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Texas Health Dallas NICU nurse lives the mission

Monday March 5, 2012
Thao Phuong Nguyen, RN (left), was honored with a
Thao Phuong Nguyen, RN (left), was honored with a "Living the Mission Award" at a recent Town Hall meeting with Texas Health CEO Doug Hawthorne at Texas Health Dallas.
(Photo courtesy of Texas Health Dallas)
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Thao Phuong Nguyen, RNC-NIC, BSN, CCRN, a NICU nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, has stood out among her peers as a nurse with a passion for taking care of patients and their families, and giving back to the community.

For her dedication, Nguyen recently was awarded the hospital's Living the Mission Award-Clinical honor, which recognizes an employee in a direct clinical environment who shows a commitment to patient care, quality and service; inspires co-workers; and demonstrates compassion and concern, according to a news release.

Nguyen's compassion was demonstrated when she surprised the parents of premature twin boys she was caring for with dessert while they dined at a local restaurant. The parents were at the restaurant celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary while their babies were in the hospital.

"It brought tears to our eyes," said Stacey Biggers, the twins' mother, according to the news release. "Jeff and I didn't have big plans to celebrate the occasion because so much was going on. We were so touched by her act of kindness and her genuineness toward us."

Nguyen said working in the NICU can be an "emotional roller coaster. We often witness babies take two steps forward and three steps back," the seven-year veteran nurse said in the release. "I wanted to do something nice for [the parents] on their special day."

Nguyen and her parents came to the U.S. from Vietnam when she was 2. "I was too young to remember the hardships, but having known my parents' sacrifices encouraged me to live with purpose," Nguyen said.

"One of the most rewarding aspects of being a NICU nurse is helping parents bond with their babies," she said. "I am there to help them change their infant's first diaper, give them their first bottle and help them during challenging times."

Nguyen is one of 10 Texas Health Dallas nurses named to this year's Great 100 Nurses list and was recognized as "Best Preceptor of the Year" by students at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas, in 2008.

"It takes a special kind of nurse to work in the NICU," said Christine Brooks, RNC-NIC, MS, NICU nurse manager at Texas Health Dallas in the release. "She has become an excellent role model herself, with a 'pay it forward' mindset. She is an excellent teacher."

An aspiring photographer, Nguyen has used her skills at several hospital events and coordinated an event that captured multigenerational photographs for patients who have Alzheimer's disease and their families.

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