Opening Doors

Nursing's diverse opportunities compelled Shengchang Su to redirect his professional path

Shengchang Su

By: Katie Coburn

In 1989, when Shengchang Su entered higher education, he did not plan on becoming a nurse.

Su earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in plant pathology from Xinjiang Agricultural University in Xinjiang, China, before receiving his PhD in the same field from Beijing’s China Agricultural University in 2000. After 20 years and nearly 7,000 miles traveled across the globe, Su is now pursuing his Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at the University of Cincinnati.

In addition to UC College of Nursing's impressive and nationally ranked nursing programs, Su was initially attracted to the nursing field because of its abundant opportunities.

“Interacting with nursing students gave me good perspective on the field. I could tell it would provide me with many more career development opportunities,” he says.

After earning his PhD, Su spent seven years furthering his bacterial plant pathology studies in a post-doctoral position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2007, he moved to Cincinnati to join the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology at UC College of Medicine as a research associate. That was when Su “had extensive interaction with doctors, medical students and nursing students.” He found the research funding piece to be challenging.

Interacting with nursing students gave me good perspective on the field. I could tell it would provide me with many more career development opportunities.

Shengchange Su Accelerated Direct-Entry MSN Student

After seven years at the College of Medicine, Su took a job with a small startup company that developed microbial products to treat cancer and reduce waste in water, but the business only survived for a year and a half.

“After that experience, I felt reassured that I could not see a fulfilling professional future if I continued down the path of pursuing a research career,” Su says. “As I was looking for opportunities to find new paths to advance my career, I became very interested in nursing.”

An Accelerated Direct-Entry MSN student, Su admits he did not realize how many different career paths nursing afforded until a year into the program.

“I feel so lucky. I made the right decision to be a nurse,” he says. “I can do anything I want to. I want to be a nurse practitioner, but there are so many career opportunities I could pursue. That’s the amazing thing about being in the nursing field.”

Su is projected to graduate as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner in 2022. His goal is to be a critical care nurse, but he is also interested in eventually pursuing his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) so he can teach future nurses. With almost 15 years of academic research under his belt, Su is confident that a career in nursing is right for him.

Outside of school and work, Su enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, playing badminton with friends and vacationing with family when possible. A lifelong learner and champion of excellence, he is no longer nervous about the stability of his career.

“I want to study and practice more. I want to be the top nurse in the unit,” Su says. “I think I can do more and am so excited. I’m so lucky that I went to UC College of Nursing—from there the door just opened for me and I am able to advance my career to the maximum.”

Featured image at top: Shengchang Su (right) and his family. Photo/Submitted