Missouri State University
Sunyang (Sunny) Lee

Sunyang (Sunny) Lee

This doctoral degree will provide what she wants for the rest of her career

From Korea to Springfield, Mo., Sunny Lee was destined to become a doctoral student in the MSU nurse anesthesia program.

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea, but moved around a lot during childhood because of her father's job. She lived in different cities in Korea and also in Bangkok, Thailand, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

After graduating high school in Korea, Lee moved to Springfield, Missouri, to become a nurse and has remained in the city. Springfield is the city she has lived in the longest, so she considers Springfield her U.S. hometown.

Increasing her role

Lee started her nursing career as a medical-surgical floor nurse.

“It was hard for me to believe, but I wanted to go back to school to become a CRNA and learn how I could play a significant role in alleviating patients' pain during and even after surgeries.”

“I had zero intention of returning to school after completing my BSN degree. I was one of the ones who didn’t even know CRNAs existed.”

She learned a lot during the first year and a half but realized that she wanted to be able to do more for her patients by learning more skills and using more critical thinking.

After much consideration, she decided to transfer to the Neuro-Trauma Intensive Care Unit (NTICU). With the variety of critical patients in NTICU, she received a lot of experience and diversified her nursing capabilities.

From nurse to CRNA

Lee became more involved with patients coming out of the operating room and became very interested in what Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) do for patients under anesthesia. With this new interest, she decided to job shadow a CRNA.

It was an eye-opening experience. She couldn’t have been more fascinated with the job of a CRNA. After some contemplation, Lee concluded that she wanted to be a CRNA for the rest of her career.

Lee is a senior in the School of Anesthesia Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program and will graduate in May 2024.