Alison Spencer ’20

Redding, CA

Acute Care Surgical RN and Nursing@USC FNP student

What is your current position?
Acute Care Surgical RN and Nursing@USC FNP student

Where are you from?
Redding, CA

Tell us about yourself.
I’ve wanted to work in the medical field my whole life. In 2009, I moved back to the United States after working for a church in New Zealand and decided to pursue that lifelong dream by starting nursing school with the intention of eventually becoming a family nurse practitioner. I am currently working full-time as a surgical RN while attending the program at USC.

Why did you decide to earn your Master of Science in Nursing?
It has always been my goal to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, so earning my Master of Science in Nursing was always something I planned to achieve.

Why did you decide to pursue your degree with Nursing@USC?
I chose Nursing@USC because I loved the idea of a program that integrated the discipline of social work with advanced practice nursing so that I am best equipped to meet both the medical and psychosocial needs of my patients. I was also attracted to the program because the part-time and online format allows me to work full-time and stay in Northern California, all while having local clinical preceptors chosen for me!

Do you attend Nursing@USC part time or full time?
I attend on a part-time basis.

What excites you most about the program?
The quality of the curriculum, the extensive knowledge of the faculty, and the online platform that helps foster relationships between students. Plus, the pride of being a USC Trojan!

Is there a course you have particularly enjoyed? If so, why?
I loved Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice! It’s definitely a challenging course, but I am fascinated by the biochemical processes of disease.

In your opinion what is the best thing about earning your MSN online with USC?
Having the same quality as a “brick and mortar” classroom while taking my courses online is just one of the many wonderful things about earning my MSN at Nursing@USC.

Tell us about your on-campus intensive (OCI) experiences.
The OCIs are incredible opportunities to learn hands-on skills, interview patients, and practice real life scenarios with knowledgeable and supportive faculty. It was also an awesome opportunity to meet members of my cohort, network with other Trojans, and spend time on the beautiful USC campus.

Is there a particular professor or faculty member that you have especially enjoyed working with?
All of the faculty are wonderful, but if I see Dr. Becker or Dr. Woodruff teaching a class, I’ll definitely try to get into theirs!

Tell us about your clinical placement experience thus far.
My clinical placements have been with very kind and experienced health care providers who are excited about teaching the next generation of primary care providers. All of my rotations, including my current placement, have been at Federally Qualified Health Centers.

After graduation, what is next for you?
After graduation and licensing, I plan to work in a primary care clinic that manages underserved and rural populations. My passion is geriatrics, so I hope to gain more experience with older adult patients and serve them as my primary patient population. I’d also love to earn my DNP in the years to come and eventually teach aspiring FNPs!

What else should we know about you?
When I have time, I love to spend time outside, whether I’m hiking or kayaking, and traveling the world!