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Unsung: Phuong-Lien Ngo-Nguyen

Unsung: Phuong-Lien Ngo-Nguyen
November 19, 2015 No comments


Born and raised in Vietnam, I came to the United States to attend college on a nursing scholarship with the intention of going to medical school. I am actually quite happy that medical school did not work out for me because I found that I was more of a people person, and nursing ended up being a better fit. My career has been spent mostly in the intensive care unit, but I did serve in a variety of other units. I have also been teaching nursing since 1998. My love has been in volunteering – I have volunteered with various medical missions since I was in my teens, mainly in Vietnam because I can speak and write Vietnamese fluently. I have also volunteered with causes and medical mission groups in Tecate and Tijuana. Currently I am teaching at the California State University San Marcos, School of Nursing as a lecturer and have taken nursing students to Vietnam for their cultural and health education experiences.

For this winter 2015-16, our team consists of 13 nursing students (junior and senior), one other instructor, and one assistant – a total of 16 participants. We will work with the faculty and nursing students at the Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Nursing. The two main sites are Hue’s University hospital (one week) and the clinics in Nam-Dong province (rural area in the mountain 40-miles away from Hue). In the hospital, students will rotate to medical, surgical, obstetric and pediatric units to work with the local nurses and Vietnamese nursing students. This experience will allow students to see the difference in treatment modalities in a differing culture. In Nam-Dong, the team will work with local clinic staff and VN nursing students to help receive, assess, treat and teach incoming patients. They also do home visits if patients are too sick to come to clinics, go to local elementary schools to teach hand and oral hygiene, and to middle/high school to talk about smoking cessation and female hygiene.

When things get difficult, what keeps you going?

I guess nursing is within me. When the outcomes have been set, and things do not go the way I want or become difficult, I find ways to meet the outcome. In short, the goal keeps me going.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your position?

Be patient, flexible and have a positive outlook on everything.

Why did you choose to be where you are today?

My life path really has not been a conscientious choice, but what has fit me and made me feel useful.

What does “Crafting Wellness” mean to you?

It means to find what works best and what does not work to make the best out of every situation – beneficial and harmless.

Lastly, do you have a story or moment that has had an impact on your life?

When I was in 10th grade, I joined a medical mission to the refugee center to provide care to the wounded during the war. I felt the experience very challenging yet rewarding after treating an infected, foul-smelling gunshot wound to an elderly woman.

-Phuong-Lien (Lien) Ngo-Nguyen, 65, 9-year instructor at California State University San Marcos, School of Nursing

Unsung, is a feature MDF proudly brings to the MDF community highlighting the incredible MDF’ers who are truly #CraftingWellness. We hope to inspire, encourage, and connect humanity by sharing the stories from the thousands of anonymous individuals whose imprint can be seen in the lives of countless others.

Posted in: blog