From a very early age, Vicky Nguyen faced numerous health challenges that would test her resilience and determination. Shortly after she was born, she was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a potentially fatal liver condition that required a liver transplant. Fortunately, in 1986, she was one of the first 100 liver transplant patients at UCLA Medical Center. (As of 2022, the Liver Transplant team at UCLA Health has performed well over 8,000 lifesaving liver transplants.) Although Vicky was able to have a healthy and productive childhood, her transplanted liver unfortunately didn’t last as long as everyone hoped and she ultimately received her 2nd liver transplant when she was 16 years old at UCLA Medical Center, again.
In 2018, life threw yet another curveball her way when she was diagnosed with PTLD Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The news was devastating, and many would have crumbled under the weight of such a burden, but Vicky was not one to be defeated easily. She faced the challenges head-on with unwavering determination and strength.
Throughout her cancer treatment, she was treated at UCLA Health and she was deeply inspired again by the nurses who cared for her. Their kindness, compassion, and unwavering support became her beacon of hope. Not knowing what the outcome of her cancer diagnosis would be, she vowed to herself that she would one day become a nurse. Finally, after months of chemotherapy, surgeries, and tireless perseverance, Vicky's cancer went into remission, and she immediately set her sights on becoming a nurse.
By Fall of 2019, she applied to only one nursing school and that was none other than UCLA School of Nursing’s MECN program and got accepted. Her personal experiences gave her a unique perspective and empathy that resonated with her patients. She understood the fears, the pain, and the uncertainty that came with illnesses, and she vowed to be the beacon of hope for others, just as the nurses had been for her. Through hard work and dedication, Vicky will graduate on Saturday, June 17th with a MSN degree and will become a Bruin Nurse.
This article was written by UCLA Nursing graduate Vicky Nguyen