Pauline Sung ’21

San Bernardino, CA

Oncology Infusion RN and Nursing@USC FNP student

What is your current position?
Oncology Infusion RN and Nursing@USC FNP student

Where are you from?
San Bernardino, CA

Tell us about yourself.
I obtained my ADN from the LAC County School of Nursing in 2008 and my BSN from Loma Linda University in 2012. I have been an oncology nurse since I graduated from nursing school in 2008. Once I graduate from USC, I plan to work in family practice, but oncology patients and their families will always have a place in my heart. I married my high-school sweetheart and we have two school-aged kids and two dogs.

Why did you decide to earn your Master of Science in Nursing?
I have always thought about going back to school for my MSN but wasn’t sure for a long time what to do with it. After trying my hand at nursing management, I realized it wasn’t my strong suit and I missed the patient contact tremendously. The MSN-FNP program made sense for me and my goals.

Why did you decide to pursue your degree with Nursing@USC?
I decided to pursue my MSN with USC because it allowed me the flexibility to attend class while also meeting familial obligations. I liked that at USC, we are able to have the classroom experience of seeing our professor and fellow students while in the comfort of our own homes.

Do you attend Nursing@USC part time or full time?
I attend USC part time.

What excites you most about the program?
The online classroom (best of both worlds) and the integration of social work with nursing.

Is there a course you have particularly enjoyed? If so, why?
I truly enjoy the clinical courses and the in-class time spent discussing cases we’ve seen during the week. The application of knowledge to practice both in clinic seeing patients and in class discussing differing patient cases helps solidify my knowledge and to identify in which areas I need to work.

In your opinion what is the best thing about earning your MSN online with USC?
The best thing about earning my MSN online with USC is the ability to have the traditional feel of a classroom setting, but in a virtual space. Other online programs I have attended were all discussion-board based – we never got a chance to see what our classmates or instructor looked like or got to know their personalities. It was just a name on a screen. Seeing my classmates and instructors on screen creates a better relationship, camaraderie and engagement.

Tell us about your on-campus intensive (OCI) experiences.
OCI 1 was a fun weekend during which we got to meet each other in person and really connect with one another. The hands-on experience we received during OCI 1 was phenomenal – from the live models to practice skills to the in-depth head-to-toe practice, I learned so much and was able to apply that knowledge in a way that will benefit me throughout my career.

OCI 2 was a different experience due to the travel and social distancing restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it had to be held virtually, the weekend went smoothly and I still had a great experience. Skills kits were sent to us in advance with instructions on what to have on hand in our homes. The virtual skills classes were excellent, even considering the inevitable challenges from learning on a virtual platform.

Is there a particular professor or faculty member with whom you have especially enjoyed working?
I have worked with Dr. O’Neill the last few semesters and enjoy her realism and knowledge she brings to the table.

Tell us about your clinical placement experience thus far.
The clinical placement team has been a tremendous help while at USC. I have been lucky enough to get placements in clinics near my home, with preceptors that have a passion for their patients, as well as for teaching. Some of my clinical locations have been so great — so much so that I am considering applying for a position as a provider after I graduate.

After graduation, what is next for you?
After graduation, I plan on taking a short break for my mental health, then begin studying for certification. Ideally, I would like to work in a FQHC, working in and with underserved communities. I sometimes entertain the idea of going back to school for my DNP, but at this time, I have not made up my mind.

What else should we know about you?
I love to try different foods and will plan vacations and outings around various popular restaurants! Once the pandemic allows us to return to a “new normal,” my family and I can’t wait to resume our foodie adventures — take out just isn’t the same as dining in, even if it is outdoors.