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College of Nursing

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Recognizing our accomplished alumnae

The College of Nursing honors the ongoing contribution of our alumnae for their influential roles in health care leadership during Women’s History Month.

Stephanie Burgess, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, FAANP

What do you do in your current role/profession?

I am a Nurse Practitioner providing health services in hospice, women’s health, and acute care in behavioral health, and I serve on multiple organizational boards for legislative and health policy changes to remove barriers to care. Previously, I served as the Associate Dean for Practice and Health Policy and Graduate Director for the College of Nursing, retiring in 2018 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus (thanks to Dean Andrews!).

What’s the most interesting or significant thing you’ve done since graduating?

Impacting health policy and legislation to improve health care in SC.

What did you learn while in school at the College of Nursing that still resonates today?

Nurses must be at the Table for impacting and influencing changes in health care.  As I heard a previous Professor mentor say while I was in Graduate School, “If you are not at the Table, you are on the Menu!”

What are some things you admire about the women in your life?

Honesty, Courage, Boldness, Perseverance, Empowering/Encouraging others, Vision, Humor

What is the importance of mentorship for women and girls?

To teach girls and other women that they CAN DO IT ALL to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! They just have to step up to the plate with courage. 

Lan Nguyen, MSN, RN, PCCN-K

You recently defended, Nurse Perceptions of Caring and Professional Governance. Give us a snapshot of your dissertation.

The purpose of my dissertation study was to describe nurse perceptions of the relationships of caring and professional governance of nursing practice and identify characteristics of nursing roles and experiences and institutional descriptive factors that influence nurse perceptions of the relationship. Caring, a characteristic of an effective work environment, and clinical nurse control over the professional governance of nursing practice results in higher nursing retention and better patient outcomes. Little to no research is published on the nature of the relationship between caring and professional governance of nursing practice. Without understanding this relationship, it is challenging to explore the impact of this relationship on nursing practice and patient outcomes.

What are you doing professionally now?

Professionally, I develop collaborative relationships between my healthcare organization and area colleges/schools of nursing, focusing on appropriate and effective placement and coordination of student clinical experiences. In addition, I support new graduate nurses' successful transitions to practice through assisting with our nurse residency program. In addition, I am an active member of the College of Nursing's Alumni Council and the Alpha Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau and am currently co-authoring a book chapter on shared governance. 

How did your time at the College of Nursing prepare you for where you are today?

I have spent time at the college as a student, adjunct faculty and fellow. My time at the college both as an undergraduate and graduate student prepared me for where I am today by providing a supportive environment that encouraged innovative learning and thinking. My undergraduate education experience expanded beyond the classroom to a variety of units at multiple local healthcare facilities, providing a diverse foundation for my nursing career. The college was a supportive learning environment for my experience in the PhD in Nursing Science program; the faculty and staff supported me to think creatively and challenge myself while I gained knowledge and developed my dissertation. In addition, as a clinical instructor, I fell in love with mentoring and supporting young nursing minds. I cannot say enough about how much I grew during my time in the Amy V. Cockcroft Leadership Fellowship through the Center for Nursing Leadership. The college has given me opportunities to learn, grow, mentor, and reflect, preparing me for a successful career as a professional nurse. 

How can we empower other women?

We can empower other women by letting our own lights shine. As Marianne Williamson says, " we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." When each of us steps into our own individual power, we unconsciously give other women the permission to do the same. We should always cheer each other on and never consider another's success as our failure. Life is not an unending competition - I want to win and I want you to win, too. 

Who are some inspiring women you look up to?

One inspiring woman I look up to is Dr. Carolyn Swinton. Dr. Swinton uniquely balances immense success with humility and supports others' successes in the process. She challenges me to look at life through the lens of others, and I attribute much of my personal and professional growth to her influence and coaching.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.