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College of Nursing

Alumni Spotlight

Lan Nguyen, '09 BSN
Clinical Practice Specialist, Palmetto Health

Lan Nguyen

Tell us a little bit about you.
The youngest of 3, I was born and raised in Rock Hill, SC.  I moved to Columbia for undergrad, graduated in 2009, and started working at Palmetto Health.  I obtained my Masters of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Education in 2014.  My nursing background consists of cardiac telemetry, nursing education, and project management.  I love to travel with my family and friends.  When I have time, I enjoy books, a warm fire and blanket, and a hot cup of anything.

Why did you choose nursing, and why USC?
I first visited USC as a high school junior when my sister was here for undergrad.  During that first visit, I went to meet my sister on campus and waited by the fountain in front of Thomas Cooper.  I watched students bustle through between sessions and I knew this was where I wanted to begin the next phase of my life.  I felt content and at home; it just felt right. 

I always knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field, but I wasn’t sure which discipline.  When I applied to USC, I followed my gut and checked the box next to nursing.  My choice was confirmed when a video on the history of nursing in my very first class moved me to tears.  I knew I was in the right place. 

Describe your greatest professional moment.
I personally feel my successes are measured by the accomplishment, growth, and recognition of those I support and mentor.  In my current role, I facilitate our Nursing Shared Governance structure.  In this structure, clinical nurses own the accountabilities of the profession by leading teams in making decisions about nursing practice.  I have had the honor of seeing the growth of our clinical nurses in these teams.  Through this structure, they represent nursing at interdisciplinary tables and share an equal voice with all disciplines. 

My greatest professional moments are when the work of these clinical nurses is recognized by our organization.   For example, the chair of our Coordinating Council, a clinical nurse, was recently invited to present to all of our campus executives.  She shared the story of our Nursing Shared Governance journey, a summary of our wins, and an overview of the opportunities we have to grow and further support the strategic initiatives of our organization.  The group was inspired and impressed with the presence of this frontline team member, and I couldn’t be prouder. 

You’re one of the founding members of the new College of Nursing Alumni Council. What about the Council interested you, and what would you tell an alumnus who is thinking about applying?
I am proud to be a part of establishing the new College of Nursing Alumni Council.  I feel it is important for alumni, especially nurses, to stay connected with their alma mater.  This connection supports and benefits many people.  Not only does this relationship facilitate the ability of the CON to support alumni, but it allows alumni to further support each other.  Nursing is not an easy profession; as nurses, we experience moments of joy, heartache, and frustration on a daily basis.  Though we may have supportive families and friends, sharing stories with other nurses offers another level of support and understanding.  Through the Alumni Council, we will be able to strengthen our network for each other and future generations of nurses. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new nursing graduate?
Make self-care a priority.  As nurses, we are often so busy taking care of others, we forget about ourselves.  Find something that refreshes you and do it regularly - travel, get a massage, meditate, go for a run, take a nap, go to dinner with friends, cuddle with your pets, bake a cake, shop.