off. And now I’m much more comfortable on the unit.”
In his father’s footsteps
TJ knows his father is incredibly proud of the work he does; TJ is bringing the compassion he learned watching his father as a pharmacist in India to work with him at Swedish every shift. And that compassion pays off with fulfillment.
“When people come out of comas and know who I am, who’s been caring for them for hours or days, it’s amazing. It’s just a feeling that doesn’t go away. It stays with you. Those are small wins that keep me going.”
If you’re interested in advancing your career and helping us care for the most critical patients, see the latest acute care nursing opportunities here.