When Brittani Rahn de Vu needed a new career path, her husband, Giang, gave her the idea to pursue nursing. He had already given her a unique last name.
"Rahn de Vu is my name and his name put together," she said. "I told him, 'I'm marrying you 60 percent for love and 40 percent to get a really cool last name.' His last name is Vu, mine is Rahn. We paid $250 to get the 'de' thrown in there."
Rahn de Vu was doing volunteer and community work as part of AmeriCorps NCCC, which is similar to the Peace Corps, when the couple decided to start a family. They now have four children — Kylee (10), June (8), Eagan (2) and Evie (1).
"I traveled all over the country and helped people and communities in need, but I was only getting about $150 a week," she said. "It wasn't enough money to live on — let alone save for a family. My husband told me, 'I love that you love to help people, but if you want us to be a successful family, we need to have another income.' That was a hard mindset for me to get into."
Shortly after she started nursing school, however, Rahn de Vu knew it was a step in the right direction. She had a full-time job at Baylor Scott & White Health in the emergency department waiting for her when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2014.
"Nobody in my family ever earned a bachelor's degree before, so it seemed like a feat that was too hard for me to accomplish," she said. "Once I started, I thought, 'Oh, hey, I'm good at this.' After three years of being a nurse, I became a supervisor in my department."
Rahn de Vu now works for Adeptus Health which allows her to travel and work in different emergency departments throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Rahn de Vu moved from her home state of Minnesota to Texas while she was in school. When she transferred to Texas, she did the first two years of her bachelor's degree at Tarrant County College.
"I had no idea which schools in Texas had a good reputation, and there are so many of them," she said. "I started going to TCC because it was affordable and I could transfer credits to nursing schools. All of the research I did told me to go to UTA. Everybody I talked to said, 'Go to UTA. Go to UTA.' It was the only school I applied to."
The BSN program prepared Rahn de Vu to begin her nursing practice with a solid curriculum and clinical experiences at Texas Health Resources, Methodist Health System and Baylor Scott & White Health. She also gained healthcare experience at rehabilitation and assisted living centers.
"I got to go all over," Rahn de Vu said. "It was definitely exceptional training. I went into emergency nursing because of my AmeriCorps background. I did civilian status disaster response. It was a natural transition because emergency nursing allows you to be a part of that. I like working with vulnerable populations."
Community Health Nursing and Critical Care were the two courses Rahn de Vu enjoyed most in the BSN curriculum.
"I like those areas, and they both correspond to my job now," she said. "I also liked the way the teachers engaged us. In the community health course, there were several cool opportunities outside of regular academic work. I got to do some community involvement work, and I loved that."
Taking the Stage
Rahn de Vu believes the reputation of UTA's nursing program creates opportunities for graduates.
"Securing a job as a nurse technician — even if it's PRN or part time in a hospital — can give you a fast track into job placement," she said. "Texas Health Resources, for example, hires internally quickly. Nearly all of my friends who were techs there got jobs — especially if they were a UTA student."
Before embarking on a new career journey, Rahn de Vu attended commencement at UTA to share the accomplishment with her family.
"I wanted my kids and my little sister, Victoria, to go and see that whole experience," she said. "I was working full time and raising children while I was in the program. It was a lot, but I graduated with honors."
The nursing practice is off to a solid start, as well. In addition to landing a supervisory role, Rahn de Vu was a finalist for Halo's Most Interesting Nurse in the World Award for 2018. She also volunteers at a free clinic providing free healthcare for community members that do not have health coverage.
Rahn de Vu hopes to eventually open her own clinic with a strong community outreach focus. She still feels connected to UTA and recently attended an alumni lunch. She has also taken her children to campus for a Frozen sing-along event. She is proud to be a Maverick.
"I have recommended the program," she said. "I talked two of the nurses with me at Baylor Scott & White into joining the online Master of Science in Nursing program at UTA. They are in the program right now."
She started a master's program at UTA but put it on hold when she became pregnant with Evie. "I want to go back, and I will!" she said.
How could she resist another Rahn de Vu with UTA?
Learn more about the UTA online nursing programs.
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