Nicolas Hoang Tuan Nguyen

February 2010
Class of 2010


I believe this about nursing… “Nursing allows me to express myself.”

On the day I became a big brother, I was given the honor of being a part of my younger brother’s life. His name is Ben and he was born a healthy baby with an infectious smile. One year later, however, Ben grew very sick and was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome. For the next eight years, we were constantly in and out of the hospital due to various complications, including severe motor impairment and heart complications.

At an early age, I became interested in healthcare careers because of Ben. I had many activities planned out for us and couldn’t wait for him to get better so that we could fulfill them. I knew that as a healthcare worker, I would be able to understand and accommodate Ben’s needs. More importantly, through our countless visits to the hospital, I quickly realized that the most rewarding and essential roles in the healthcare setting were the nurses.

As I became older, I began to investigate various healthcare opportunities. I started as a caregiver for developmentally disabled children through the Department of Social and Health Services. As a caregiver, I assisted children with bathing, companionship and becoming self-sufficient. I gained so many invaluable lessons from the children that I assisted, including patience, empathy and courage.

Currently, I am working as a registered nurse’s assistant at the Sean Humphrey House (SHH), an HIV/AIDS hospice serving low income individuals. The work environment at SHH is similar to that of a tight-knit family; we greatly emphasize the emotional and mental health of our residents and care very much for their well-being.

Concurrent with my work at SHH, I have also honed in on my fluency in Vietnamese. I am able to provide assistance to family members and others in the Vietnamese community of Bellingham as an interpreter at medical appointments. I have seen firsthand the cultural barriers, difficulties and frustrations that arise when limited English speaking families visit the doctor. It is extremely gratifying to serve as a communication bridge for these patients and to facilitate their access to healthcare.

All of these experiences have shaped the goals I plan to achieve in the healthcare field. In a few months, I will be graduating from the University of Rochester and will have my B.S.N. I envision myself one day as a nurse practitioner and I hope to be able to open a health clinic that deals specifically with underserved populations that including minorities, immigrants and especially the impoverished. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN) has prepared me to contribute enthusiastically to any community and enhance diversity in the healthcare field. Through NCIN, I have learned the barriers to healthcare, cultural factors, respect in the workplace and qualities of leadership. I am proud to say that I am an NCIN scholar, and without this program I would not be the same person that I am today. Thank you.