As a nurse, Vivian Pham knows the difference one person can make in someone's life. And sometimes the person being affected is actually the nurse.
"It just takes one person to tell you thank you," Pham said. "I just had that the other day and even if you have had a hard day, it just takes one person to say thank you for taking care of me to kind of keep you going, and renew your purpose."
When did you know you were meant to be a nurse?
During fundamentals, I encountered a patient, his wife was dying of cancer and he told me that the career that you're going in is the most beautiful career and your hands are angels to patients. And he said my wife used to be an angel to her patients because she was a nurse too — and now you're taking care of her. Then he got all teary-eyed. So I think that was the moment, right in the beginning of the program, that I said I want to be that nurse to help that person because being in a hospital is scary, the most vulnerable time in your life so being that person to comfort them, to help them get through it and back into the real world is the most rewarding.
Why do you enjoy attending alumni events?
Going to alumni events is rewarding in a sense. You meet people from everywhere, with different stories of all the sacrifices they have made, of all the challenges they've been through but you meet them and it's like we're all here. No matter how long it took for someone to finish the program, we're all in this together. It's taught me a lot.
What advice do you have for WCU students still in the program?
The program is definitely hard. I mean many, many, many challenges but no matter how many obstacles you go through that push you back, don't ever, ever give up. I've had many things that I've encountered but I'm here today. You just can't give up. You're here for a reason, you have your purpose. Patients are waiting for you out there so just keep going.