The desire to see the bigger picture of health care drove Victoria Jackson to pursue a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis brought into focus a new perspective of nursing and new confidence to hit the ground running after graduation.

"We didn't just have lectures. We worked in small groups; we interacted in teams with other professions, like physician assistants (P.A.s), medical and doctoral students," explains Jackson, a 2018 alumna. "Now I have the knowledge and the confidence to share my ideas and work well with others on the team."

One of the classmates with whom she discussed cases during her didactic year is Patrick Nguyen. Nguyen chose the School of Nursing to pursue a P.A. degree because of the reputation of UC Davis and its connection to UC Davis Medical Center.

"The program really taught me how to professionally work with people," Nguyen says. "I made connections with nurses, doctoral students, physicians in my rotations and the incredible faculty. Experiencing all that while in school now helps me to easily connect with other team members." And connect they still do. Now, they share cases on the job at grand rounds at UC Davis Health. Nguyen works in the medical center as a radiology P.A. Across the street, Jackson partners with patients with devices in the cardiology clinic.

"Health care brings together a diverse group of people with a common purpose. Our conversations even spilled over into our personal lives. We were even both part of classmate’s wedding," Nguyen says.

"I believe the school helps students develop lifelong connections and friendships because it integrates hands-on, engaging activities that move us out of our bubbles to support each other," Jackson adds. "I chose UC Davis to interact with and learn from faculty and colleagues in the clinical field. Running into former classmates, like Patrick, reminds me how I’m part of the larger health care landscape."

Nguyen echoes that sentiment of community after graduation.

"I really feel like the whole UC Davis team cared about our success," Nguyen says. "Because of the UC Davis P.A. program, I am on a career path today that I never thought was possible."