Faculty Feature: Friary Nguyen’s Outpouring of Love Through Her Faith and Vocation As A Nurse

by Saundri Luippold

Friary Nguyen, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE loves spending time in the control room when nursing students are in simulation labs. She watches students on screen as they practice nursing techniques on life-size mannequins, and Nguyen gets in character, speaking through her headphones when controlling the human-like patients. As a certified healthcare simulations educator (CHSE), she enjoys pursuing her calling for loving others through nursing, and teaching students to approach healthcare with a heart for servant leadership.

Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in Malaysia, as her parents fled Vietnam on their way to America. She grew up in Denver and developed an interest in life sciences at a young age, always passionate for learning and prioritizing her education. “I loved asking questions about life and observing God’s creation,” she said. Nguyen studied biology at the University of Denver, before deciding to follow her vocation for Christ, spending ten years in the Dominican Sisters convent in Houston while earning her BA in Secondary Education with a focus in life sciences at St. Thomas University. She taught biology at Catholic high schools, where her joy for teaching increased.

After realizing that God was calling her to pursue a different vocation, Nguyen returned to Colorado to discern what career path she should take. While serving with the Little Sisters of the Poor, a patient challenged Nguyen, claiming that if she really cared about them she would become a nurse so she could work there full-time. Nguyen took the patient’s words to heart, earning a BSN at Regis University’s accelerated program. The patient fondly remembered Nguyen when she started working full time at the nursing home.

“My nursing journey has always been enlightened by Christ’s love and His continual revelation of good intent,” Nyugen said.

Nguyen worked night shifts while receiving her masters, and developed the desire to teach nursing students the love for being a helping hand in the healing process.

Nguyen was drawn to Azusa Pacific University when she was looking for a place to teach through simulations. She moved to California in 2022, but didn’t start working at APU until 2023 because of a mission trip she went on with Volunteers In Development, Education, and Solidarity (VIDES) in Samoa. Nguyen spent two and a half months with the Salesian Sisters of St. Don Bosco, taking care of Samoan children, establishing a library, and teaching about healthcare. “I spent time with God through serving the poor and my spirit was revived. It reignited my love for others and what I do,” Nguyen said.

Mentorship has played a vital role in Nguyen’s time at APU. From the warm welcome she received from faculty, to the students who have been exceedingly receptive to Nguyen’s teachings, she appreciates the community of uplifting individuals that foster growth in one another. “I’m here because we live out God First. When you love God and want to find Him, He will find ways to enhance that love,” she said.

Nguyen’s faith drives her to teach nursing with Christ’s commandments at the center. “Ultimately the teacher is from above, but I do my best to share what I know from my own experiences,” she said. Her goal is to continue passing on the legacy of such a noble calling, and hopes students hold onto the value of life and loving others.

“I want them each to graduate as transformational nurses," she said. "I want them to know that God loves them, and they must always treat others well. Remember that you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.”

Between engaging conversations in the classroom, to theatrical expressions of pretend patients in the simulation lab, Nguyen’s outpouring of love is evident. Her words of encouragement to students, inviting office, and faithfulness to God are just some of the ways Nguyen serves as a testament to being a difference maker.

Saundri Luippold ’25 is a public relations intern in the Division of Strategic Communication and Engagement. Saundri is double majoring in Honors Humanities and English with a minor in Spanish. She serves as head copy editor of APU's literary journal, The West Wind, and writes on her personal blog, New Romanticism.