Philip Bagnoli

Portrait of Philip Bagnoli

A Fulfilling Career in Nursing

The frail, ailing man spoke no English, and Philip Bagnoli ’19 spoke no Hindi. But that didn’t matter in the least as the two sat together, hands grasped, amid the hustle and bustle of the ICU at Holy Family Hospital, a small missionary medical center in New Delhi, India.

“He was alone and just wanted me to sit with him,” says Philip, a nursing major from Grinnell, Iowa, who served a two-month internship at the hospital in the summer of 2018. “I knew that he was scared, and I knew that I could comfort him.”

Gaining High-Level Experience Overseas

While at Holy Family Hospital, working under staff nurses’ supervision, Philip also dispensed medication, inserted IVs, initiated tube feedings, suctioned tracheostomies, and provided comfort to many other patients in need of compassionate care. “ICU nursing is intense, but it’s also rewarding to be a part of something so scary for others and help make their experience as positive as possible,” he says. “I feel like I can really make an impact as an ICU nurse—it’s work I feel called to do.”

Finding His Calling

Philip felt that call from the moment he entered the Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, where, as a sophomore, he spent a day shadowing ER nurses. “I really liked the pace and flow of the ER and knew I could do well in an environment where I had to think critically on my feet,” he says. Spending his senior capstone in surgical trauma ICU at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, solidified Philip’s decision to pursue critical-care nursing as a career. “It’s work I can see myself doing for quite a long time,” he says.

Philip felt just as sure about his decision to enroll at Luther after visiting.

The sense of community was immediately apparent to me. I knew I could get a good education at many colleges, but I was looking for a community where I felt like I could be my best version of myself and explore parts of me that I had not yet explored.

Philip Bagnoli '19
A Passion for the Outdoors

The college’s setting along the banks of the Upper Iowa River and the bluffs of the Driftless Region—topography that reminded him of his childhood in Berea, Kentucky—was a very welcome bonus. An avid outdoorsman, Philip frequently ventured outside when he wasn’t taking classes, preparing for work as a lab assistant, or leading tours of campus for prospective students. “I love backpacking and day hiking, camping and canoeing, mountain biking and running—really just about anything that will get me outside,” he says. One spring, Philip even trained for his first marathon on Decorah’s Trout Run Trail.

The outdoors, in fact, played a key part in his decision to move to Tacoma, Washington, to work as a nurse in the neuro/trauma ICU at Tacoma General Hospital while exploring Mount Rainier and other natural draws of the Puget Sound region. While his address may change in the years ahead, Philip knows he is in nursing for the long haul. “The great thing about nursing is that there are so many options and so many tracks one can follow. I like to keep life interesting,” he says, “and with nursing, that is easy to do.”