WCU Graduate and Nursing Instructor Knows Learning is Lifelong Journey 

Thao P. began working full-time as a nurse after graduating from West Coast University in 2019, but soon discovered she also enjoyed teaching up-and-coming nursing students. 

Now a clinical nurse in the medical surgical unit of an Orange County hospital, Thao P. is also a clinical nursing instructor at American Career College.  

“I went into teaching because I want to help students learn in a safe environment where they feel comfortable asking questions and expressing themselves,” she said. “I really like helping people navigate the hospital policies and understanding the roles of a nurse.” 

Thao said she appreciated the learning environment at WCU-Orange County and enjoyed the fast pace of her Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Having already earned an undergraduate degree before attending WCU, Thao said many of the students in her BSN program were also older and making a career change. 

“The bonds you make during your time as a nursing student will make a lasting impression on you,” Thao said. “I really enjoy how impactful and encompassing the education provided was while also helping the students graduate in a timely manner.” 

Thao said her cohort became like family. Once, while observing a C-section surgery during her OB clinical rotation, Thao said her classmates stepped in to offer some support. 

“I was feeling woozy and close to fainting from observing the surgery, and my classmates were there to make sure I was OK,” she said. “My professor and the nurses were all so understanding and kind.” 

While WCU holds high standards and expectations for its students, she said, Thao was grateful for how her nursing instructors prepared her for the real world. 

“Now that I am an RN, I feel that the standards ingrained in me during my school years really helped me become a good nurse,” she said. “It is scary being in the field for the first time, but I felt WCU prepared me well… I am very proud that I hold a high sense of responsibility and integrity to the care I provide.” 

Thao said she is passionate about teaching to that same standard and advised future nursing students to remain confident throughout the program. 

“Don’t feel doubtful about yourself or let others tell you that you aren’t good enough to be a nurse,” Thao said. “You are a nursing student, so this is the time to ask dumb questions and be OK with accepting that you don’t know everything.” 

Years after graduating, Thao is quick to say her education has not ended and that she is continually coming across something new. 

“Nursing is a lifelong learning career,” Thao said.  

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.