Connie Tran was drawn to the nursing field at a young age. After interning at a hospital during high school, she was impressed by the hard work and dedication she saw nurses exhibit on the job. “I wanted to become one of those people who support patients through the best and worst times of their lives,” she says.
With her future decided, the University of Arizona College of Nursing—with its high rankings and helpful financial incentives—was an obvious choice for her academic ambitions. Tran was in the first group of Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence (ANIE) scholars, a landmark program designed to attract and support the success of students from diverse settings and cultures that are underrepresented in health care.
Thanks to ANIE funding, Tran was able to participate in a community health clinic for low-income Spanish-speaking residents in South Tucson. “The ANIE grant is great because it’s really fostering the growth of a diversified group of nurses,” says Tran. “It also allows us to hone our strength as people who are minorities, who come from rural communities or are first generation college-goers.”
Both Tran’s academic and extracurricular life have been busy. She participated in the UA Campus Health Stressbusters program, which provides students with free 5-minute back rubs, and was active in the Asian/Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA). Additionally, she worked as a patient care technician at Tucson Medical Center’s Cardiac Care Unit and interned in the UA College of Pharmacy’s Medication Management Center. In May, she was presented the Mary J. Jeffries Achievement Award, which helps BSN students committed to pursuing graduate study in nursing pursue their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
As a BSN honors student, Tran has proved herself to be adept at the rigors of research. With the support and guidance of her faculty mentors, Melissa Goldsmith, PhD, RNC, clinical associate professor, and Melanie Welch, RN, clinical instructor, she developed her thesis, “Experience of Fathers During Childbirth: Key Issues and Implications.” Her research examines interventions that hospitals and childbirth educators can implement to improve the experience of new fathers.
To students considering enrolling in the UA College of Nursing, Tran has nothing but encouragement. “It’s really tough at first and there’s a huge learning curve, but after that first semester everything will settle down,” she says. “The faculty here are really supportive and kind. Make sure you utilize them because they will be your biggest helpers, your biggest coaches and your biggest cheerleaders.”
The future looks bright for Tran after graduation. She already has a job lined up in her home state of Texas and plans to continue her education in the fall. Thanks to the support of the Mary F. Jeffries Achievement Award, Tran plans to enroll in the UA College of Nursing’s DNP program’s Family Nurse Practitioner specialty.
“As a nurse, I want to make sure I’m using evidence-based care and practices when I’m caring for my patients,” she says. “I want to make sure I’m looking at the whole person, making sure I’m dealing with every aspect of their life, including emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.”