Helen standing by a lake

From the land down under

Welcome! Helen Nguyen here. I’m the new Digital Ambassador for Health Informatics and I’d like to extend a warm, virtual hug to you all. I love to travel, hike, cycle, learn new languages, cook, sing and dance.

If you see me around campus, don’t be shy and say hi! I love a good chat and a big ol’ hearty laugh.

Now here’s my story:

From Oz

Portrait of Helen Nguyen

I was born and bred in Australia. Many of you may have guessed from my surname, yes, my parents hailed from Vietnam. I spent most of my life in Australia living and breathing the Aussie life. After high school, I studied a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy. And after 4 years, I graduated and spent the following three years as a community pharmacist in Australia.

To Denmark

Helen Nguyen in Denmark
The tale of the Little Mermaid

I thought I was making a small impact on my community, but life just wasn’t hitting that ‘high’. I wanted to strip myself of all comforts and run absolutely wild. At the same time, I was curious about the social welfare system and high-quality healthcare in Scandinavia. So I quit my job, packed my bags, applied for a Working Holiday Visa and moved. Initially I wanted to move to Sweden. I thought it was the easiest country for me to gain my pharmacist license. But unfortunately, when I arrived on a brief ‘research’ trip at the end of winter, I was taken aback by the cold and darkness. So instead, I moved to rainy, cozy Copenhagen. It was a whirlwind adventure. It was the most difficult and most rewarding experience of my life. I hit rock bottom and climbed right back up. I made lifelong friends, and during my time there, I met my now-partner.

Off to Ireland

Helen sipping a Guiness
One of the many pubs in Dublin

My partner got a job in Dublin and off we went. The first year in Dublin was dedicated to obtaining a pharmacist license in Ireland. After a lot of paperwork and a few exams, I succeeded and gained employment as a community pharmacist. This is where my passion for health informatics really blossomed. Over the years working as a community pharmacist in both Ireland and Australia, I felt that I had not been able to provide patients with the best care I believed I could give. I felt that a majority of my time was spent behind a computer navigating the dispensing and ordering system. I was frustrated and began to lose interest in the profession. After two years living in Dublin, my partner and I decided that it was time to move to his birth country, Sweden.

Hello Sweden and Karolinska Institutet

Helen posing in Stockholm
Enjoying the sunshine in Stockholm

I needed to pave a pathway for myself. I thought about becoming a community pharmacist. However, after speaking pharmacists in Sweden, I felt the role was about the same wherever I went. Another legal system to learn, another culture to adapt your professional personality to, and another dispensing system to navigate. But again, I wanted something new. This is when I turned to Karolinska Institutet. While I was trying to figure out my path, I spoke to professionals who had graduated KI and worked at Karolinska hospital. They spoke very highly of the university. And when I searched KI Masters programme and read about Health Informatics, I knew instantly that the programme would be my first choice. If I could fix the problems I was having as a health professional, then maybe I could prevent other frustrated health professionals, like myself, from leaving their ever important role in improving the health of our society.

Fair play, Stockholm

I feel so at ease after moving to Stockholm. It’s a beautiful, wide city, that has intertwined itself seamlessly with nature. It suits my personality and I feel really settled here.

I hope to share more of my experiences in Stockholm and at Karolinska Institutet with you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at helen.nguyen@stud.ki.se or https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-nguyen-539782aa/

Helen Nguyen - Health Informatics

Helen Nguyen - Health Informatics

Hi! I'm Helen from Australia here, currently living and loving life in Stockholm. I'm studying a Master's in Health Informatics at Karolinska Institutet. I love walking in nature, dancing and cycling around town. I love a good chat and enjoy a good hearty laugh. We can talk about nothing and discuss absolutely everything. I enjoy cooking food, falling asleep to movies and going for long walks in the forest.


Related posts