Our Nurse of the Week is Shihan Huang, a senior nursing student at the University of Michigan who was born with biliary atresia, a liver condition that gave her a slim chance of survival. She needed a liver transplant, but was born in Taiwan at a time when most hospitals in the country didn’t have the capacity to perform infant transplants. However, her parents relocated to Ann Arbor, MI a few months later where Huang remained on the transplant list for over a year.
Then just two days after her second birthday, Huang’s parents received a call that there was a liver available. Michigan Medicine nurse, Vicki Shieck, cared for Huang following her transplant and she still remembers those early days treating Huang. Her surgery was a success, and now all grown up, Huang is pursuing a nursing degree at the University of Michigan.
Huang is a thriving young woman, but her condition requires lifelong maintenance and monitoring. Shieck tells Nursing.UMich.edu, “Just like any young adult who had a liver transplant as an infant, Shihan had some transition hurdles to overcome in learning how to manage her chronic illness. Many of my kids her age don’t overcome those hurdles and it leads to non-adherence, chronic rejection and unfortunately, death.”
Huang credits Shieck for encouraging her throughout her treatment and as an adult pursuing a career in nursing that will allow her to support other children facing similar challenges. She explains her career choice, saying “I’ve been in the hospital so much and I know what it feels like to be sick and feeling terrible. Nursing is my way of giving back. The health care profession did a lot for me so I want to be able to give back.”
Huang is now preparing for her graduation ceremony. She plans to work for a few years before returning to graduate school after she has decided on a specialty area. To learn more about senior nursing student Shihan Huang and the many ways she’s giving back to the field of nursing, visit here.