“I enjoy teaching people how to optimize their health and best utilize the healthcare system. I want to help them achieve their health goals and manage their chronic conditions so they don’t end up in the hospital.”
Duyen N. moved more than 8,000 miles, worked 11 part-time jobs to pay her way through nursing school, and spent five years in one of the nation’s busiest hospitals to prepare for her best role yet.
Duyen is PyxisCare Management’s first Personal Health Nurse. The new position is embedded in an employer’s organization and allows Nguyen to proactively engage with a client’s employees, build relationships and collaborate to improve overall health.
“It’s more than coincidence,” Duyen says. “I feel like this role is really meant for me.”
Duyen grew up in Vietnam and was inspired to study nursing at age 16 when her older brother was partially paralyzed in an accident. She admired the way nurses supported his recovery and saw the profession as a way to build a better life.
During nursing school, Duyen met an exchange student who encouraged her to apply for a U.S. student visa. That move led her to enroll in the nursing program at Dallas County’s El Centro College, to take English classes, and then to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Since then, Duyen has worked in Parkland Hospital’s psychiatry-medicine and emergency departments and in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas emergency room. She founded the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Vietnamese American Nurses Association to unite providers and promote community health through outreach, research, education and disease prevention.
Her PyxisCare role draws upon her extensive professional experience while casting her as the team’s health coach rather than a one-time care provider for the employees.
“I enjoy teaching people how to optimize their health and best utilize the healthcare system,” Duyen says. “I want to help them achieve their health goals and manage their chronic conditions so they don’t end up in the hospital.”
Duyen works from an onsite office, scheduling general information sessions and one-on-one meetings to create a personal relationship with employees and understand their health histories, discuss goals and learn whether they have primary care providers. She wants them to “own” their personal medical information and to understand why legal documents like powers of attorney and living wills are needed.
“It’s a smart business decision, too,” she says.
Employees who see a regular primary care provider, eat healthy foods and maintain an active lifestyle generally are happier and more productive at work, Duyen says. Those who are willing to minimize consumption of high-salt, high-sugar foods often can reduce negative effects of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. They generally miss less work and have lower insurance costs, she says.
“The employees have been very interested. I told them I want them to live their optimum life and that I will be here for them.”