Taryn Zard, Staff Writer
Life can be crazy at times. You are pressured to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life before you are even 20 years old. As daunting as this can seem for some people, others have a “eureka!” moment, in which they know exactly what they want to do with their life. When Teri Moser Woo, Ph.D. Director of Nursing at Saint Martin’s University, was around 10 years old she had one of those moments. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, Woo spent a great deal of time in the hospital before he passed away. She watched nurses handle such dismal situations with grace and care, and was inspired by their work. Woo is a helper by nature; she sees situations and immediately offers her assistance. From around the time she was 10, Woo knew she wanted to be either a nurse or a teacher. While many of her peers were struggling with their decision of which colleges and universities to apply to, Woo had set her mind on attending nursing school.
Fortunately for Woo and her students, while in the midst of the application process, she realized she could do both. Woo began her education with a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing and graduated shortly after turning 22. In addition to her Master’s in Childbearing Family Nursing at the age of 27, she also received her doctoral degree from the University of Colorado, specializing in pharmacology.
Woo has been a registered nurse since 1984, and a pediatric nurse since 1985. As a pediatric nurse, Woo frequently sees parents whose only concern is their child. Parents will often be stressed-out and sleep-deprived because of an ill or injured child, so seeing them relieved as she helps heal their child is, for Woo, an irreplaceable feeling. Woo says her patients are the greatest reward about being a nurse. “I often see kids who are sick or hurting, and it is rewarding to make them feel better and get a smile, even when they are sick.”
Still practicing in tandem with her teaching career, she spends much of her professional time advocating for children’s health. After taking a break from nursing to teach, she found that she missed helping patients, and after a brief stint at Oregon Health Sciences University, she obtained a post-master’s certificate as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
Woo loves seeing former students, and how far they have gone in their careers. At the beginning of Jan. she ran into a former student who is now the manager of two units at Saint Peter’s Hospital. Another one of her former students recently won an award in Washington D.C., recognizing him as an “outstanding doctoral student.” Overall, Woo finds nursing and teaching to be extremely rewarding careers. She loves seeing how helping a student succeed can allow them to then go on and change the lives of many people.